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Sunday, June 30, 2013

  Hi my friends! 
 I am so over the moon excited to share the most beautiful, inspiring and amazing blog & shop with you today. Meet my friend Amber, listen to her heart and the passion and reason behind her shop - absolutely amazing! Be encouraged by her today and I hope you visit her links below, introduce yourself and especially check out the shop because it is beautiful and supports survivors of Human Trafficking. 




  Hello sweetness readers!  It is such a blessing that Erin is sharing her space with me today so that I can tell you a little about my story...

My name is Amber and I blog over at Beautiful & Beloved, I also run an online boutique by that same name.  I chose the name beautiful and beloved because through my blog and through my shop I hope to always be reminding women that they are who God says they are.  In His word God calls us beautiful, He calls us His beloved, and that is the Truth.  Nothing is more all encompassing than that.  You are His, sweet sister and He cherishes you.  On the B&B blog you will likely read about how amazing I think you are as a woman, you will learn of my crazy love affair with Jesus, the handsome man that I
call husband and our four little ones {ages 6-1} and you will also read all about my boutique.  The Beautiful & Beloved boutique carries items that are made by survivors of Human Trafficking {modern day slavery}.  These are women who have experienced horrors which most of us can't even imagine. Their humanity has been stripped from them and they can't imagine a world where anyone loves or cares for them. B&B partners with organizations from around the world who lift these women up, they provide them with counseling, they teach them a trade, they often house them and feed them and clothe them.  Most importantly they love these precious women.  These organizations show each woman that she is valuable, that she is who God says she is.  By making a purchase of her hand made items you tell her that too, you can make a purchase that empowers another human being, a survivor.  I hope to see you!!

Here are some random facts about me::



Here are all the fun places on the interwebs where you can find me::

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

Boutique

Instagram

Here are some pics from the blog/boutique::


 Thank you so much for having me!  Looking forward to meeting you all!!
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

      77 years ago today - an early summer Friday, my great grandparents were married. They were really just kids, and so in love. Paul and Pauline. Their names even matched. They committed their lives to one another and kept their vows through all the years they were married: 59 years of faithfulness, until the day my great grandpa passed away.
       Today, they're in Heaven. I have few words today, but I just want to commemorate their faithfulness, honor their marriage and lives, and thank them for the example they set for me. I am waiting for this kind of love and I am inspired by their faithfulness to one another and God - through thick and thin. 

    They kept their vows. They remained true to their promises. And that is a beautiful thing. Something they taught me begins even before marriage. I will always remember sitting by my great-grandma's rocker one November day. I was 13, and just recently chose to commit my love story to God. I slipped on my True Love Waits purity ring and made the commitment to save sex for marriage. I remember she took my hand, looking at the ring and she smiled and said, "You know, I didn't have a ring, but we had the same commitment." 

    Their marriage made an impact on me and I am so thankful for their example. Faithfulness in romance is so beautiful and so mocked in our culture. And I believe we need to often remind ourselves of it's value. 

  Soon, I'm going to share with you all a special project I'm working on to encourage and honor faithfulness in romance. Until then, I hope you're inspired as I am by this little love story. 

   Happy Anniversary, Gomie and Gompie (this was our pet name for them :) 







 Us on my 1st b-day! 

    Didn't mean for this post to become a family album, haha! But I hope you are encouraged to pursue faithfulness in your relationships. It matters so much. 


Love to you and you and you.

XO

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Sunday, June 23, 2013











"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." 
-John 3:16

Make this week a good one, friend.

