There was a day in the not so distant past that tried to overwhelm us. As a household. Which means, I feel, that the enemy was trying to break down our walls and shake our faith.
The baby wasn't sleeping well during the challenges that presented themselves, so I was teetering on an emotion-driven cliff of exhaustion. The body shop/insurance company from an accident we were in on vacation totaled our car and we needed to buy a new car and have a car payment all over again when we worked so hard to reduce our debt to try to buy/build a house.
Speaking of the house, the city denied our permits and we can no longer build the home on the land we've been planning towards since before our baby was born.
So, like I said, there was a day, in the not so distant past that tried to overwhelm us.
I learned through prayers and tears that we need to trust God's no's, and trust God knows our future and His plans for us better than we do. As hard of a pill as it is to swallow, we weren't meant to build that small family homestead with the big tree, pool and garden. It wasn't meant to be our place as much as we could picture ourselves raising our tribe there.
We need to lean in to God and let Him continue to lead and show us where He sees us and trust that whatever that looks like is better than our best vision.
My love for Christian film began many years ago, when I was asked to play a role in one with a local director. Working in mainstream entertainment for so many years, I felt like entertainment and faith had to live separately for so long.
Then I found Christian music and Christian films that rivaled the cinematography, production and casting of its secular counterparts and I was moved and excited to be able to be uplifted by the word in a new way. It was also a way for me to share my Christian lifestyle and love of God with my friends outside of church. And while living in the Bible and attending church is still first and foremost, watching these inspiring, God-filled stories come to life on the big screen is a great option for entertainment that gives God the glory.
The way that we should live every area of our life.
Enter to win AN AUTOGRAPHED POSTER OF THE FILM or A COPY OF THE BOOK.
Comment on this blog post for your official entry and mark on the Rafflecopter widget below to let me know you have so that it can choose 2 random winners on 3/9.
For a better chance to win, additional entries can be obtained by visiting the "The Shack" post on my Instagram (www.Instagram.com/NoshandNurture) and following the rules to enter.
No purchase necessary. Must be 18 and a resident of the US.
Official Site: www.TheShack.Movie
There are times in your life where you pray hard. Really hard. Because you know He listens. And it's beautiful and safe and reassuring.
Tonight I sit in our baby's finished nursery and its one of those nights where I'm praying with everything that's in me.
Our plan is to successfully achieve a natural birth, if it is in His will, and as our due date rapidly approaches I recognize that it is only with God's strength, peace and presence will I accomplish this task that seems so mountainous. I will admit it, I'm scared. My humanness, with all its flaws, taunts me with thoughts of weakness, inability and defeat. But God is bigger. And as a child of God, I know I can do this through Him and His abilities, not my own.
As I called out to Him tonight, I prayed for guidance on how to prepare for this task. As I keep reading everywhere that I "must be prepared". As it is a task unknown to any new mother, how do I properly prepare for the pain? How do I properly prepare my mind, which has been held prisoner to anxiety so many times in my life, for the task to continue on when it's hard? How do I properly prepare for the unknowns?
And then a sweet answer just washes over me, Jesus.
That's the only answer I have. I've read every book I could get my hands on. Talked to friends and family on successful births. Mr. Charming and I attended birth classes. We've hired a doula. We've packed our hospital bags. We've watched birth videos. I've drank my tea. I've gobbled down my dates. I've done pelvic tilts and chiropractic adjustments. I've gotten prenatal massages and practiced breathing and meditation.
But, Jesus. He's the One who can give peace. Strength. Clarity. Renewal. And I must rely on that and that above all else when I'm feeling my weakest. Because no matter what worldly tasks I busy my hands and mind with, nothing other than Jesus can surpass all understanding with His grace and mercy upon the birth of our miracle.
The beauty of it all is this, if there's a situation, any situation in your life that haunts you, taunts you, scares you or asks you to struggle, call on Him. He will always show up. He may be a silent bystander in the corner if He is waiting out the right time to show Himself in the situation, or He may be a sweeping warm blanket of peace and contentment (as He was during our miscarriage) - but no matter, call on Him and He will be there. In His way, on His time. There's nothing in this world more precious than that.
Not even a brand new babe, no matter how he or she gets here.
If you have a prayer request leave it below! I'd appreciate your prayers surrounding our birth and the welcoming of Baby P. God bless!
Always been a goal-oriented, dream board, planning type of gal it's always fun to see what other dreamers and doers want to accomplish. Now I know life has plans for us and maybe throwing out tons of lofty goals isn't always realistic, but I believe when we listen to God's guidance for our journey, it can be good to set goals and focus on things that bring His kingdom attention, bring our moments here a little joy and help us set our passions on fire.
