The Gold Polish

I got up not as early as I’d wanted, but early enough to paint my nails gold.  You see, I’d been counting down this day for a couple months. I had found Refit and after months of sporadically doing their YouTube videos at home, went to my first class–the master class they hosted back in March–and had been counting down until they were offering classes in Lex not far from my work.

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You see, back in 2012, I checked off my bucket list running a half marathon.  Less than two months later, my Mom had major back surgery in VA and the last three years have been up and down for her, a few other hospitalizations and operations, moving from Virginia (and all her family and friends) to Kentucky where she would be nearer to me, her only child, but also where she was away from all she had ever known. Additionally, in the last three years I’ve experienced a job change, nursing school and a complete career change (including night shift) for the Beau in addition to being the primary caretaker and advocate for Mom.

So my health got put on the back burner, to say the least.

I know my health is important. I know life is short. I know that I should want to make the most of what I’ve got. And I’ve tried. I’ve tried it all it seems.  Walking. Jogging. Yoga. Zumba. Fitness classes with friends. But commuting to work and church and to Doctor’s appointments, spending days in the hospital, phone calls with doctors and family, I could never stay consistent.

Until Refit.  What I could be consistent with was the inconsistency from which I would dance along to 5-10 YouTube videos. And I say that with everything in me–the freedom I found in the inconsistency was huge. No judgment. No hit to my bank account. No guilt. Just my TV and familiar faces that would greet me once a week.  Or once a month. Whenever I could show up. They were there. I started to love these gals. They were my company when the beau would head in to night shift. They were my stress relief on a rough day.

When they decided to come to Lexington for a Master Class in March, you better believe it I was there with a friend or two in tow.

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Jesse (who went to REFIT while in grad school at Baylor) and me


And then yesterday, the first day of class arrived.  And gold nails and all, I walked in to one challenging moment after the next. No parking on campus. Mom’s transport to her appointment was late. Seeing some issues arise at her appointment based on her pain and care she’s receiving where she lives. Standing in the corner sobbing, thankful for an aide who was willing to give a hug and a specialist and nurse who are so kind and compassionate. Realizing you left your wallet at home when you’re in the drive through picking up lunch for Mom (Thank you kind soul at Arby’s who accepted my grace offering of $3 I scrounged from my car Iced coffee fund).  One of those days for sure.

It’s really tough being 34 and seeing your mom who will soon be 63 live in a nursing home and have (most of) her wits about her yet be surrounded by folks old enough to be her Mom. It’s a hard reality to face and it’s placed a bit of a role reversal as I’ve been a caretaker for her. There are difficult decisions to be made alone. Mom will jokingly say “Okay Mother” sarcastically, but it’s tough to hear.

Mother’s Day is hard. For multiple reasons. Being 34 with no kids–some folks just don’t get it.  And while it’s our story, it’s still a stop on the journey I never thought I’d be.  I’d always imagined having a few kids by the time I turned 30, but here I am on the verge of 34 and childless. I know that God has a plan and I’m excited (most days) to trust him throughout the twists and turns.

So a rough day like yesterday in the days leading up to Mother’s Day–I just wanted to call it quits. Go home, binge on the Gilmore Girls and have a little pity party.

But instead, I head to lunch with a dear friend of 20 years and my spirits were lifted a bit.  I head back to the office briefly (as I’ve already made my mind up that the day will probably nose dive again and I’ll just head on home) and see a notification on Facebook from the Refit Gals.


Did they know how crappy my 9:58 had been? Sheesh. So much for going home. I just couldn’t not go now! That right there friends is the reason I love REFIT. The reason I need to be brave and share this post. We all have our “stuff.” Maybe it’s not that Mother’s Day is hard for you. Maybe your struggle isn’t working out but creating margin in your schedule to be truly present with your family. Perhaps it’s struggling in a job or career that you hate.  Maybe your marriage isn’t where you want it to be.  Or you just wish you had a companion.

We have to be willing to share our stuff friends.  We are all struggling in one way or another.  And then we have to be willing to shake it off and move on. To say to a friend–“I need help”.  And to be willing to hear “okay, it’s time to move on from  your pity party”! I’m reminded of one of my favorite passages in Acts 2 about the early church

42 The disciples were devoted to the teachings of the apostles, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. 43 A feeling of fear came over everyone as many amazing things and miraculous signs happened through the apostles. 44 All the believers kept meeting together, and they shared everything with each other. 45 From time to time, they sold their property and other possessions and distributed the money to anyone who needed it. 46 The believers had a single purpose and went to the temple every day. They were joyful and humble as they ate at each other’s homes and shared their food. 47 At the same time, they praised God and had the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord saved people, and they were added to the group.

