A LESSON ON PERSPECTIVE & BODY IMAGE

It’s been a little over two week since we put our sweet 19 year old beagle down and man, nothing can really prepare you for saying goodbye to your four-legged friend. We got Abby when I was in 5th grade and it was love from the start. She had our entire family wrapped around her little paws. Her ears were bigger than her face, her eyes were the prettiest shade of green, and she was the of the queen of the castle & our hearts.

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Sure sure, she chewed up everyyyyyything, howled at nothing like beagles do, and had her fair share of accidents in the house but she was our girl and we loved her more than we ever knew was possible. And she loved us no matter how many times we tripped over her or scolded her for getting in the trash again.

She was & will always be our very best girl.

She licked my salty tears after every heartbreak throughout middle school and high school. She slept by my feet any chance she could get. She always licked our yogurt cups clean. And she still lit up every time I walked through the front door, even when she could barely see in her old age.

She knew who her people were and she loved us unconditionally throughout her 19 years.

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As our sweet pup got older, she started growing lots of benign tumors on her body and got warts all over her little face & ears. To the common eye, she was pretty pitiful looking and honestly sometimes her appearance could make you wince every now & then.

But she was our girl and her “flaws” never phased us. If anything, it made us love her all the more. They never stopped her from being her playful, fun-loving self. She knew she was loved by the people that mattered the most to her and that’s all she needed in her life to be happy. That & her cozy bed and treats, of course. ;)

I started thinking about this and thought to myself, “what if I lived like that too?”

It’s so easy for us to get down on ourselves when don’t look exactly how we wish we did. When the scale says a number we’ve never seen before or our favorite dress from last summer doesn’t zip anymore. It’s easy for those things to set us back and keep us from enjoying the life that’s right in front of us.

But what if our joy & confidence was truly built on knowing that we are loved for exactly who we are, not what we look like. What if the contentment of our hearts was fueled by knowing that the people that matter most in our lives don’t care about our love handles or the break outs on our face.

The way we loved our Abby girl gave me such a glimpse into the heart of Jesus and the way he sees and loves me. He doesn’t see my lumps & warts. He sees my spirit and he loves it. He knows who I am and has loved me from the very beginning. We will always remember our Abby as the precious puppy we got for $75 at a random farm who put a love in our hearts we didn’t even know we were missing and that’s how God loves us too. He forever sees us as his precious children who he knit together in our mother’s womb and was captivated by us from the start simply because we are His. Plain & simple. We don’t have to perform or strive or earn His love. He loves us simply because we’re His just like we love our puppy girl simply because she was ours. No questions or hesitations. Unconditional.

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So if you’re anything like me and are kicking yourself that you aren’t in your prime “summer bod” as you find yourself having to wear swimsuits more & more with summer being upon us, let’s try and let that insecurity go.

Because, friends, at the end of the day all that matters is knowing you are deeply loved just for who you are. Losing 5 inches in your waistline isn’t going to change the minds & hearts of the people that already love you. There are no pretenses when it comes to that kind of love. Their love is already sealed for you simply because you’re theirs.

Flaws & all, you are theirs and that’s more than enough for them.

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“When a beagle loves you it is a forever kind of love.” Yep, that is so damn true. But so is the love of God, all the more so actually. I love so much how God gives us four-legged besties to give us a peek into His heart for us.

Unconditional love. It’s one of the greatest gifts and joys we’ll ever know.

Thank you, Lord, for giving us 19 years of knowing that kind of love through our very best girl.

We are forever & deeply grateful.

SEASONS CHANGE BUT FRIENDSHIPS DON'T HAVE TO

My best friends welcomed their first child into the world on November 9th and I didn’t know it was possible to love a human that wasn’t my own as much as I love their perfect little angel baby. WOW. Aunt life is my BEST LIFE!

However, it got me thinking that not everyone, especially my sisters walking through a season of singleness like I am, may feel the same way. Being the single friend who has friends getting married left & right isn’t always the easiest. But then to go into the season of said friends then welcoming BABIES into the picture is a whole new ballgame.

It feels really strange sometimes when your friends’ seasons of life drastically change and yours still looks like it did a year ago or maybe even longer. It doesn’t make either of our seasons more or less meaningful though. I’ve shared some thoughts on this over on my Instagram a couple times throughout the year as more & more of my friends shared birth announcements so I thought I’d throw all those thoughts together & keep them here as a reminder to myself and perhaps an encouragement to you too if you needed to hear true things in your neck of the woods today. Our seasons change, but our friendships don’t have to. You are exactly where the Lord wants you to be and so are your friends. Life make look different but God’s sovereignty is no less present in either of your lives, sweet friend. Praying you believe that alongside me because it so incredibly true.