I saw another blogger do a list for her 31st year and I thought it was a neat idea, as I'm about to become a mama and my life and schedule are going to become foreign to anything I've known before, to make one for this year since I just celebrated my 33rd birthday this week.
I'd love to hear your lists too! If you have one, feel free to share some of what you are looking forward to doing this year and we can cheer each other on! Now on to my list!
16. Travel in an RV
My husband loved his experiences RV traveling and camping growing up and I've never done that, so I think it'd be a fun new family tradition to try.
17. Try Growing Something Organic
As someone who spends much of her paycheck on organic food, I'd love to learn to grow a small garden that we can enjoy year round. So far we only grow our own green onion, which is a start, and is GREAT in omelettes.
18. Workout A LOT More Often Than I Do
Yoga & walking are two things I want to become daily, normal habits for me. Working full time and now becoming a mom, I know I have to REALLY prioritize this, not only for me, but for my family. As staying in shape is vital to our health.
19. Conquer A Fear.
It's all about growth.
20. See The New Movie 'Secret Life of Pets'
Because this is so how I picture our dogs behaving when we are away. I swear they are little humans in dog form sometimes.
21. Watch The New Gilmore Girls Mini Series
Could I BE anymore excited for this? I don't think so. Who's with me? Cuz we can totally throw a viewing party. haha
22. Go Camping With The Hubs and Little
Mr. Charming is at peace and is blissed out when we camp. It's how he connects with God, which I think is so beautiful. And I know this pregnancy has been hard on both of our wanderlusting desires. So once the baby is old enough to be left with family or to camp with us in his or her pack and play, it's to the forest we go!
23. Take The Dogs On An Adventure
I think spending quality time with your fur babies and allowing them unique life experiences is important to their quality of life just like it is with ours. We took our lab to a cabin for the weekend to play in the snow and I think it was one of the most awesome moments of his life. I'd love to take him back in warmer weather and I'd love to take Charlie to the beach.
24. Get Back To My Pre-Baby Weight
I have confidence that a Paleo diet, breastfeeding and light exercise will accomplish this, and I'm not putting any specific time limit on myself. But it is a goal for the year.
25. Spend More Time On The Coast
The ocean is such a calming place for me. I want to see California more this year after the baby arrives.
26. Get Family Passports
I can't believe it's been ten years since I got mine and its actually expiring this year. I want to get Mr. Charming and Baby P theirs as well so we can travel internationally as a family.
27. Improve My Beauty Routine
I was blessed with pretty even skin that doesn't need me to fuss with it much. But as I get older I do see changes and such and I want to have a weekly regiment I do to keep up with it and take care of it to keep it healthy.
28. Clean Out My Emails.
Again. And. Never. Ending. But this always makes me feel lighter.
29. Get A New External Hard Drive
For all those baby photos, of course.
30. Be More Intentional With Random Acts Of Kindness.
Paying for someones meal, groceries, etc. I want to be more conscious of those who may need a pick-me-up in their day.
31. Continue To Pray For and Uplift My Husband Daily
Being intentional in doing so is the best thing I can do for our household.
32. Be The Maid Of Honor In My Sisters Wedding
She is still planning her dates, but if this happens before next June, then I can cross this off! It's been a dream of mine my whole life, as she was mine.
33. Attend Three Conferences
Always learning and growing. I have one scheduled for November, but I'd love to choose two others in the new year.
I've never written to you before. All the things I've wanted to say.
Maybe it's because, if I did, I'd be saying you were real. And I guess, in a way you are a part of my reality. But in so many more ways you're a lie. A lie I sometimes can't help but tell myself.
So many times have I prayed, cried, begged, pleaded for you to simply taken away from me. But I've grown and I now see where I went wrong. You weren't supposed to be neatly removed from how I'm wired.
As a woman, as a Christian woman, I've become wiser through His word and I know now, you were meant to be part of this journey. As ugly as you are. Because it's in those dark places, those messy, inconvenient places where our lessons, stories and purpose is birthed. And although I'm learning the role you play in my life, tonight, I just have a few things to say.
Even though I've learned that you are not me, you are simply part of my journey, I get angry. I'm angry when you steal precious moments. I'm angry when there is laughter in spaces where immovable walls feel like they're closing in on me. I'm angry when there's meant to be laughter in moments where I feel I can't catch my breath.