XO
Erin
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Friends, today I have a special treat for you. Really special! Last year I met the loveliest lady through Twitter of all places! And she has the biggest heart for God. She is a true GEM in every sense of the word and someone I truly look up to as a mentor and amazing woman of faith. She has an incredible ministry called Roses and Rainbows, and she connects women all over the country through her COFFEE Communities. Early this year, I had the chance to chat with Kim over the phone a few times and just knew from her sweet "Hello!" that we were kindred spirits with the same heart for loving on and ministering to women. I was honored to lead the COFFEE community in Los Angeles this Spring, and incredible encouraged by her weekly teachings we watched via YouTube videos. Sisters, you need to get to know this lady. She recently published an incredible book and if you're looking for an inspiring, empowering read - this is it! I asked her to share a bit about her heart and ministry today, and I know you will be as blessed as I have been by her. Take a moment to follow her links below and get to know her, you will be so glad you did. 
      Kim is the founder and president of Roses and Rainbows Ministries, Inc. She is an author and nationally noted speaker. She has traveled nationally for more than 20 years, speaking at retreats, conferences, and to Bible study groups. Her message and passion come from her personal experience of longing to be used by God yet feeling unusable because of past abuse leading to anorexia, diet pill addiction, anxiety attacks, and depression.  Her mother’s death-bed challenge set Kim on the path of daring to be and do what God had purposed for her.
Kim is married to Lee Crabill, and together they have two sons. The family lives in Maryland. Along with ministry, Kim’s favorite place to be is wherever her boys are, and that is often on the water, swimming and boating.
All About Kim's Book!

Learn more about & purchase Burdens to Blessings here: http://www.comfortpublishing.com/burdenstoblessings.html 
           We long to be used by God; God longs to use us beyond anything we dare to imagine. So where’s the disconnect? We believe a lie, and are therefore held hostage to thinking our mistakes, shortcomings, regrets, and hurts disqualify us from God’s purposes. And so we try like crazy to hide our pasts from God and from each other. If we only sing a little louder in the choir, study a little harder for our Bible class, or smile a little wider at the potluck, maybe no one will notice how damaged our hearts are.
            The truth is that God uses us because of our pasts, and the more transparent we are about the burdens we carry, the more powerfully God can work through us. He can transform those burdens into blessings—for us and for the people around us. Transformation begins as we learn to recognize the lies and misconceptions that have made us feel useless for God’s great purposes. Next, we start replacing those lies with God’s truth as displayed in His character and promises. As truth invades our lives, we discover the confidence and courage to remove our masks and present our real selves to God and to others. Then hold onto your hats, because God will shower you with opportunities to bless people beyond your wildest hopes.
             Kim is happily busy assisting ladies all across the county create COFFEE groups.  COFFEE stands for Conversations Of Friends of Faith to Encourage and Equip. We’re women, so we know what conversations are, right! And encouragement—well, we all need good doses of that to get through the complexities of daily life. As for equipping, one of the amazing results of Community COFFEE is that as we receive encouragement for ourselves, we become better equipped to encourage others as well.  Kim makes it so easy, if you have the passion to lead a group, Kim will provide training, video teachings, discussion points! For more information, see the website and click on Community COFFEEs.

Kim's New Devotional
If you have read Burdens to Blessings and want to go further with what you discovered, or if you are just looking for a summer devotional, Extend the Blessings began June 3. It is a 40-day email devotional that will take a single Burdens to Blessings principle each day, pair it with a Bible passage, and suggest a way for you to reflect and respond to the message. You can join us at any time. I love to imagine all of us, wherever we are—California to Maine, New Mexico to Florida—engaging together with the same scripture and principle each day. Strong women believing and praying together in unison!
To get the email devotional, reply to kim@rosesandrainbows.org ASAP with a “sign me up” in the Subject line of your email. Please also invite your neighbors, family members, Garden Club members, Sunday school class, and so on to join us. 
Connect with Kim
For more information about scheduling Kim,or her Roses and Rainbows Ministries, Inc., or her COFFEE gatherings, visit www.rosesandrainbows.org.
Get daily info/ updates about Kim and her ministry:
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Today I thought I'd start a new random series - I love this community and how we can share things we love, important encouragements, and just plain fun links! So, I thought I'd help a sister out and share 9 links I am currently LOVING! (I got the idea from the first blog I ever read, cupcakesandcashmere.com

What links are you loving this week? Share in the comments below! XOXO
















 1. Notice I changed my URL and this little blog has it's very own domain? Type in www.SweetnessItself.com & you'll easily find me now! (Although, no worries - my old URL www.sweetnessitself.blogspot.com will still take you here!)