The “sharing of our things together” in verse 44 isn’t just our physical possessions. It’s the good and bad days.
When everything goes wrong–at least we’re together. 
When things seem really crappy or you have a day that just won’t pull it together, remember this:
  1. You’re likely not the only one having a bad day.
  2. Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it.
  3. Take 60 seconds and reach out to someone else–you never know when one little text, facebook post or silly voxer message could turn someone’s day around just like those REFIT gals did for me.

Sometimes it’s just the simple act of putting on the gold polish.  What can you do to signify a reminder. What do you need to do–a physical expression of your “fake it til you make it?”

Now you know when you see the gold polish appear.

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And if you want a taste of Refit check out this workout–it’s sure to make you smile. (Or this one which brings tears to my eyes every time.)

Disclaimer: I know we all have our stuff and I’m sure mine pales in comparison to some of what I know my friends and family are going through.  Please feel free to comment and know that I’ll be praying for you whatever your stuff might be. 

February 2015

What I’m learning:

There was so much learned during this sabbatical month. It’s hard to even put into words. I’m actually still in my last week of sabbatical life so I’ll be back to share a bit more of my takeaways at some point later in the month. All I know is that some amazing things can happen when you quiet your mind and calendar and spirit to receive.

I do know that I love how things work out–call it my “connectedness” strength coming into play–we received almost an entire week off of work due to a major snow-storm that had records snow-fall and low temps for our area. Talk about a blessing of a sabbatical within a sabbatical. I also had 2 sick days during this time–definitely not a blessing, but I think sometimes our bodies respond and tell us when we need attention and rest. I have definitely been cashing in on the “good sleep” equation of my February plans.

Overall I would say that it is amazing what you can learn about yourself when you take a step back and quiet yourself, your calendar and even your house (definitely something I’ll be doing in the coming months). I have found some clarity on things I’ve been pondering for some time, passion fueled for things that had been simmering for some time and joy out of simple things like a spontaneous at home date night when the beau opens up the good bourbon. And having a clear schedule to take advantage of UK tickets that become available to you the night before a game isn’t too shabby either! GO CATS! 30-0!

uk game

Books I read in February:

February collage

What I’m loving: 

  • Podcasts in general.  Such a great way to absorb and learn.  I love music, don’t get me wrong, but with a commute, it’s so nice to think and use that time wisely.  I’ve been enjoying some new music at work, which is great but trying to absorb more on my drive.  Some of my favorites:
    • Relevant Podcast.  So hilarious.  Great guests.  Great way for me to get some news (since I’m off social media and don’t watch the news)
    • This Radiolab. The idea of Facebook and social science research and how we share and retrieve and communicate. So fascinating both personally and professionally.
    • That Sounds Fun from Annie Downs. This girl makes me laugh like no other and I just LOVE the episode I linked on Nashville food.
    • The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. Absolutely love hearing this gal talk with a girl friend over things that are really meaningful, fun, real topics–and sometimeshard ones.
    • Catalyst Leader Interview with Shelley Giglio.  Cannot even begin to say how powerful this was for me.  I want a transcript of certain parts of this.  Shelley’s interview starts at the 20 minute mark and ends around the 45 minute mark.
  • Tiny Desk Concerts from NPR.  Have loved these for a while, but really great to discover new music or see a new side of an artist.
  • The Lone Bellow. My love for NYC meets my love for all things southern.  And there’s a mandolin playing red-head.  (You can combine the last two by watching the Tiny Desk Concert of The Lone Bellow).  So very very sad their conert in Louisville sold out literally as I was getting ready to purchase my tickets. Same thing happened with StubHub. Guess it wasn’t meant to be!
  • Behind the Mask–absolutely LOVE this Hulu original —“Behind the Mask” dives into the colorful, unusual side of sports through the eyes of four mascots. (description via Hulu).  It’s a good heartfelt show that’s fun and has had both the beau and I in stitches and on the verge of tears.
  • Feedly. With the lack of social media in my life, I’ve been taking  more time to read not only books but blogs.  Man, oh man, I have been missing out on some great stuff.  I love feedly to manage my subscriptions and easily share via email or social media (which I’ll be doing more of I’m sure!)

What I’m saying YES to in March:

  • Savor –the devotional by my gal Shauna Niequist-releases March 10th and I’m super stoked. Pre-ordered and ready. “Living abundantly where you are, as you are.” Could not be more perfect for me right now.
  • Refit Revolution Live Master class! So super pumped. This way of working out has really been sustaining to me working out while we had snow and freezing temps outside. And I can barely make it through this workout without tears.
  • Real life connections. Coffee dates. People over appointments or things. Hosting dinners in our home.  Voxer (oh my gosh–I love Voxer–if you are on, please connect with me there! I love hearing actual voices and not just reading texts!)
  • More intentional dates with the beau–we’ve come up with a list of restaurants we love and some new ones we want to try and when it’s date night out–we’ll draw from the list–excited to try this out starting this month.
  • Clean eating and fun movement!

