not good enough

lately the enemy has been trying to convince me that i am not capable of doing anything. that i don’t have a “sweet enough” personality, that i will never become the dancer i dream of being, that i am not reaching people for the lord, that i will never do much for the kingdom of God. he has even been working on me over the past year through blogging.

i haven’t written on this (or my personal) blog in MONTHS because i felt like i never had anything worthy of blogging. quite frankly, i felt dumb for even considering writing my thoughts out thinking that no one would even be affected by them. how foolish. God doesn’t want us to be consumed by what we are doing for other people- he wants us to have our eyes so focused on him that other people want to know why we aren’t shaken by the things of this world. he wants our hearts so completely wrapped up in him that we aren’t even thinking twice about whether or not we are “doing enough” for the kingdom- we know that we are living our lives fully for his glory. that’s all he wants. is you.

i was recently talking with a friend about how messed up i have been feeling and she told me about a sermon she heard. the pastor said something like “God does not hand over power to satan. God allows things to happen in our lives to teach us, but the enemy only has as much control as you give him.” i realized that the reason why i was feeling so weird and discouraged and just not myself was because i was allowing satan to mess with the way i saw myself, which made the feelings of “not-good-enough” come to the surface.

so stay strong. i know i am only a 17 year old who hasn’t even made it out of high school yet, so this might not really mean anything to many people, but just know that you are worth more than you know. you can be whatever you want to be and you can achieve the seemingly impossible because of our POWERFUL and gracious God.

for the word of God is living and powerful! It is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart. hebrews 4:12


52 Little Lines with Big Benefits

The weight of our words carry the very power of life and death in their grasp.

We have the ability to make or break the little lives that have been entrusted to us.

But sadly, and too often, hurtful, thoughtless, harsh words tumble from my lips.

And sure enough, it is my precious children who see and hear the worst of me.

I’m positive there is a filter malfunction in there somewhere.

So when I stumbled upon this brilliant collection of phrases – all designed to help make your “child feel great”, I promptly printed it out and stuck it up on the side of my fridge.

I look at it frequently.

And it makes me smile.  Because it makes my little ones smile.

And then I thought…how silly to keep this all to myself {assuming, of course, that the hundreds of people who have already tapped into the beautiful heart of Janel Breitenstein, don’t read my blog}.

Choose a couple from the list each day and be intentional about seeking out opportunities to encourage your child’s heart, and breathe life into their sweet spirit.


    52 Things 

    1.       The way you (insert action) is such a perfect addition for our family. God knew just what we needed when He gave us you.

    2.       I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me for (insert specific action)?

    3.       I forgive you. And I won’t bring this up again, okay?

    4.       I want to hang out with just you tonight. What do you want to do?

    5.       Thank you!

    6.       Yes, there is food in the house.

    7.       I trust you.

    8.       I can’t believe how (insert positive adjective) you are. I can’t imagine the plans God has for you!

    9.       I saw how you (insert specific positive action). I’m so proud of you.

    10.   There’s money on the table for you.

    11.   I believe you.

    12.   I’m proud of you. And even if you weren’t so fantastic, I’d still be proud.

    13.   I know you and I haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye lately. But I want to let you know that I accept you whether I agree with you or not, and I’m committed to working on our relationship so we both feel understood and secure.

    14.   I got you this, just because.

    15.   Lately I’ve really seen you grow in the area of (insert character quality), like when you (insert specific action).

    16.   I admire you in (insert specific area). In fact, I could learn a lot from you in that area.

    17.   That was a really wise choice.

    18.   Snow day!

    19.   You’re really growing into a young man/woman of character. I can’t tell you how exciting that is!

    20.   I remember when I (insert vulnerable moment). I felt so (insert description). I don’t know if that’s like what you’re going through, but it was a tough time for me.

    21.   No matter how royally you mess up, I’ll always be glad you’re mine, I’ll forgive you, and I’ll love your socks off.

    22.   Go ahead and sleep in tomorrow.

    23.    I had no idea you could do that! You impress me.

    24.   What do you think?

    25.   I canceled your dentist appointment.

    26.   I love your dad so much! He is so (insert adjective).

    27.   I love being around you.

    28.   No chores today.

    29.   I’m so glad you’re home.

    30.   I love doing (insert activity) with you.

    31.   You are one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I am so humbled He gave me you.

    32.   I feel so proud when I’m with you.

    33.   You handled that so well.

    34.   I made your favorite (insert food).

    35.   You know, you may not feel very (insert adjective), but God knew exactly what He was doing you making you the way He did, and it was just how He wanted to express Himself. I love you just the way He made you. And I wouldn’t have wanted Him to do it any differently.