2. How thankful I am that the House passed the bill to end late-term abortions! I was glued to CSPAN all day, praying. It is such an encouraging step in the right direction: saving human LIFE. Get involved here in the pro-life movement.  (lifeunited.org) 

3. Looking for modest, fabulous swimsuit ideas? Read my new article at Quite Magazine! (quitemagazine.com) 

4. 3 tempting treats that will make your mouth water. (titus2minutes.com) 

5. A beautiful, stylish shop & each purchase empowers a survivor of slavery? Sign me up. (boutique.beautifulandbeloved.com) 

6. I love these inspiring floral prints. (shimmermepretty.com) 

7. Art like this makes my heart skip a beat. (inslee.net/shop) 

8. I am a tea freak, so this made me smile. (pinterest.com) 

9. Swooning over the new Charlie Ford vintage. (pinterest.com) 
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Monday, June 17, 2013

You guys, this is very important so take a second, stop what you're doing and listen up. This is something SO close to my heart and I'm so passionate about it, I can't help but share ... because it's matter of life and death. My friend Jessi shared all about this on her blog and I found out about it this afternoon, which is why I'm just sharing it now. (Check out her post to learn more too.)

Tomorrow, the U.S. House n HR1797- Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection. It would ban abortions after 20 weeks based on the scientific evidence that by at least 20 weeks, babies in the womb feel pain. During surgery in-utero, babies at the same gestation receive pain medication. Laws should reflect science. I am just horrified by the fact that 300 abortion providers in this country will do abortions at and after 20 weeks and 140 providers will do them at 24 weeks. Abortion at any stage is murder and so so heartbreaking, but at this stage of life in the womb, a baby's body is formed - legs, arms, taste buds present on the tongue, kidneys making urine, the ability to swallow - and the baby can also feel pain. If a pregnant mother finds out her unborn baby needs in-utero surgery, doctors will give the baby pain medication. And yet before a horrible abortion procedure, the baby receives NO pain medication and suffers greatly. My friend shared this link on her blog, and it is helpful if you need to be informed about the abortion procedure at this late stage of a baby's development read it here - written by a former late term abortionist (no pictures or video, just graphic description) 

If you're anything like me, your heart is breaking after reading the last paragraph and you just want to help somehow. Well, you can. This is a bit late notice, but we can still help: 

  • I called my Representative in California this afternoon. Their office was closed, so I left a message: Go to this website, put your zip code in, and you'll get the phone # for your representative. There are ideas on what to say exactly. Your voice makes a difference! Ask your rep to vote YES on HR1797. 
  • And pray. Tomorrow is a pivotal day that can save precious human life. Pray God works in the hearts of all our Representatives and pray that abortion is stopped. It's so close to my heart. If you truly look at the facts, you cannot deny it's murder and so wrong - regardless of your religious beliefs or political stance. So please, pray that our country sees the light. 

Loves, if you are a girl who is pregnant and you are thinking about having an abortion, please reach out to someone who can help you. There are so many ways to get help. But don't kill your baby. You are so so loved by God and your baby is loved too. And if you're a precious one who regrets having an abortion in the past, know that in Jesus there is forgiveness, grace and hope. 
(via pinterest) 

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Dear Friend,

Tonight I threw a load of laundry in the washer and wearily brewed a cup of tea. I crept upstairs and sat down at my pink vintage desk with a heavy sigh. I'm weary. And a little tired. You know the feeling? Tired in many ways because of good things - events over the weekend, time with sweet friends, celebrating Dad and a sleepover with sister. But also weary of other things... like waiting, working, running, pursuing, striving, and sometimes failing. And as my little white fan blows and my french vanilla tea sends little steamy swirls up above the cup (How ironic, right? Drinking hot tea while running a fan to cut the heat? Can't help it. Love my tea hot!) Norah Jones croons in the background, singing "Come away with me in the night..." and I sigh. Jesus is calling... it's not a worship song, but I often find He speaks through simple love songs.. because, after all - this is a love story isn't it? It is for me and Him. He reminds me to breathe. To shut my eyes and just be. To not always strive to be entertained or constantly work. To not try to change, even. But just to let Him love me.

Are you tired too?