What I’m saying NO  to in March:

  • Facebook and Twitter on my phone.
  • Things that put ME in the spotlight. I want to serve and let Jesus be the focus.
  • Time-Wasters. I know that if i start a Gilmore Girls episode, I’ll likely watch 3. I want to make the most of my time especially after work in the evenings.
  • Clutter. Mental and Physical stuff that is in excess and not necessary.
  • Self-doubt, self-judgement and self-criticism. I want to be in the ring of my own life fighting hard even if the outcome isn’t what I wanted.  I don’t want to be my own critic.


 So what book recommendations do you have for me?

And what will you be saying yes and no to?

IF: Gathering 2015

It’s been almost two weeks since the IF: Gathering 2015 took place.  I’ve been swirling for what to say in this space and hope to do some justice to the work God has been doing in my head and heart since.

IF: Georgetown, KY

My gal Shannon and I weren’t sure what our IF: Local event in Georgetown, KY would look like. Our group of women from our church who journeyed through Jennie Allen’s Restless study were still Restless at the close of the study. Folks seemed too busy and intimadated to open up their homes to their neighbors, co-workers and friends for a local gathering in their own place. The “Her Knight” event was taking place that same weekend which meant a lot of folks would be preoccupied getting their daughters dolled up for a date with dad right smack dab in the middle of the event. I was doubting that we’d made the right call back in September when I quickly decided that we needed to have our own event in our community rather than partner up with IF: Lexington. Even though it was a mere 30 minute drive–the point was to have a conversation with women in your own community–THIS was our community. So why did we feel so Restless ourselves in our planning efforts? We were still asking this question when we decided in early December to drive to Cincinnati to meet up with other IF: Local leaders and hear from Jennie Allen. Our planning seemed in vain. We couldn’t settle on what to do.

It was in that meeting of introducing ourselves and hearing what other folks had done previously or were planning to do that the answer came. We were sitting right next to sweet Robin from Cincinnati who said last year, they simply opened the doors of their church and invited folks to come and go as their schedules allowed.

IF: Local Leader Meeting-Cincinnati (Sweet Robin in the front to the far left beside Jennie Allen)

IF: Local Leader Meeting-Cincinnati (Sweet Robin in the front to the far left beside Jennie Allen)

That was our answer.

Shannon and I began to work on creating this environment. We invited folks in our own church community and beyond. I shared on social media the beautiful graphics the folks at IF provided. I sent emails to and had conversations with friends whom I felt God was tugging for me to invite. We had an incredibly supportive church staff and community that showed up–from printing programs, allowing for space in the service to announce, men showing up to move chairs and make coffee–they showed up. We created a community on Facebook of registered folks to get to know one another prior to the gathering and share about the speakers and IF leaders as many were unfamiliar all-together with IF. We set up a soup potluck for Friday night so folks who had to work or wouldn’t have time to feed themselves as well as their families could eat (another idea from Robin). I have a supportive spouse who cheered me on and bought me beautiful flowers that reminded him of all the IF graphics he’d been seeing.

flowers from the beau

Thursday night we decorated and tested the live-stream.

Friday I left work early, Shannon’s husband made it home early and we met at the church to finish our prep. It’s come and go so we have no idea how many will come. Around 50 had registered. We were starting at 6pm on the dot. At 5:30, not a soul was there to share a meal.

Shannon and I stepped into the parking lot to clear our heads and pray. We closed our eyes and spoke out-loud prayers of faith–pushing away the doubt that had entered in months before and for me were still present. We believed that God was up to something and had invited us not to be spectators but participants. We opened our eyes to see cars rolling in. My co-worker whom I had invited. Women from our church community. A mentor of mine who showed up with her teenage daughters. More crock-pots of soup and bread and veggies than our tables could handle.

All these seats were filled and then some.

There were barely any seats remaining. We had a few glitches with the Livestream as Austin ended and we had to readjust our feed. It took some time to warm up to worship not being live, but we got there. I stalked the IF: Local tumblr page where the time-stamp lived like a hawk. Conversation breaks were rich and loud. This was our call to believe. I was encouraged when we closed the night at the end of the first session to hear Shauna speak about their meal break and Susie speak so passionately about IF: Table which is right near this hospitality gal’s heart. We left after 9 that night hopeful that folks would return but knowing that Saturday was a such busy day for so many folks, I have to admit that doubt crept back in. I just wasn’t sure how many would make it back.

That night, I stayed at Shannon’s and her girls let me have their room as they slept on an air-mattress in the next room. Saturday morning I cuddled up watching cartoons next to her middle daughter (I’d slept in the eldest’s bed, so I knew that EJ deserved some extra attention–I might be an only child, but I do know a thing or two). We scarfed down eggs, threw on some mascara and ran through Starbucks to arrive only 30 minutes or so before the gathering was to begin. We had barely gotten the technology up and in walked a couple men from our church to assist with coffee and whatever else we needed. A box of donuts from a favored donut shop arrived. Fruit.Trail Mix. More boxes of Kashi granola bars that I’d ever seen (Thank you Kroger for putting them on sale!). And bearing all these treats? Women. Women who said they’d be there the entire weekend. Women who said they’d only be there Friday night. Women who had JUST registered on Thursday. My doubting was in vain. Why don’t we believe?