    36.   I’m trusting that God will take perfect care of us. He’s always done it before! Can we pray together about this?

    37.   With God’s help, your dad and I will never, ever get a divorce.

    38.   That looks great on you.

    39.   If I were in your shoes, I would feel so (insert adjective). Is that how you feel?

    40.   Would you turn your music up?

    41.   You are so well-disciplined in (insert specific area).

    42.   I sent you a big ol’ care package in the mail.

    43.   That was so courageous.

    44.   Do you feel like I’m understanding you?

    45.   If there were one thing you could change about me as your mom, what would it be?

    46.   You have some real gifts in the area of (insert adjective).

    47.   Let’s go to Grandma’s!

    48.   It is so cool to watch you grow up.

    49.   Just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you.

    50.   I miss you, but I’m glad you’re having a good time!

    51.   You make me so happy just by being you.

    52.   I love you so much.

Family Life, Mom Life Today, Janel Breitenstein

I trust these powerful words will bless you – and their lucky recipients – as much as they have us!

By Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Processing Life.

Life is fragile, this we know well.


But we far too easily forget.

We are rocked from our comfortable little worlds when headlines bleed with news of faithful soldiers and innocent civilians lost amidst the whirlwind of war, precious little lives snuffed out at the hands of those entrusted to protect and provide for them, hundreds upon thousands of people wiped out by the catastrophic effects of natural disaster.

We ache.

Reality slowly sinks in as the weight of our hearts within our chests becomes almost too much to bear, and we are forced to soberly look inward.

Desperately, to look upward.

Tears come.  We wonder.  Why.  How.  We pray.  And question what we truly believe about life.  And death.

Weed & girl

We look across at our precious loved ones, our very breath snatched from our lungs for just a moment at the thought of losing one of them, and we realize anew the fleeting vapor that is this life.

And we thank God for the gift of their lives mingled with our own, brief as it may be in the grand scheme of eternity.

{breathe in.  breath out.}

Weed & girl 2

The brevity of life catches me off guard all too often.

Like today.

Just after 2:00am last Wednesday we got word that one of the Officers from my husband’s post – and one of the fine men that first trained my hubby – had just been killed in a car accident, while pursuing another vehicle.

Husband, daddy, son, brother, state trooper, friend.

Gone.  Just like that.

Blowing weeds

Today our hearts are aching.

Freshly aware of how evanescent this flesh-and-bones world truly is.

And yet, acutely aware of how important choosing to love others where they’re at, every chance we get, truly is.

It is true what they say, that you may be the only Jesus some people ever meet, the only bible some people ever read.

Sharing the life nestled within us with a hurting world makes all the difference.

As my husband and I talked this morning over breakfast, his gratitude for the connection he had made with this man was evident.  Through tears he whispered, “Jeff and his wife had just decided to get back together again…and they wanted to start going to church”.

You see, He woos us, this magnificent Creator of life itself, drawing our hearts back to His through every delight and crisis we encounter, lovingly holding every moment of our lives in the palm of his hand before even one of them comes to pass.

Walking away

As we work through this tragic loss, and process those things unknown, we rest in the sovereignty of a God who is so extravagantly in love with His creation that He pursues their souls to their very last breath.

And in that knowledge, take peace.

“May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully” Ephesians 3:18-19a

By Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

YOU created me

lately i’ve been struggling with the way i look. i have not been happy with myself. the way my eye makeup ALWAYS, without fail seems to be completely drab and smudged by the end of the day. the way my hair looks different every day and will never just do what i want it to. the way my body looks when i stand in front of the mirror. i think it’s safe to say that every girl struggles with some form of insecurity about their body. i am sick of not being happy with myself. i always compare myself to other girls, which is really stupid. ya know why? because i am the only me there is. isn’t that a cool thought? there is no other person walking on this earth that looks the way i do. not only that, but there is not one person on this earth that is going to do the things God has chosen ME to do. now THAT is cool! have you ever thought about that? God made me the exact way i am supposed to be. yes we do have control over how healthy we keep our bodies (sorry, kinda slacking right now) but God created us the way we are for a reason. in society’s eyes, a size 2 is beautiful. which is perfectly true. but the only beautiful people in this world are not size 2s. the size 5s, 12s, 14s and so-on are just as beautiful. why? because God made them that way! he made us the way we are and we need to make the world realize that we do not have to conform. i am tired of feeling like a freak for going out with no make up on. i feel less confident when i do. that is so WRONG. i need to embrace the way i am naturally. did i come out of my mother with makeup on? um…no. OK. so i am kinda preaching to myself right now when i say STOP CARING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

psalm 139:13-14

for it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. i will praise You, because i have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. (holman christian standard)

for thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. i will praise thee; for i am fearfully and wonderfully made : marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (king james)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it. (new living translation)

oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. i thank you, High God – you’re breathtaking! body and soul, i am marvelously made! i worship in adoration – what a creation! (the message)

“Dear Father, forgive me for complaining about Your masterpiece when I look into the mirror. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You for crafting my eyes that see, my ears that hear, my mouth that speaks, and all the amazing organs that work in tandem that I can’t even see. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” from crosswalk’s girlfriends in God devotionals

love, andrea

Coming Up For Air

In this house

we do dishes, yes…

Dishwasher Boy

But we also do wild.  Unorthodox.