Tired of being tired. 
Tired of taking out the trash.
Tired of checking your always buzzing phone.
Tired of making coffee every morning.
Tired of waiting... for that dream. For His timing.
Tired of going and pushing and striving.
Tired of balancing and budgeting.. money and time.
Tired of remembering the things you can't forget.
Tired of fearing the things you can't control.
Tired of holding onto the things you fear.
Tired of listening to the same old songs.
Tired of hearing lies in your head that you're not good enough, smart enough, rich enough.
Tired of feeling poor.
Tired of messing up.
Tired of dropping the ball again, being late, letting them down.
Tired of being misunderstood.
Tired of fighting and tired of hurting.
Tired of hiding, tired of fake smiling.
Tired of grieving the loss of something that has never existed.
Tired of being disappointed.
Tired of loss.
Tired of the struggle.

.... Remember that Jesus said: 

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find REST FOR YOUR SOULS."
Matthew 11:29 

Come Lord by Rita Springer on Grooveshark

Love and hugs, dear ones.
I pray your week ahead is full of rest for your soul and peace in His arms.
Hold onto Him and fight for that rest.
Ask Him for it.
You are loved.

XO
Erin


PS - 
I read a post by my dear friend Rae last week
 and it encouraged me so much and partly inspired me to write this one :) Read it here 
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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Weekend, beautiful girls! Fun treat for you today! Go get an iced latte to sip because I have a special friend for you to meet today and since I can't introduce her to you in person at a little coffee house, this is the next best thing! I really love this girl and her amazing heart. She loves the Lord, encouraging women, and she shares her story and recent marriage in such an inspirational way! We met briefly in college, as we were both Home Ec majors and I wish I'd had the opportunity to spend more time with her. So happy she's joined this blogging community, give her a warm hello and introduce yourself and follow her - she is a friend you want to make! 


Wife, homemaker, daughter, secretary, event planner – those are all words that can describe me. And while they are all true and all things that I blog about, what I desire to be known as is a follower of Christ. The main goal of my blog is to encourage women to exalt Christ in their daily living. Titus2Minutes was started based upon the principles of the passage Titus 2. I know that none of us have a ton of spare time, so I wanted to create a blog that would {Lord willing} inspire and challenge my readers in a matter of minutes.

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” ~ Titus 2:3-5
5 Things About Courtney

     1 //   On Sunday, I will have been married for four months! They have been the best and sweetest four months of my life. My husband is my best friend, encourager, supporter, and role model. You can share in our special day here: http://titus2minutes.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/melonaslove-nick-courtney/

   2 // My passions in life are event planning, missions, adoption, teaching other women, and homemaking. I know – I have a lot of passions! :) 

  3 // I am the oldest of seven children. My youngest two siblings are adopted from Haiti. Someday my husband and I would love to have a big, multi-cultural family.

  4 // I majored in Home Economics at The Master’s College, which is actually how I met Erin. Home Economics is a major that I wish more women knew about. Beyond just “stitching and stewing,” we were taught practical things such as nutrition, principles of finance, clothing construction, and how to be godly women in our society.

 5 //  I interned at ZOE International Ministries which is an organization that fight human trafficking. Before I interned there, I thought that human trafficking was something that only happened in other countries. I was shocked to learn that it happens in the United States too. Check out their website to learn more: http://www.gozoe.org/

Connect with Courtney








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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


So, I broke up with tanning... and we are never, ever, ever getting back together.... Like, ever.

Friend, there's something I want to talk to you about today. Something really important. Something close to my heart. And I want you to stop what you're doing... and read and listen, just for a minute of your day. Because, the reason I am taking time to write about this is: I love you all - each one of ya, and I want you to think about something - especially you younger gals. So listen up for a minute, 'K?