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Saturday was beautiful. Women came and went. I saw more and more faces of women who said they would only be there Friday and stayed for most of or in some cases the entire day. They left to do little girls hair and were back ASAP. They went home for a bit and ended up watching the Livestream while and home and came back sooner than expected. They jetted off to a little league game and came rushing back. We sang loudly even when there was another glitch with the Livestream. They heard some of their favorite speakers and soaked up truth from women new to them.

For our dinner break, around 15 of us gathered around the table at a local Mexican restaurant and had great conversation. It was an IF: Table. There were no cards present but we talked about the topics that had stirred our hearts. Racial Reconciliation. Why it can be so hard to connect with other women. Breaking down generational walls regarding these topics. What are our thoughts about the uproar regarding yoga pants these days. How do we model our faith to our own daughters? How to we be a light in our workplace that can be quite dark? What is next? How do we believe?

Our "impromptu" IF: Table over Mexican

The last session brought us to our knees and allowed us to think about our next step of faith. Shannon had rocks in glass jars at the front of our space and we each took one and thought about how we would mark this day. What would be our statement of faith? What could happen if we believe?

What could happen for our community if we believed?

This was not the question I was to answer.

No Faith–what could happen for YOU if YOU believed.  


I’ve been rolling around some big prayers in my life lately. I’ve allowed a state of busy-ness to mask dealing with my response to these prayers  A “sabbatical” of sorts was my response. I had the answer to my next step of Faith after IF weeks before the gathering actually occurred. For me to be able to respond in obedience, I needed to be quiet. God had been stirring my heart that I needed to listen. I spent the week between the IF: Gathering and when the Hebrews IF: Equip study began reviewing all the notes I’d taken in my journal. I refused to just write a bunch of heart piercing truths in my cute journal and not apply any of it. Here’s what jumped off the page for me from my notes:

Am I going to live by Faith or by sight? –Jennie Allen

Do I stop valuing the gifts God has given me because they don’t look like others? –Angie Smith

He has no intention of letting me go. His hold on me is stronger than my hold on Him. –Jo Saxton

“How about we start with you?’ -God’s question to Rebekah Lyons

Faith is a struggle.  Am I confident in God or my understanding of God? –Jen Hatmaker

What is the next humblest version of me?Bob Goff

We are only looking at a small portion of our life. God is creating it–even in the parts that do not make sense–all apart of the big picture. –Shelley Giglio

He will prune away things that are getting in the way -Debbie Eaton

My freedom is not just for me but for other people.  “Help my Unbelief!”Margaret Feinberg

Convict me for my full plate.  Do I desire a calling bigger than my character? We have fallen into perfectionism instead of Grace.  HE is the holy restorer. –Ann Voskamp

At the threshold of every transition, we (in our human nature) will have a spirit of fear. The believing life is not about us. Service prepares you for the battle. The call of God is inconvenient. Pursue character. Key to a believing life? Faith which comes by hearing the Word of God.–Hang on to the TRUTH of the word of God.  Don’t waste time on a fight that’s not worth fighting. –Christine Caine

Suffering is a channel of grace into the world. –Laura Sobeich

It’s okay to struggle with faith and show it. Reclaim your true self. Some woman is watching me. They need to see me struggle. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. –Shauna Niequest

I absolutely love Shauna and her mom Lynne.  Her words were soothing ointment to my weary soul.

I absolutely love Shauna and her mom Lynne. Her words were soothing ointment to my weary soul.

Walk it out even though it’s not working out. Just because your progress isn’t obvious doesn’t mean your faith isn’t working. There is no white flag; don’t quit when you are so close to the finish line. You don’t have to feel it or like it to do it. Results are God’s responsibility. Response and obedience are mine. –Bianca Olthoff

God calls us to the scary and uncomfortable. –Esther Havens

Faith without works is dead.  At the end of my life, do I want to see a slideshow of what I missed? Jennie Allen

Grateful for my teammate Shannon who has welcomed me into her life and this woman who so richly invests in her people.

My next step?  I’m heeding to the words of 1 Timothy 6:6-8: “The devout life…is the rich simplicity of being yourself before God.”

God is calling me back to the rich simplicity of being me.  The one He so delicately and carefully created. My “devout life” is cozying up in His word and camping out for a while. I want to be confident in God alone. I don’t want anything of my hands to get in the way of what God is doing in me or in others. Yes, Faith without works is dead. But complete reliance on works is paralyzing.

I want the women who came to our Gathering to walk away astounded and drawn to God for no other reason but that they feel the yearning to believe.