And it's you, this lie, this tool of the enemy that is stealing those moments. Moments I can't get back. What my journey as a Christian has taught me, the most beautiful thing of all, is that I have a powerful God. A God who heals. Who grants peace beyond our understanding. Who will stand firm when we speak the name of Jesus. And I've seen healing. I can say that now. It took me many years to turn to Him, instead of turning inward. Instead of retreating under the covers. To the backseat. To a glass of wine. To a dark quiet corner. Now I look upward. As hard as it is sometimes to unclench. To open my arms. To dry my eyes. I look upward, I give my heart, my mind, my breath to the One who can grant me strength. Perseverance. Healing. Love. The most beautiful things. For these most beautiful things can erase the darkest things.
This may take you by surprise, because He truly does move mountains we can't fathom budging. It happened to me anyways. Some moments where I expect to feel scared, I now feel strong. Moments where I expect to feel pressure, I feel happiness. A lightness, a joy in moments that are meant to be celebrated, not tolerated.
So I say to you today, anxiety, I know you want to make me weary. Tired. You want me to second guess every single event. Every single step forward. I know you've won many times before. You had a power over me that made me miss out on so much. And I will not stand here today and say that I am strong enough to move past it. To be cured by my own will or any earthly remedy. Because I'm not. None of us are. But He is. He is our rescuer. Our savior. Our great, protective Father. Who loves us, who truly, deeply, unconditionally cares for us. And that, that love, that strength, that salvation...
Anxiety has no chance against that beautiful truth.
May we all remember this truth, in every situation. When our knees wobble or when our palms sweat. When our heart races or when our breath catches. May we remember that we aren't strong enough to conquer all, but we can rest in the loving arms of our Father who is.
For all you brothers and sisters who struggle with anxiety. I understand and I'm praying love and blessings over your situation.
I adore Saturdays. If you could snuggle a day of the week & make it good food & buy it pretty things, it would be Saturday that I would richly spoil. For me & Mr. Charming, Saturday is a day to celebrate time off together, to play with our fur babies, to relax, enjoy our home, get out and have date days. We do our meal prepping, church, bible study and grocery shopping on Sundays, so Saturday is really our day to rejuvenate and relax.
Today has been jam-packed and fun. I awoke to Mr. Charming serving up gluten-free blueberry waffles and organic eggs and then we headed to the new gym that opened and got signed up. We have a home gym, but I know he was missing some of the machines, and I honestly do so much better in a group class environment then trying to get in five workouts a week on my own. Once that was done, we headed to a prepper festival (where I won a "The Club" for my car, haha, and then we went shopping at Mr. Charming's favorite camp store. After a busy morning of running around I wanted to take a break in our day and relax for a bit. Enter my new hobby.
I know the whole world is talking about Adult Coloring, and it's for a great reason. I mean, guys, we get to COLOR and call it "me time". As an adult, with responsibilities, life, bills and all that fun stuff, being able to take time away from all of that and color makes the five year old inside me SUPER happy. That and gluten-free macarons. I mean. How CUTE are they? Such a fun treat.
Art Therapy is a publication that inspires creativity, relaxation and positivity. All wins in my book on how we need to view life. Over a half-century ago, a doctor by the name of Carl Jung started prescribing Art Therapy to his patients to promote health and found that coloring ranks as high as meditation when it comes to relaxing our minds and bodies.
Subscribing to Art Therapy's magazine service also allows me to receive new pages every week so I always have something fresh and new to work on in my down time. For more information visit The Art Therapy Collection - for just $4.95 you can receive the first two issues, as it is now available in the U.S. as of October 2015. I prefer this over the big books, due to their affordability & portability when I travel.
Have you tried Adult Coloring for relaxation? I would love to see your works! Follow me on Instagram || @noshandnurture || & tag me in your coloring pages!
Hope you're all having a blessed and relaxing Saturday - we are off the see the New Peanuts Movie this afternoon! Hoping its cute...
Often when our schedules are SO crazy busy (even when it's filled with things that are crazy good) we don't take time to sit, reflect and be thankful for everything going on around us. So I thought it was time to sit still for a moment and catch up with a Tickle Me Tuesday. For those of you new to the blog, welcome!. Tickle Me Tuesday is my way of keeping a gratitude journal of the things I'm thankful for in my week. I invite everyone to join along on Twitter or Instagram and tag #TickleMeTuesday on Tuesdays with your five favorite things at the moment.
1 // Mr. Charming and I are both starting new jobs this week. Which is super exciting! He continues to move up in the dental world (so proud of my Dr. to be!) and I am working with a board of tourism as well as landing a new position at a new magazine. I continue to grow my blog/brand, but missed working in fashion. So praying & seeing where God takes it all.