A few years ago, in the middle of my young, carefree college days, I began to feel insecure about something I'd never, ever thought about before. I decided my skin was too pale. I looked around at the girls in my dorm and noticed many of my friends had a healthy tan glow and...I didn't. My skin is and always has been fair. I can thank my European ancestors, and especially my Swedish great grandpa for my fair complexion and strawberry blonde hair and charm and good looks  haha not ;) Yet, growing up, I was taught by my mama that fair is beautiful. I protected my skin, wore hats on all our vacations, and always used sunscreen. My skin only burned a few times, in Hawaii on a family vacation and by the pool one summer. But one rainy day in my Junior year of college, some girls in my dorm got some coupons for a free first tan at the fancy tanning salon down the street and invited me to join them. On our way there, as we stopped into Starbucks for hot chocolates, my mom's voice rang in my mind - "Never go into a tanning bed, you skin is beautiful as it is and tanning beds are so dangerous. Skin cancer runs in our family. Be careful." But, in my immaturity and desire to go along with the cool crowd, I did it anyway. And I did it way more than once. I tanned (in a tanning bed) pretty consistently for about a year and a half. I loved being tan - it made me feel confident. Made me feel like I could be as pretty as the models I saw on TV and in magazines (not thinking about how fake, Photoshopped and airbrushed so many of the images of women in our media are.) Along with loving how I looked tan, I loved the experience - it was pretty awesome, let's face it - especially in the winter. I am always cold, so being totally warm in the tanning bed was lovely, the music played in speakers on every side and the little caramel candies they put on the pillows...le sigh. It was like pampering to me, and I did it often. Blissfully, this toxic routine went on until one day, I began to notice little wrinkles appearing on my skin... it started to look a bit leathery. And since I am so fair, I noticed a few moles began to change. One day while looking in the mirror, I realized my skin was clearly beginning to change....noticeably. And I knew that if I didn't stop now, I might do irreparable damage. So I quit. I felt insecure about my fair skin, but I just knew in my heart this practice wasn't healthy. 

Around that time, I also started blogging (my former fashion blog that I deleted when God put on my heart to create this blog!) and I found Sun Savvy Bloggers. It woke me up. I read all about the dangers of unprotected, careless sun exposure, and especially the danger of messing around with tanning beds. I watched a video that stopped me in my tracks, gave me chills, and made me think. I decided that day to never lay in a tanning bed again. And I took the pledge on their website. I encourage you to check it out, girls, and to watch this video (it's emotional and a bit heavy, but important to hear): 


So, friend - you may not wanna hear this. I didn't. Sorry to say, I would kind roll my eyes when my mom reminded me of the dangers of tanning beds... so I've been there. But, take it from me - they're not a good idea. I know this is turning out to be a kinda-super-serious post, but maybe it needs to be - this is a serious topic, ladies. Did you know that just one tanning session in a tanning bed or unprotected tanning session in the direct sun increases your lifetime risk of developing skin cancer by 20 percent?? Indoor tanning is a Class 1 carcinogenic - up there with arsenic and cigarettes! (stats via Glamour magazine.) Ladies, it's time we wake up about tanning beds and excessive tanning. If you're currently in a tanning habit like I was, please stop, friend. It is so not worth risking your health.... and your life.


I have really come to realized that fair really is beautiful! We are all created by God and He purposefully gave us the skin we were born with - embrace it, don't try to change it! I think women don't realize we are most beautiful when we embrace who we are with confidence! If you're naturally pale, then rock it. (hey, my friend who's been a missionary to Ireland & Germany says y'all there are pale and totally don't care about tans!) If you have dark skin, love it! Be you - you are one of a kind and you are beautiful and more importantly, LOVED by God. Don't let style trends, lies from our media, or insecurities rip you off and steal your health. 

Rocking a tan can definitely be fun and you might want a bronzed look sometime... I'm not hating on pretty tan skin - just want us to be careful how we get it. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to achieve a pretty bronzed look without baking our skin in the sun or in a nasty tanning bed. For special events, I've gotten a fake spray-down tan and you know what?? It was WAY better looking than a real tan! And affordable too! If you in So Cal, check out my girls at Faking It Flawless - they do an amazing job and are so sweet too! When I wanna go for a more bronzed look, I love using powder bronzers. My favorite is "Dallas" by Benefit. And Bare Minerals brand has lots of pretty, natural-looking ones too. Remember to always wear plenty of sunblock under your makeup, too - don't risk it friends. (My sweet friend Lauricia shared a great post about what to do if you accidentally get a sunburn - here

Alright, ladies. Practice safe sun. Be careful with your skin. DON'T make the mistake I did and go to a tanning bed. Remember fair skin is beautiful. And if you're naturally dark, rock it out. Be YOU. You are precious, beautiful, and so loved. By God and ... me! 

