Simple Things

November 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

Sometimes I forget.
Actually, most times I forget.
I forget how Jesus is about the simple things.
feeding someone who is hungry
giving clothes to someone who needs them
welcoming someone into my home {and heart} even if they’ve wronged me
forgiving… and then forgiving again
praying for enemies
taking care of widows and orphans.
giving
letting go
surrendering
gaining the abundance of the unseen when I forsake the hollow seen

And over and over again, He reminds me of His upside-down Kingdom.
how grace washes over striving,
how His way is simple
and following Him is freedom
and how His truth, not the world’s, will set us free,
over and over again
if we just cling to it
and keep believing
and hold onto faith.

His is the kingdom.
We are His kingdom.
let His glory shine
on earth as it is in heaven.

In us as is it in Heaven.

Two Things to Share With You Tonight

November 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Y’all, I just logged in to write a new post and I have six old posts still in draft form… six!  Now, there’s a picture of life with a very active, talkative, joyful, one year old girl! And to be honest, I’m not the kind who can sit down in 10 minutes and bust out a blog like it ain’t nothin. I like to sit, think, write and rewrite sentences, etc. blah blah blah.

While my time is limited even now, I thought I’d share 2 things with you that made me cry happy, yet soul-unraveling tears in the past two days. Both have to do with the true reason behind Christmas. (And if you don’t cry, don’t feel bad. They’re really not sad. I’m just, uh, me.)

1. THIS blog post by Ann Voskamp titled Upside Down Christmas.
Ann has this way with words. Like, this amazing way with words. She truly is a poet and a storyteller who knows how to wrap words around your heart until it squeezes out the mundane and fills up with deep red love. She talks about Christmas and how she finds Jesus in the fray. The simple truth of it all is exactly what my heart needed to drink… I hope you enjoy it too.

2. This video by The Advent Conspiracy. Once again, they bring us back to the real meaning of Christmas. Of giving. Of simplicity. Of Jesus and His selfless, sacrificial LOVE. I’m tearing up just writing this…

I hope you enjoy both of these. Even more, I hope your heart soaks in the message-Truth of each one.

And let me please say to you,
Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas. 

A Start Up Company You’ll Adore: UMBA

October 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

What launched two years ago as Umba Box, a subscription box for handmade goods, is Imageundergoing some significant changes. After taking a hard look at what Umba represents, they realized that ultimately, Umba isabout empowerment and inspiration. While their mission of uniting through creative discoveries that delight and inspire remains constant, they’re starting to take this ideal to the next level.

In just under two years, Umba has partnered with hundreds of amazingly talented artists who spent years refining their craft, sometimes spending hours making a single product, purely out of a love of what they do. Many artists are often (rightfully) frustrated that their products aren’t getting the attention they deserve as they face fierce price competition. Online markets have become oversaturated with artists. The Umba community is the voice for these artists, designers, producers, and illustrators, connecting them with a powerful marketing force who understands and appreciates the time-honored skills they practice.Image

This is a two sided equation of empowerment.
In addition to empowering artists by connecting them with passionate consumerswho value their work, Umba empowers a new class of entrepreneurs who recognize that they want more out of life than a 9-to-5 job. They are seeking to find purpose and change lives while doing something they’re passionate about. 

Umba is a one-of-a-kind social selling platform that selects savvy entrepreneurs to be Umbassadors, empowering them to launch their own businesses as independent consultants. Umbassadors earn 20% of sales made from hosting online and in-home Trunk Shows, receive direct mentorship from industry experts, and join an active community of new friends, all the while helping to improve the lives of artists across the world. Consumers are able to work with an Umbassador to get a personal touch, and they can also shop directly at umba.com.

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By connecting artists and Umbassadors, children in Ethiopia are now able to attend school because their parents who craft our Banded Cotton Towels are now earning a steady income. After launching their businesses, Umbassadors are able to pay offdebt, take much needed vacations to reconnect with their families, and donate to causes that they are most passionate about. Lives are truly changing when Umbassadors and artists come together.

Connections and relationships are what drive Umba. The Fall Collection celebrates relationships. Umba has hand-selected products that are reminiscent of cozy fall weekends full of steaming mugs of coffee sipped while wrapped up in blankets, surrounded by all of the people you love most. While shooting the lookbook for the new line, Umba team members gathered around a bonfire in the Catskills, many bundled up in Vine Arm Warmers and Wooly House Shoes.

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As families are at the heart of relationships, Umba is now offering men’s and kid’s products. After using Beard Oil, your manly-man will smell delightfully rustic and have a soft beard to boot. Your little ones will be bloggers-in-the-making when practicingtheir photography skills with a Pixie Wooden Camera.

Umba is your invitation to discover and empower a vibrant community of artists. Browse their entire Fall Lookbook here!

Wednesday Motivation

September 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m a sucker for motivational ____________ (fill in the blank). 
I stumbled across this video posted on Facebook by a friend of mine this morning. Being no stranger to the thrill and sometimes dread of running, I found this video speaking somewhere to the depth of my own soul. If you would have asked me what worship is a few years ago, I would have answered, “For me, it’s running.” The ability to push our bodies further than we thought possible, using them to their fullest potential and beyond… that’s worship to me. It’s like saying, “Hey God. You gave me this amazing body; legs, arms, lungs, etc.; and I’m going to use it. Really use it. I’m going to run it, throw it, stretch it, nourish it, love it, push it and use it.”  
With all that said, the last time I used it was on very mild run 2 weeks ago. Since, I’ve been feeding it sugar, caffeine and other devilish poisons. Watching this video was a wake up call to me. A reminder of who I am. I hope it calls to who you are too. It doesn’t always have to be about athletics, but about whatever you’re about. A call to push through, to seize the dull moments and make them bend towards the greater goal. 