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A POST FROM MAY 13, 2018 (Mother’s Day): How do we celebrate joyfully in the midst of our own longing? How do we choose joy instead of sadness every time a new engagement is announced or an ultrasound is shown that doesn’t belong to us? Because hope is still true for us even if our stories look different. God’s faithfulness to us doesn’t diminish just because we don’t have what we long for right in this moment.

I was talking with a friend about us having to redefine what faithfulness looks like in this season of waiting. It’s much easier to lean into self-pity and the “why not me?” perspective than it is to tell ourselves truth like “God still loves me even though I’m single” or “God hasn’t left me even though no one calls me momma.”

This Mother’s Day, I pray with all of my being that you will join me in celebrating other’s stories with joy. I’m not saying it will take away the sting of the “not yet” season we’re in but it will allow us to take part in celebrating the bigger story the Lord is writing. You choosing to celebrate is declaring that God is faithful still. And friends, that promise is what spurs on our joy. Because joy isn’t based on circumstances but instead joy is deeply seeded contentment in our hearts. Contentment comes when we know what is true & choose to be grateful for it. So friend, here’s what is true: you are seen. You are loved. God is faithful. Now let’s joyfully celebrate the stories our good Father is writing because they matter, just like yours does too.


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A POST FROM NOVEMBER 4, 2018 (after a friend’s baby shower): I’ve had several people ask me lately, “how are you doing with all of your friends having babies?” I totally get where they’re coming from and their hearts are so pure in asking me that. They’re asking out of the assumption that my friends being in different life stages than me is hard at times. Which is fair and some days, let’s be real, it is. But the truth is, my heart has never been so full. I LOVE watching my friends be mommas. I get to witness them enter into a whole new realm of God’s glorious design for their lives and that is a gift. I am such a believer that we always have something to learn from the people around us no matter what life stage we’re in. I love having my friends enter into motherhood before me and I love getting to continually live life alongside them just as we did before, just with an added tiny bestie in the mix now.

Sure babies make schedules look a little different but it doesn’t change our friendships. It doesn’t change how we love one another right where God has us. Or at least it shouldn’t. We should always be showing up for our people & loving them right in the midst of their seasons. “Showing up” may look different than it once did but it doesn’t mean it stops. So to those asking, “how are you doing with all your friends having babies” I say to you — my heart is just growing all the more to love my people & their tiny humans. I won’t let Satan tell me lies that my season of singleness is a mistake or I am “so far behind.” I am right where God has me & so are my friends with their growing families. Do I still desire to be in their shoes one day? ABSOLUTELY. But am I going to be discontent because I’m not there yet? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

There is purpose in our seasons, friends. Don’t be so distracted by others’ that you miss being present in your own.


So again, seasons change but friendships don’t have to. I am here to tell you, watching your people become parents is one of the most glorious things you’ll ever witness this side of heaven. I mean it. Watching some of my very dearest friends become mommas makes me weepy every time I think about it. And then the way they have just let me enter into this new role with them is the absolute sweetest. What a gift to do life, in every season, within community. Praying you know what this is like and delight in it as much as I am right now because man y’all, this is the richness of life. I promise you that.

Now feel free to enjoy feasting your eyes on the most perfect little angel baby you ever did see! Eleanor Travis Rouse stole my heart in every way on November 9th and seeing her parents become parents is one of the greatest joys of my life.

10 Things I Learned From 10 Days Away

It’s been a month since I went away to Florida for ten days by myself. In some ways it feels like just yesterday that I was watching the sunset over the gulf and other days it feels like months ago. Nonetheless, it was a trip I will cherish and remember forever.

I joked with my best friend that it felt like honeymoon of sorts but without a “signinficant other.” However, that wasn’t true. I wasn’t alone on that trip at all. In fact, I have never felt so connected to the Lord in my life. So when we were on the phone one night I laughed and said, “it’s like I’m on a honeymoon with Jesus.” We both laughed but then also agreed that that thought was so sweet and timely.

I took the vacation to get away and spend some uninterrupted time writing. For those that don’t know, I’m in the process of writing my first book about the story of God’s redemption of my personal journey of broken intimacy. It felt so fitting that this “honeymoon with Jesus” was the place and time to write the most vulnerable, broken, and beautiful stories of my life.

However,  anyone that’s close to me knows that I am such a people-person and quite the extrovert so the idea of a solo vacation was a bit unfathomable for many, including myself. But can I tell you something? It was one of the most relaxing and life-giving times of my life. So maybe that means I’ve got more introverted as I’ve aged or maybe my soul was so thirsty for that time with the Lord, I don’t know! Either way, my time away was good and needed.