End of rant. :) 

Check out this Pinterest board I just made to encourage us to embrace a safe sun way of living, including fashion and beauty products I love for safe sun!


Remember, you are beautiful without a tan or makeup or anything else. 

"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." 
Psalm 139:13-14 
_________

 - Outfit Stats -

Top: Old Navy
Necklaces: Forever 21
Belt: Gift from a friend
Skirt: an old dress I upcycled & sewed into a skirt!
Shoes: Target 
Bracelet: J.Crew
Watch: Michael Kors

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Sunday, June 9, 2013


Darling friends! I am starting the week off with a little coffee date vlog, 'cause I wish we could meet up to chat and share our hearts, and this is the closest to a real coffee date. Sharing a bit of an update on life lately, including the crazy fire that threatened my family's land (thank you for praying!) and a few things the Lord taught me through the experience. I hope you're inspired and encouraged to live for Him this week and to give all your cares and anxieties to Him, whatever they are - really big or smaller. 



Share any prayer requests and anxieties you may have this week in the comments below, 
and we can pray for one another. 

Be blessed, dear ones! 
Know you are so loved.
And the Lord has a plan for your life.
No worries :)

XO
Erin
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Working on my book today & praying that readers are reminded of this truth when they read it. 

****
Thank you all oh so much for the continued prayers and so much support over the last week - I'm grateful to share that the fire is pretty much contained (thank you firefighters!) and we're out danger. I've been a bit exhausted this week and thankful for your prayers and understanding as I've not shared regular posts this funk-week. But I am so thankful for the sweet gals here to guest post, including my precious friend Jessica. I'll be back later this week but as I unpack and focus on writing my book today, I'm thrilled you'll get know this amazing friend of mine. She's a fabulous blogger, fashionista, and fellow Quite Magazine writer! Her blog is really so inspiring to me and a favorite read. She has a huge heart for the Lord and is an example of a godly wife and mama. 

Get to know her and visit her links below, you will love her. 



Hey you guys! My name is Jessica and I blog over at Proverbs Living. I'm so blessed to call Erin a friend and to be here at Sweetness Itself! I am a working wife and mother as well as a Christian life+style blogger. Proverbs Living started out as a way to for me to keep accountable for a Proverbs 31 bible study and it has just blossomed into something I never imagined. My mission is to reach out to not only the God fearing, but also the unchurched. Through marriage, motherhood, and especially modest fashion, I hope to be a light in our cultural darkness.

Random Facts about Jessica 

1. I sing in my church's praise and worship team.
2. In college I played volleyball and had lead roles in musicals.
3. I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate and golf.
4. Summer is my favorite time of year…maybe it has something to do with me being a teacher. ha!
5. I am a contributor to Quite Magazine (www.quitemagazine.com) and Unveiled Wife (www.unveiledwife.com). I also am part of the St. Louis fashion blogger circle.

Connect with Jessica 

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thank you, friends, for your prayers these past days... I am so thankful to share that our hero firefighters have contained the fire significantly and though we're all still in some danger, it's much less. It's been an exhausting, scary, upsetting weekend but thankful for God's peace in the midst of it. 

Today, I have someone special for you to meet! I'm so thankful she's taking over the blog today because I need a couple days to unpack things and settle after all the craziness. I'm pretty exhausted and overwhelmed, honestly. So I'm thankful for sweet Olivia sharing here today! Olivia is such an amazing gal and I really hope you get to know her and become her friend on social media (links below!) She's truly a precious friend and one of my favorite bloggers in this awesome blogging community!

Meet Olivia!
Hey there! After great deliberation, I decided to write this blurb as closely to how I am in real life..and 'Hey-there' is a currently used term of mine. I'm Olivia or Liv...you pick. I started Liv Life in 2008 at the ripe old age of 16 in order to keep up with my sister, who updated both a family blog and her own personal blog. It was on a whim late one night and has survived 5 years! I think my original purpose for the blog was to record my life for my own entertainment, but as the years have gone on, and I have grown, I realize now that my blog can glorify Christ if I am willing to let Him use it. This past year has been crazy--with both pros and cons, and the Lord has taught me so many things and I love being able to share my heart and encourage other ladies.  Other fun facts: I still live at home with my parents and younger brother. I work full time as a live out nanny for a 4 year old and a 2 year old. I adore ferris wheels, porch swings, thunderstorms, the sounds of summer nights, and camping. 
5 Fun Facts about Liv

1. I love shopping at thrift stores. One of my best deals so far was an adorable pair of J.Crew shorts for $0.29. 

2. Annie Oakley & Laura Ingalls Wilder are my heroines. I actually live in the county where Annie Oakley was born and raisedEvery summer the county has a festival in her honor, complete with a shooting contest for young females to become Miss Annie Oakley. I tried for the title when I was 16. 