We do mistakes.

We do second chances.

And third.

And four hundred and seventy-ninth.


We do silly.

We do laughter.

We do real.

We do tomfoolery.

{and plenty more mistakes}

We do “I’m sorry’s”.

{A lot of “I’m sorry’s”}

We do loud.

We do long hugs.

Lots of sweet kisses.

We do grace.

We do family.

We do us.

Perfect imperfection.


It has been a tough parenting day.  One of ‘those’ days.

Actually it’s been a rough week.  Ever since returning from our anniversary getaway, we’ve been dealing with incredibly unpleasant {see…I’m choosing my words wisely} behavior in my daughter; over-the-top whining and drama about every little thing, constant boundary-pushing, mega attitude and rudeness like we’ve not experienced from her before.

And today, I fell apart at the seams.

And it was the furthest thing from pretty.  It was downright scary.

I failed miserably, shouting – in the heat of the moment; where utter exhaustion and intense furry collide – with such anger in my voice that my heart ached with regret as the dagger-like reprimands left my mouth.

Sure, she was wrong in behaving the way she did.

But now, so was I.  My immature, impulsive handling of her behavior simply added fuel to the fire.

I get to choose: water or fuel. Today I grabbed the fuel.

It was one of the most ferocious crazy cycles we’ve ever been caught in, her and I.

I modeled such poor anger-management skills today that it breaks my heart to think about.  The very heart attitude we are working to mold and transform in her was so starkly, blatantly revealed within me..and found wanting.

One of the hardest parts for me to swallow is this: I never was an angry person before this season of my life.  Where is all this rage coming from?  In 7 years of marriage, I have never spoken to my husband in the harsh, unkind way I did to my daughter today.  I have become a yeller.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s simply that I was good at stuffing…and my toddler is good at digging.

Immature outbursts drenched in selfishness & impatience: 2

Tenderly delivered, grace-filled lessons in {tough} love: 0

And despite {many} apologies, my heart is still heavy.

What a horrible, ugly side of my heart emerged today.  And my 3 1/2 year old, tender-hearted little girl, had a front seat.

Oh, how desperately in need of saving I still am.

How deeply I need accountability in the way I process my weary frustration in mothering toddlers.  How vitalsupport and friendship is to surviving this rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

How very grateful I am for God’s incredible patience with me.  His ever-present mercy, grace and direction on this journey.  His faithful protection of my daughter’s impressionable heart.

So I press on.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:23-23 {The Message

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

is it MINE?

i watched beware of christians last night. amazing.

i was challenged to think about my faith. i’ve been raised in a Christian home with Christians surrounding me, especially at church. when i moved to MO i got a little taste of a more secular environment at public school, but i still have my fam and church family.

if i hadn’t been raised in a Christian home would i have the faith that i do? tough question, huh. i got to thinking about this after i finished watching the movie this morning (aka afternoon, woke up at 11 30…HA) and i realized that i need to strive to make my faith COMPLETELY my own. if i had grown up in switzerland (one place the guys went) would i seriously be as “hardcore” about my faith? honestly, i really don’t know if i would be. i know that God placed me where i am and with the family i’m with, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in being a Christian because of what people tell me.

i think it was last year that i started thinking about this whole thing. have i seriously read in the bible the story of creation? Jesus’s birth? death? resurrection? at that time, no i hadn’t. how SICK is that!!!?? i’ve been a christian since i was about 7 and i had just grown up listening to what everyone told me. how WRONG of me!! it makes me sick to think about the time that i’ve wasted up to this point. why am i following Jesus? because my parents do? because it’s all around me, in the lifestyle i’m living? i’m going to be honest and not answer that question right now. i really need to step away and truly analyze why i have a relationship with Jesus. i’m going to find ways to challenge myself, and i would love it if you joined with me.

the ONLY constant

lately i’ve been realizing that i only have one thing to cling to: my relationship with Christ.

learning this is not an easy thing.

it is hard. so hard.

but through it all, it makes a person stronger. you will never become the person God wants you to be if you stay comfortable.

sometimes you have to be completely broken to realize you need more of the Lord. you have to be at your weakest for God to show his strength.

that’s why i take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that i suffer for Christ. for when i am weak, then i am strong. 2 corinthians 12:10

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