You can do it.
And we can do this, together. 

When dreaming dreams isn’t enough…

September 24, 2013 § 1 Comment

I have a particular friend I’ll call Hilary for the sake of anonyminity. Hil is one of my nearest and dearest. We used to spend hours at coffee shops pouring our hearts out about boy drama, spiritual discoveries and heart-held dreams. I could talk to her about anything and I’d like to think that she could do the same with me. 

When it came to dream-discussing, we were born of the same cloth. We both had ideas for documentary style storytelling, travel and a love for people of all nationalities. We’d discuss different approaches to making our dreams happen – different platforms to bring them to life. I’d leave these times with her elated. Pictures of my dreams coming true would dance in my head – almost as if I had actually accomplished them. 

But that’s the thing – I hadn’t accomplished them. I had merely talked about them.

Now, Hil and I are both in our 30s. Eep! I have since traveled the world and done some documentation. {Okay, the truth? Hardly any documentation at all and it barely has nothing to do with my “dream”.} Hil has worked on some projects, but nothing close to the dreams she shared with me on those coffee shop days. 
{Just to be honest, writing those sentences as they are was extremely hard. I wanted to insert a bunch of buts and tell you how different tragedies and situations in our lives have delayed our dreams, etc. BUT, I won’t. Because buts are just excuses, often poor me statements, and further justifications for a lack of action.}

So, I’m left with the conviction that now is the time. I’m running full speed ahead into my 30s and running low on excuses. Before, dreams were always set in a futuristic setting called “someday”. Well, that “someday” is now. What else needs to happen for these dreams to take place? My decision. My movement. My step forward. 

Dreaming isn’t enough for me and I hope it isn’t enough for you either. 
Because the world needs your dream to come true. Somebody out there needs it to happen. 

Dreaming isn’t enough unless we do something about it. 

Tuesday Morning

September 17, 2013 § 2 Comments

Babies have this amazing redemptive quality about them.

They can be up 3+ times a night at 10 months old, screaming their heads off because they have FOUR TOP TEETH COMING IN AT ONCE…
They can wiggle and squirm and demand you carry them EVERYWHERE because they need some extra TLC…
And you can be about to pull your hair out, scream profanities and be on the verge of an emotional breakdown…

And then they fall asleep.

And all the aforementioned chaos is completely wiped away in the sweet disposition of an innocent baby sleeping. The little rise and fall of their chest, the sudden “spirit fingers”, the deep inhales and noisy exhales. Yep. All is forgiven and forgotten and once again I am a doting mushy mom who can’t stop staring in wonder at this beautiful baby girl I call mine.

You know what this means for the future, right?
Chris is in major trouble.

In other news, we moved again.  Back to Colorado Springs and under the guarding eye of Pike’s Peak.
It feels so good to be back, which surprised me. I knew I’d be super happy (and relieved) to be close to our good friends again, but I didn’t expect the actual city itself to feel so good. Chris and I built a lot of GOOD memories when we lived here last. Those memories served as a huge “welcome home” mat and it feels good to rest here once again. 

And how great is it that it’s Fall? I’m a self-proclaimed summer girl, but man… the foggy mornings we’ve had recently, the chilly and VERY RAINY days, the sun at a new slant… I LOVE FALL. I’m already curling up into domestic-Jenny and have a list full of ingredients for soon to come baking and simmering ventures. Pinterest, we reunite once again!
Fall decorations are out of the box with Halloween ones soon to follow. Jackets and scarves and boots are at the fore-front of my closet, ready to be plucked for coffee dates with Chris and girlfriends. And, as if I need to mention, there’s a half-full PSL on the table next to me, warming me from the inside out.

It’s a ripe time for transition and I’m thankful it’s been so smooth. I’m also holding onto the promises the Lord gave me about moving here again. Healing. Restoration. And another re- word I can’t think of. He brought me here back in 2008 and healed parts of me then. I have no doubt He’s up it again.

In other news, we have a fire pit in our backyard. If you want to come over, just holler. We’ll build a fire (a roaring bonfire if Chris has his gas can handy) and we’ll roast stuff or just warm up by it while sharing stories and life. Maybe some cocoa or hot toddy’s to boot.

Jenny

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In the open space : In my space

June 26, 2013 § 1 Comment

God surprised me just now.

I went to Him and asked to enter His space again
and He asked if He could enter mine.

Not like a “I want to enter your space so I can fix it, fix you and change things” even though I’m sure those will happen regardless.
But a “I want to enter your space so I can be with YOU just as you are because I like you”.
I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s what I perceived His meaning to be.

And I understood that in inviting Him in, I’m inviting ALL of WHO HE IS.
Mystery. Good. Unknown, yet known. Untamable. Different. Wild.
He doesn’t put constraints on me when I come into His presence,
so I won’t do that to Him.
If He enters into my space, then He enters fully as He is.
And He can be all that He is and do as He wants.
And that’s okay with me.
A little scary, but exciting-scary. Adventurous-scary.
Unknown-scary.

But I noticed that He asked.
And I had to give Him permission to do so.
He won’t force.
He won’t bully.
He won’t manipulate.

I could say no and he’d oblige.

But, I said yes.
YES!

And to all of WHO HE IS.
YES.

You can partner with me, Lord.
Let’s do this together. You being You. Me being Me. Us being Us.

Yes.