3. I showed pigs in 4-H for my last three years of highschool and absolutely loved every moment of it. I should have been the 4-H spokesperson, I loved it so much. 

4. 
I love lists and being organized and planning ahead. People laugh at me until they have an emergency and need a safety pin or floss.

5. If I come up with an idea [craft, baking, or otherwise], I have a hard time not acting on it and starting immediately, even if I don't have all the necessary pieces.

Blog: http://oliviacoy.blogspot.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/oliviacoy#
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/oc92/
Email: livielulabelle92@aim.com

Check out a fun, inspiring post on Olivia's blog about finishing her bedroom! 



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Sunday, June 2, 2013

My sweet friends...Okay, so I need your prayers and thoughts. If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you may have seen my pleas for prayer, but here's the deal: you may have heard there's this HUGE wildfire burning in So Cal... well, it swept through my hometown this weekend, threatening my family's home and beloved Ranch. Yesterday evening, in the dark of night, we drove down a bit into the town and I cannot describe to you the heartache of watching the place you've known and loved your whole life just go up in flames. I watched in horror as neighbor's homes became engulfed in flames, and with bleary eyes I wept and could only whisper, "That's someone's home...." 

I spent all last night packing up precious family photos, sacred keepsakes and irreplaceable items. Holding a mug with shaking hands and sipping tea as the police radio blared on and on with reports of homes threatened and streets blocked off. 

snapped this photo last night
Of course, I've kept totally calm and carried on actually, more like panicked and freaked out. This is not my first experience with a wildfire... and you non-Californians may not know how crazy wildfires can get out here in our dry deserty landscape...but back in high school, my family very nearly lost our home and almost all our land was burned. Blackened to the point it looked as though we lived on the backside of the moon. It was truly the scariest experience of my life. So, my heart is definitely concerned and I am certainly a little panicked, honestly. So friend, can you pray? The fire is literally within 8 miles of my family's home, and currently the winds are on our side, but please pray they don't shift. Please also pray for the precious people who have been evacuated, who have lost their homes, and who are afraid tonight. Please pray for the AMAZING firefighters who have worked tirelessly for days to fight this awful wildfire - they are heroes and I am so so thankful! 

I am reminded that God is in control.  I am reminded that Jesus said, "I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33)

This morning, I woke up, more thankful than ever to pour a cup of coffee and safely be home. I stood on the porch with our sweet dog in the warm light and thanked the Lord for the little things. I remembered His words in Scripture, "Be still and know I am God." (Psalm 46:10) and I realized afresh how temporary and short this earth is. How eternity is so much bigger and more important, and how things are just things and how they don't last. But souls do. I am reminded to love and to try to love well, even though I often fail. And to embrace this life and live it for Him, living it for the the things that matter and not the material things that can so easily slip away. 






It's a little bit of a hot mess over here (obviously) so if I'm not so on top of things this week, thank you for understanding. But thank you so much for praying for me, and for this little corner of the world. I'll keep you posted as the week goes on. I also want you to know that I know this fire is not the only heartache in the world... that Oklahoma is and has been experiencing such loss of late. And I know that each of you have your own personal losses and heartaches, and they matter oh so much to God... share in the comments below, if you'd like, how I (and we!) can pray for you too.

I am remembering this truth today: "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor the present or the future, nor any powers, nor height or depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Love and thanks, dear ones. Live for what counts. And hug somebody you love today.

PS - just in case you didn't know, the title of this post is actually an Alicia Keys song I love.... Just so ya know I'm not just being totally inapprop. ;) Tryin' to keep things light in heavy times, friends!
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