A piece of my gifting of hospitality is grounded in the ability to create environments and spaces that are welcoming and allow for people to be their true selves. I believe that is one reason I was so drawn to what the the IF: Gathering is about. IF: Equip, IF: Table and the gathering itself creates an environment. And while creating these environments might be apart of the work I am to do in my own place and in my own home, no amount of creating can substitute for the tug of the Holy Spirit on one’s heart.

So with that, the day after the gathering ended, my sabbatical commenced. No more creating. No more doing. No more facilitating conversation in the Facebook group. Resting. Believing. Listening. Getting cozy in the word. Responding with scripture rather than frustration or fear or hurt.

My next step…

Trust and Obey that the Lord is Good.

Trust and Obey that the Lord is Good.

I hear the chains falling…

February Sabbatical

About a month ago, I was meeting up with the beau for coffee as I was getting off work and he was heading into his new job as an RN working night shift in the Trauma unit at our University hospital.  We have been navigating night shift since mid-December and after about 6 or so weeks have gotten the hang of it.  This particular day was still in that “what have we signed up for?” stage. My calendar has been extra full for the past several months. Between a major career shift for the beau, my mom’s surgery this summer and a change in her living environment, an absolutely insane fall semester for me at work, leading our women’s missional community at church, hosting an IF: Local gathering AND adding on an additional side hustle, I was tired this day at Starbucks. And most days I was tired.

I looked at my calendar for February in that moment which was free (other than the IF Gathering) and declared “oh how nice it would be if it could only stay this way.”

“Why can’t it?” exclaimed the beau.

Why can’t it?

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After some intentional conversations with the side hustle folks, my closest friends and ministry leaders, more convos with the beau and much prayer, I decided to take a sabbatical in February. I’m not taking a month off of my job.  Just a month off of everything else. In explaining it to a friend, I feel as if I have a million apps running in the background of my operating system. I need to slow down and take the time to evaluate which ones still need to be there, which ones can be deleted and which ones I need to adjust some settings on for optimal effectiveness.

What does this mean practically, you ask? Well, from February 8th to March 8th:

  • I’ll be stepping back from all social media (except Pinterest–more on this in a moment).  Instagram, Facebook and Twitter will all be deleted off my phone and cleared from my bookmarks at work. I do manage a twitter account for our office so I’ll still do that, but no more media from @FaithieNic until March. I’ll use Pinterest as a way to catalog ideas and things I want to come back to and also a way to curate some ideas for this space.
  • I’ll be taking a full sabbatical from my personal email.  All emails during this time will be archived so that I’ll return on March 8th without thousands of emails to weed through.  You are welcome to mail me things (or send them to me via Pinterest) or just hold off on the email until March 9th. Just know that if you send me an email, I will. not. see. it.
  • There is nothing scheduled on my calendar other than work commitments.  I am planning on staying close to home and not filling my calendar with appointments.  Even good things and appointments will be held off until March so that I can take this time to work on the operating system.
  • No more Netflix.  It was a good run Gilmore Girls. I’ll finish you one day.

So what will I actually be doing?

  • Getting lots of sleep.  I’ve realized that I need 7 hours of sleep a night to operate a maximum capacity. Without a LOT of intention, I typically get 5-6.
  • Walking and doing Yoga.  I have put my health completely OFF of any burner that might exist.  I want to start simple and walk and do yoga 5 days a week. I’ve realized that I cannot work toward the good of others if my own physical health is failing.
  • Reading actual books.  I have a shelf of books that I want to read this year. And some of them have been there for a couple years.  This is the month (which will led to the year) of reading.
  • Being intentional with my family. With the beau on night shift and my mom’s health, I want to live into those relationships. I’ll also be spending time with my framily–quite important as an only child living in another state from the extended family on some of the night’s he’s working.
  • Cooking. I love to cook and be creative in the kitchen, but busy-ness of life has left me exhausted and therefore not in the kitchen much at all.
  • Creating the White-Space necessary to be spontaneous. I have learned to embrace and love spontaneity and want to intentionally create more room for it.

Some inspiration on my venture into a sabbatical:

Shauna Niequiest’s More Love, Less Hustle, Burn the Candles

Joy Eggerich’s last video on her own time away check out the 10:00 minute mark until about 15:00 minutes.

Benefits of getting rid of TV.

The Whole 9’s Unplug the Noise Sharpen the Signal

I’m excited friends.  It’s gonna be a great month.

January 2015

On New Year’s Day I attended a yoga class taught by my dear friend Krissie. Not only was it amazing to see her in her element surrounded by a room full of women cheering her on, but my heart overflowed by the words she shared, the ability my body has to stretch and grow and the small statement Krissie shared during tree pose that has stuck with me.

Just a baby tree right at your ankle. Let your foot rest as a kickstand -being grounded but stretching and working. Don’t second guess it, just let your foot support you–just like a kickstand would.