2 // It's FALL!!!! There really isn't any further need to elaborate. But. Good weather, fall baking, travel, family. Love love love.
3 // Gilmore Girls is releasing 4 NEW mini-movies. Hoping to see the Luke & Lorelai story play out better and get the ending we always wanted for the show. It's even cooler now that I got to spend a day in Stars Hollow this Spring.
4 // These pancakes.
5 // Reflecting on all the amazing travel we've been doing and staying at this hotel was just amazing.
Would love to hear your favorite moments from the week! Share below or tag #TickleMeTuesday on social media!
As God was the one who led me to all of this, my journey, my health, this blog, I shouldn't be surprised when he whispers topics and post ideas to my heart. The gritty ones. The ones that swim in my soul, that are hard to write, and make me type through blurry eyes as tears threaten to stream down my cheek.
I've seen amazing doors open for this brand & blog - blessings that I know come from my Father in Heaven. My true provider and guide and I want to honor Him and stay true to the gifts He's given me by giving all the glory to Him through any success that may come our way.
There is a song I've fallen in love with, O.K. there are many songs I'm in love with, it's in my DNA, but there is one in particular as of late called "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave. Every time this song plays I hear that whisper deep inside, nudging me to keep telling mine. As my audience grew, I got scared. Scared to be too vulnerable. Share too much. But Jesus urges us to lay it out there. So, as uncomfortable as it may be, we must own our stories.
If I told you my story, you would hear hope, that wouldn't let go
2011. Feels so far away yet feels like just yesterday. I had dabbled with LiveJournal journals for many years, pouring all of me out onto the screen. And maybe 10 people read it. But that's not what mattered. It was my therapy, an outpouring of emotional baggage that bound me up and the release felt liberating. When I started feeling sick and depressed and in pain in 2011, I started writing again, to deal with it. I lost many friends in that space of time in my life. I couldn't tell them what was going on. I was ashamed. I was terrified of being terrified in my own body. Writing is where I felt safe. What began as a blog titled "Me and Mr. Charming" was a journal of me trying to deal with the fear, the frustration and the uncertainty of my many new diagnoses. A mix of incorrect, "incurable" and new.
After taking myself off gluten and dairy after reading many books on things I was dealing with I started to see healing and as I began to write and spend more time in the kitchen this little space began to morph into a food blog. At the time still unaware of what a "blog" even was. I was a writer, and this was my space. Sharing recipes and support for those who were as scared as I was in a vast internet world. That's what felt natural.
This song hits home because where I really began to find healing, soul-deep, true healing was in hope. God's great hope. As anxiety took hold of me so many nights I fell to my knees and I just prayed. I knew I couldn't do anything for me anymore, alone, without my Lord and Savior. I had been baptized shortly after feeling this way and I knew He was my only chance. He was what could save me, heal me and give me a future and purpose from all I was going through.
If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up
So many times I prayed to be "normal". I prayed for God to take away my anxiety. My fears. My immune issues that made me catch EVERYTHING I was around. The pain in my pelvis & bladder. The hopelessness that I wouldn't be able to be the wife I wanted to be. The future mom I longed to be. That I still long to be.
I felt He was quiet for so long, until He wasn't. He held me in His arms. He walked with me when I'd go on slow, relaxing walks to clear my mind. He was with me in the fitness room as I obediently worked through my pelvic exercises. He was with me when I was scared to eat my meals and lost 15 pounds I didn't really have to lose. He was with me when I sobbed long, hard sobs in church as I felt Him begin to cleanse me. Body, mind, soul. He was there. Loving me. Loving on me when I felt like I was losing my worthiness to those in my life. His love NEVER gives up. And had I not clung to Him, I would be so lost. His love allowed me not to give up. To pray, to find strength in what was going on. To never stop looking for answers. To never stop listening to His still small voice. And to be obedient to the ways in which He could heal me.
If I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn't mine
As the blog started to grow, old passions fell away. And my passion and love for health through what God has given us began to grow with a rapid fire I hadn't felt in years. Maybe ever. Going back to school and pouring my heart into this was so clear and doors have opened that can only be explained by a loving God blessing a child. I want to live authentically in this space. I want this blog/brand to stand for what this journey has truly meant for me. For me, for my life, for my marriage. I want to love on those who are scared. Scared of food, scared of disease, scared of pain and just hug them, speak life and Jesus into them and let them know they have a friend, a sister in Christ.