When you’re by yourself for ten days, you do a whole lot of self-reflection and soul searching. I’m still processing a lot of it so I won’t share everything with you right now but here are “10 things I learned from 10 days away”:

1. I can do hard things. Like going to dinner by myself, writing 20,000 words over the course of six days, and repent to a stranger on the internet (more on that later maybe).

2. The ocean is my happy place. I knew this about myself before but man, I’ve never been more sure of it now. So the next time someone asks me “beach or mountains” I won’t hesitate for a moment to answer “beach.” There is just something truly magical about wading in the ocean as you watch the sunset. It wrecks me in the best way.

3. My new favorite cocktail: La Croix (berry flavor to be specific), vodka, and lime wedges. So refreshing (& low carb - ha!).

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4. Putting sunscreen on your back without someone around is a struggle. Needless to say, my front side got a lot more sun than my backside. Ha!

5. Podcasts are God’s gift to an extrovert who is on a solo vacation. They help you feel like you’re getting human interaction without actually having it. I binged on Annie F. Downs’s “That Sounds Fun” podcast the majority of the week and it was amazing. I want to be her best friend in real life.

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6. People watching has been and will forever be on my favorite past times. It’ll make you laugh. It’ll inspire you. And it’ll make you think about life in ways you maybe never had before. It also makes you slow down and observe the world around you and that’s never a bad thing in my book.

7. Doing things on your own is incredibly empowering as well as humbling. Everything from navigating an airport, getting a rental car, to taking myself on a date, and wandering around the local shopping area alone - doing all of that by myself was quite enlightening. Every experience gave the opportunity for me to feel vulnerable, fearful, and insecure or to feel empowered, capable, and brave. I’m so grateful that most times the latter is what I felt. That’s not to say at all that life with people isn’t beautiful but it’s insanely encouraging to know you can stand on your own two feet and do so well if that’s the way life rolls sometimes.

8. If you’re going to travel alone, go somewhere that is familiar to you. I was blessed to be able to stay at my godmother’s condo where I had grown up vacationing my whole life so I felt safe in a place I knew like the back of my hand. Especially as a female (not that we’re not strong and capable), we need to be wise about protecting ourselves. So to anyone considering traveling alone, that would be one of my biggest tips for your first time on a solo trip: go where you feel safe. At least for me, that felt like a wise choice. I’m a scaredy cat at times so maybe that’s me being overly cautious but for me that’s what helped me feel most relaxed.

9. I love my people. Being away from community for an extended amount of time is rough. I’m so thankful a couple of my friends were vacationing up the road from me while I was in Florida. I had a night with them and it was so good for my soul. To be with my people, be encouraged in this season of life, and enjoy the joys of vacation with people I love was such a gift. (To the Worthens if you read this - I love you so big!)

10. GOD IS FAITHFUL. Gosh. If there is nothing else I took away from my time in Florida it was just that. God is so very very faithful. From being able to take that time off & get away to bringing incredible people into my life to cheer me on and support me as I press on into this calling I feel the Lord has laid on my life - God’s providence is not lost on me. If He wants something to happen, he will make a way for it. I will treasure our “honeymoon” forever and I hope it was the first of many. That time away to rest, reflect, and pursue big dreams was truly one of the greatest gifts of my life. The Lord is so sweet to lavish us with good things. We are His children and that is His deepest delight. I know that full well now.

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I feel as though I could go on & on about all that went on in my heart and mind during my vacation but perhaps I’ll reserve all that for future posts. Again, I’m still processing so much of it but if there’s one thing I’m certain of it’s that I freaking LOVED my ten days away. 

Friends, if I can encourage you in any way, I would cheer you on to take a solo trip. It doesn’t have to be ten days like I did. Shoot, it could be 24 hours for all I care. But whatever it is, do it for yourself. You’re worth it. And I promise you, the Lord will use it to refresh your soul. He did for me at least so I can only assume that if your time is used to really rest & dwell with Him, he’ll do the same for you.

If you want more details on what all went down on my vacay/writing trip, follow my writing Instagram account: @alifeoflaceandgrace. I did an IGTV for every day that I wrote to document my time and reflect on it all. I’ll continue to update the account as I journey through my life as a writer but for now, the majority of the feed is from my trip. If you check it out, I hope you enjoy!

And if you have any other questions for me about my trip or anything, don’t hesitate to reach out! Again, I’ll hopefully share more in the future but feel free to reach out in the meantime if you’re curious about anything specific. I’m an open book and would love to chat! Shoot me an email and let’s talk. I’d love that!

Cheers to the long weekend & the welcoming of a new month (crazzzzy!!). Have a good one, loves! XO