This yearly intention thing really gets me each year. I feel bombarded with many different worksheets and plans and books and programs. They’re good all in their own right-for their own audience. I knew which one I would pursue this year and oh has it done more than set an intention for the year. Lara Casey’s PowerSheets are helping me clear through some mental clutter, put a plan to the goals I have for this year and a path toward accountability to make it happen. I’m loving the intersection that it has with the Simplified Planner I’m using (and loving), Lara’s Make It Happen book and some other tools and resources that I’ve just recently found and will be digging into in February.  2015-01-31 07.40.39

So as I worked through the prep-work for the PowerSheets, I was able to land on my word for the year.  My intention.  You guessed it. Kickstand is my word for the year. A place of stopping. Slowing down. Doing the necessary work. Oiling the chains. Getting a fresh coat of paint.

Kickstand.  We’ll come back to this…I promise.

From the Prep-work, I found my way into the goal setting exercise with a new zeal and drive. So without further adieu, here are my 2015 Goals (the abbreviated version):

  1. Create more white-space in my life.
  2. Make my health a priority.
  3. Bring happiness, fun, joy, spontaneity and Jesus to be a central focus of my marriage.
  4. Live into my spiritual gift of hospitality by creating memorable experiences in our home around the table.
  5. Determine to create and let the outflow of my head and heart bleed onto paper and this space.
  6. Honor and keep a Sabbath practice.
  7. Be open to persons of peace and seek out what discipleship looks like in this season.
  8. Lean more closely into grace and the realization that progress is always better than perfection.
  9. Curb the craving and desire to connect with others on social media and be more intentional and present.
  10. Live a life of simplicity and abundance, not scarcity.

A few practical notes on this list:

To live into #1, I’m taking a “sabbatical” of sorts in the month of February.  My kickstand month. After the IF: Local event in Georgetown, KY February 6-7th, I’m taking off from every non-essential responsibility.  In other words–I’ll be going to work and spending time as a wife and daughter.

To live into #5, you’ll see more of me in this space.  I’ll be popping in at least monthly and spending a lot more time in a journal.

To live into #9, you will NOT see as much of me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.  For my February sabbatical, I’ll be off-line completely.  I’m also only going to check my personal email a few times a week.

So here’s some fun, serious, not-so-serious and random tidbits into my mind, heart and life….

What I’m loving:

January_PicMonkey Collage

  • Lara Casey’s PowerSheets (They’ll be back in stock in March)
  • Emily Ley’s Simplified Planner (Sold out with new editions releasing in May!)
  • Anthropologie Monogrammed Mugs.  I love you Target, but you’ve got to get with the program for us gal’s whose names start with F.  My sweet beau got this one for me for Christmas and a dear friend got this one for me.
  • Staedtler Pens.  Be still my heart.  Love this pack and at a little more than $1/pen and with Amazon Prime free shipping–so worth it!
  • SheReadsTruth app.  I absolutely LOVE the lock-screens here.  I’m an IF: Equip morning study gal but have loved a few of the SRT studies that I’ve done.
  • IF: Gathering and IF: Local community.  I am so fortunate to be co-leading a gathering and am looking forward to what God is doing.  There is still time to register and show up to what God wants to say to you about who He is and what he has for you.
  • The Parenthood finale.  And this article.  I can’t give you a link to the amount of tissues you’ll need to get through the last 2 episodes.  I have so much more to say here but just can’t.  Anticipate much more about Parenthood in this space.

What I’m saying YES to in February: 

  • Dates with the beau
  • Good food and good sleep
  • Exercising (hello long walks and yoga!)
  • Spontaneity
  • Me & Jesus

What I’m saying NO to in February: 

  • Anything planned on my calendar (between February 8-March 8)
  • Social Media
  • Gilmore Girls on Netflix (my guilty pleasure now that the beau’s on night shift)
  • Perfection
  • Control

What I’m learning:

I want to create space and time for memories in my planer not just appointments. I want to carve out space in my home for people not things. I want to be abundant–arms open wide and ready to say “let it be” to whatever comes my way and not spend my days full of worry and anxiety and doubt.  I want to stop controlling things and realize that God is ultimately in control and I trust Him way more than I trust myself.


I’ve had on my agenda “brainstorm blog plan” or “write blog post” countless times since my last post in March.  It’s a season, I know.  Busy busy.

But when it comes down to it, I want to do it perfectly.  I don’t want to admit it, but I am a perfectionist and I subscribe to the “go big or go home” mentality.  I want to have a plan, execute it, have perfect connected images and links.

But what I need to do is just show up.

If I want to express myself through writing, I need to hang up the towel of the expectations of others.  Why am I so concerned about what people think of my writing?  What my stats were on each post?

In my current discovery with Krissie, I had some major a-ha’s about my ideas wrapped up around exercise.  I want to “go big or go home” with exercise too.  I want people to think that just because I’m not your “average” sized gal, doesn’t mean I can’t do that too.  Yoga?  Used to go to class as the biggest gal in the room to prove a point. Half-Marathon?  Done.  I was more fit than I am now, but it was just as much the point of being a bigger gal out there as it was checking it off that list.