I want His message to speak volumes from here. If it doesn't then I haven't done my job as a servant to the One who has given me an abundant life and a beautiful purpose. Is it always easy? No. Is it a painless journey? Nothing worth it ever is. But through the storms is it joyful, and fulfilling, beautiful and wonderful? Absolutely. Because I know from whom it comes. And even more beautiful? This gift is available to ANYONE who asks to receive it. It's that simple. No matter what you're carrying. No matter what you've done, there is cleansing in His name. You only need to speak it.
This is my story. Praising Him for every moment. Every breath. Every opportunity. Every ounce of love, grace and mercy.
If you are struggling with food restrictions, with anxiety or with illnesses that are still being researched, know that God is holding you. Take a deep breath and fall into His arms. And though I don't hold a candle to our Father, I'm always here to be a friend, a listener, a sister in Christ to make the road a little less lonely.
It's important to do things that we love.
However, we must hold fast to the truth that in doing these things we may be pushing out the Great, the Best, the things that are meant for God. Everything we do, including our "good things" - such as enjoying our blessings - should still represent an out pour of love and appreciation for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I've been waking up to an app called First 5 recently. An app that allows you to set your alarm five minutes earlier each day to reflect on a bible verse or lesson from scripture and the quote below really grabbed me this morning. Recently Mr. Charming and I have made a more mental and spiritual effort to make more time in our evenings for things that connect us more to Jesus and less to things of this world.
We so often are guilty of entertaining ourselves with worldly distractions. Weekdays have looked like ys being tired from a long day of school and work, so we play on our phones or curl up with a movie and zone out after dinner.
While this doesn't seem "harmful" or "wrong", after a while you will start to feel the disconnect. From each other, from God. A hunger will creep in and an emptiness that only His word and presence can fill and everything but Him will lose it's luster. I don't know about you, but when I entertain myself with these "empty" things I feel anxious and hungry for something different, something more. It's important to stay focused on keeping your not only your relationship with God strong, but keeping true connections with your marriage and friends strong outside of technology and trivial entertainment.
I've listed a few ways we've managed to infuse more worship and more God into our evenings together. And I'd love to hear yours.
For those of you visiting for the first time Tickle Me Tuesday is a series I started years ago to reflect on the good that happened in the week. It's my Gratitude Journal if you will to keep life in perspective. :) I always invite readers to follow along too. I'm even of making this a link-up for other bloggers to join.
My List For This Week:
1 // I landed a position as a food reviewer for a major food app (specializing in curated collections such as gluten free, vegan, dairy free, etc.) - excited to start and make the official announcement!
2 // It's a rainy day today and I look forward to spending it working on my travel writing freelance project and my blog with a hot mug of peppermint and honey tea.
3 // My heart is happy for being able to catch up with so many of my girls this month. More on that below!
4 // Working a lot with Everlast and Evian this month <3 August brought to you by the letter E... Apparently ;) Click on their names to see what I'm doing with them.
5 // Mr. Charming was feeling under the weather this week, which boo for feeling bad, but yay that we got to spend an extra day together this week catching up on Tiny House Nation, Pretty Little Liars and Astronaut Wives Club! :)
Also, an update on my Social Challenge. For those of you following along know that in July I set a goal to disconnect more from social media and dive in to true social connection - the full post and my goals here - and I'm happy to report that I've stuck with it and it's been super rewarding.
In the last month I've had a coffee date with my Bible study leader and friend to catch up, threw a dinner party for my sister and her fiance, hosted a family birthday party for my husbands sister, had a phone date with my best friend, caught up with my mom and dad over the phone, spent a relaxing afternoon with a girlfriend, sent encouraging texts throughout the week to girls I haven't seen in a while, took a Holy Yoga class and met new people and reached out to fellow bloggers and Christian girls I've met online.
Coming up I've planned a phone date with my friend and Godson's mom, two more coffee dates this month and started a monthly poker night. The only thing I've yet to do is writing letters, but since I made more coffee and phone dates than planned, I'm not feeling bad about it.
I can honestly say I feel more balanced overall and plan to make these connections a more regular occurrence. God didn't put us all here to chat online and forget each other when we are busy. He put us here to love each other, love on each other and hold each other up when life gets messy. How can you know when someone needs you to lean on if you don't make it known that you are truly there for them?
Want to join along with Tickle Me Tuesday? Write it in your journal and if you're a blogger, write a post or share your list in the comments. Just five things that made you smile this week. If you post your list make sure to tag #TickleMeTuesday on social media.
Want to join along the social challenge? Pick up the phone, schedule a get together or coffee date and when you're chatting with or hanging with your friend(s) snap a photo, upload to Instagram and tag #NNSocialChallenge.
Wishing you all a beautiful week!