At the end of the day, I’ve realized a few things.

My action or lack thereof comes down to my motives.

I want to work out to feel strong, to be a good example for my family (current and the family to come) and to have confidence that comes from doing hard things.

I want to write to express my creativity and use words and get part of what’s going on in my head into another format that may or may not give me the feedback that my journal can (and to relieve my beau from hearing it exclusively).

I’ve been loosely following Momastary and her writing for a while now and she had a remarkable post today about this encounter with Donald Miller and then a guest post on his blog.  That is where this is coming from.  I’m showing up.  I don’t need more time.  I don’t need to be perfect.

I just need to show up.  Imperfectly.

I’m showing up here.  Showing up by taking walks at lunch.  Carving out time to journal. Sleeping more on days my body is telling me I need the rest.  Show up.  Show up in your life.

I just need to show up.  Imperfectly.  But not just in the tangibles.

Show up in your relationships.  Don’t wait for the perfect scenario.  I showed up in some emails that needed to be sent earlier this week that I’d been procrastinating on for weeks. Within minutes, there was resolution, clarity and hope in some situations that I’d been challenged on for some time.

Just show up.  Be real.


just show up.  imperfectly.  no filter.  no makeup.  just me.  showing up.

just show up. imperfectly. no filter. no makeup. just me. showing up.


Sometimes it’s all about the polish

Disclaimer: I said I’d be posting more often.  I didn’t say what the content would be.  No plans, no agenda.  Just what’s on my heart in the moment.  And I’d say with the direction life is taking me, there will be loads about intentionality, life around the table, slowing down and being present.  All things that lend well to my Lenten practice.  Or painting my nails. Whatevs. 

One of my “new years resolutions” was to paint my nails.  Call it silly as you may, I’ve always been very blessed with strong, healthy, pretty nails and have to do very little to them.  They’ve been naked for years with an occasional coat of clear polish and other than trimming, filling or cutting off when one breaks or snags, that’s been my effort toward this gift as some would say of really nice nails.

So I decided that in 2014 I’d be more intentional with this gift and paint those suckers.  And I’m proud to say that there have only been 2 days so far (as much as I can recollect) that I’ve had naked nails.  Trying out new shades, getting to work and borrowing a co-workers stash, going bold, going nude, it’s been a fun 2 months so far.

5 minutes every few days.  Basecoat.  Color.  Rarely a topcoat.  Sometimes in the car drying by the heater vents as I drive in to work.  But it’s intention. A nice addition.  Another aspect of caring for my outward self that can be reflected on the inward self.

My Lenten Practice-2014

It’s a bit after 9pm on this Ash Wednesday and my Lenten practice is getting a bit of a late start so today will be an authentic, fast run of what I felt tugging on my heart the past few days.

It’s been 2 months or so since my last post and leave it to the weather or whatever, I have been sleeping like a hibernating bear and not nearly as disciplined as I’d like to be. I try daily to live into the “grace over perfection” mantra, but man, it’s been hard!

Thinking through the things that will help me get back into the habits and routine that I know make me the best version of myself and also lead to me having better days, it starts with an early, productive, slower morning.

Which means two things: 1) Getting up earlier. 2) Getting to bed earlier.

What is my vice as of late? Connections. Surface connections that is.  Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, fueling some loneliness I’ve been experiencing lately (we all have that from time-to-time. You aren’t alone.)

My Lenten observance this year will be a practice of laying some things down so that I can more intentionally pick some things up.  I’m laying down social media to a degree so that I can pick up quality time with framily (love that new commercial–such a great word that fits my life these days) as well as intentionality in all of my life–one area being that of reflection, observation and community that comes with the creative expression found through my blog.

Now again, I’m not going to blog every day and  my observance of limiting social media will be a struggle.  My goal is to have the phone and iPad down at 8pm, pick up the laptop to blog or hang out with the beau. I’ve deleted facebook and twitter off my phone for the time being so that I’m not tempted to zone out there instead of be in the moment. I will still post my coffee pics on insta with little blurbs of my day. Again–this is about grace, not perfection.

My three quick hits for today…

1. Check out this article by Ben Hulet (#coffeewithben) about tips for starting your morning.  I know there are a lot of these out there and many targeted to women, but minus the shaving tip, this really spoke to me. And this paragraph as a whole describes the person I am, but my actual self is just having trouble putting into play these days:

I have always relied on my morning routine to sort of set the stage for the rest of my day. So much so, that I’ve developed a sort of religious devotion to the order and sanctity of my AM time. It’s not that I absolutely have to do things in a certain way like some kind of OCD driven tick, it’s just that I’ve found that making the time to keep a regular routine has always produced a certain clarity and focus that when disregarded, tends to leave me in a less than optimal state in which to tackle my day.

2. Loving these phone wallpapers by Emily Ley.  She also has a calendar one if you sign up for her newsletter.  I LOVE the intention one.  On my phone currently.

3. Meeting with my students and hearing about their plans to go to Daytona in 2 weeks for spring break is seriously depressing (okay-not really). But I mean, come on–my car got stuck in ice and mud this morning.  For 30 minutes. When I had an important meeting to get to. Thank God for lovely neighbors who knock on your door to see why your car is half in the drive way and half in the street! (And I made my meeting! Yippee!) I’m ready for you spring!


2014: Anchored


In doing some soul work, I’ve looked back at all that 2013 held and there was a lot of good. A lot of holistic development–personally, professionally, emotionally and spiritually. A lot of change–a new job, my mom moving from being 6 hours away to 30 minutes away and a very stressful school semester for the beau which in turn impacted me as well. A lot of hanging on by a thread to be completely honest. So in that reflection I’ve been doing, I’ve realized that I no longer want to hang on by a thread.

My photo is one from the amazing vacation that we had right before Christmas in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This exact photo was taken from our balcony one morning as a group of scuba divers was getting ready to leave on their morning adventure. The group was mostly the same folks–the older gentleman we’d see eating at the breakfast buffet alone and then on the scuba boat presumably while his wife slept away, laid by the pool or enjoyed the spa. The 40-somethings man whose wife would walk out with him, kiss him goodbye and the go back to her lounge chair on the beach with her book awaiting the boats return where she’s subsequently walk out to shore and welcome him back with a kiss. The bronzed older lady who loved her bright yellow string bikini. Then there was the older woman. The one in full scuba gear who went out every day to dive into the Caribbean Sea, but held tightly to the rope anchored to the boat that would take her out to sea. Never failed, each morning, she’d step lightly holding tightly to her scuba gear with one hand and even tighter to that rope. No matter the beauty and uncertainty the sea held, she held tight to what she knew.  

I want that.

Hebrews 6:19 says “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” I want to be an anchor. I want to be so secure and grounded in the hope of the promise that 2014 holds and that God holds for me that I will not move. I will not be a thread, but yet a million little threads bound together and held securely into the sea as an anchor is. Sometimes that sea is crystal clear, other times it’s dark and unknown. But I will be secure. If you’ve been around me or this space for any time at all, you know that I love trees. I still love trees. I love their deep roots, what they can weather and how they change for each season. Anchored is different. Anchored is a choice. I’m thankful for my roots and know that they have allowed me to stand strong as I have. But this year I’m choosing even more.

I know that 2014 is not going to be easy, but I want to hold tightly onto the things that I know bring me security–that hope that I have in Christ. I love the entirety of Hebrews 6 and what is says for the church and for me.

I want to be anchored in my priorities for this year. Anchored for the changes our family will see with another job change occurring mid-year. Anchored for growth in my job and my passions. Anchored in relationships. Anchored in wellness. Anchored in simplicity. Anchored in mission. Anchored in what I know to be true.

{miscellany monday}: july 15

Linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters for miscellany monday…excited about a new way to keep writing…it is therapeutic and I miss it. 

  • Filofax.  I mean.  Where to begin.  I saw this post from my girl Kristi on instagram about her faux filofax she snagged at a local supermarket.  After some digging, I realized that there is a whole world (literally, filofax is created in the UK and most of the obsession with it is international) of filofax obsessed folks out there.  It’s like I’ve found this new tribe of people who speak my language.  With all the changes happening in life, I needed something to help managee that so I snagged the same faux filofax at the same supermarket as MommaKristi and bam–we are off.  I’m loving it, the way it works as my wallet and organizer and that I get to decorate the pages each week.  I just need something to keep me happy in the little things during this crazy season!

    filofax love

    filofax love

  • Remember those big changes?  Well, they are here–my sweet Mama has moved to Kentucky!  She’s been here a week and things are going pretty well.  If you’re interested, I’m updating her progress here.

    Mama D

    Mama D

  • There is a Dunkin Doughnuts close to where my mom is in Lexington.  They offer $1 any sized iced drinks from 3-6pm.  Needless to say this has been my reality more than I’d like to admit. Iced Coffee. Cream. SugarFree Caramel. Delish.



  • In addition to the filofax, I got this awesome little cash wallet from A Time for Everything to help with the budget.  Absolutely love the pattern I was able to pick out and so far it’s really helping keep our cash management in control (while being stylish!)

    a time for everything!

    a time for everything!

  • We spent time in Virginia with family over the 4th before bringing my mom back to Kentucky.  We also visited some of our favorite spots in Roanoke since it’ll likely be a while before we are back to visit.  Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles, the Roanoke Farmer’s Market and a double visit to our latest Favorite, The River and Rail.  Amazing food. Amazing drinks. Amazing company.


    PS-We also had breakfast with Gangee that morning…