Thursday, April 10, 2014

Give Grace Lavishly

Y'all life is hard. 
Sometimes things happen in this sinful fallen world that 
we simply can't understand or even wrap our heads around. 
There is heartbreak and brokenness all around. 
And sometimes I feel like we don't give each other
{and ourselves}
 enough grace. 

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 in The Message says.....

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.


I think most of us are doing the best that we can. 
So today, how about we look for the best? 
Assume that people have good intentions 
and are doing the best that they can. 
What if we give grace and give it lavishly? 

I'm in.  You? 
{You can print your own copy as a reminder HERE. }

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

God's Plans

It seems like this season of my life is ridiculously crazy busy. 
No matter how I try to let things go or say no to things, 
it just seems constantly overloaded and completely overwhelming. 
I almost laughed in the face of my surgeon at MDA last week when he 
told me that I needed to slow down and allow myself to heal
and that doing so would help the horrid headaches I'm having. 
If only, dear doctor, if only I could. 

I spoke at the women's conference at my church last Saturday 
and shared this printable below in the form of a bookmark. 
The quote and verse below are two things that I've said to
myself pretty much at least once a day every day for the last year.  

It's so easy to get caught up in the million things going on in a day
that seem so important and pressing
and become overwhelmed. 
Yet when I remind myself that although the day I'm in may 
be stinky, it is just a single day and 
God's plans are so so so much better
than I can ever imagine. 
In case you need a reminder you can print your own copy HERE.  

I'm also going to give away a few of the bookmarks! 



If you'd like to win a set of 10 bookmarks to share with friends 
who might need this reminder,
comment below with your favorite quote or verse that comforts you 
when life seems CRAZY and OVERWHELMING! 

I'll pick three winners on Sunday night! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Prank it Forward

Love, love, love this!
They turned a homeless shelter into a 5 star restaurant!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Blessed are the Flexible......

I heart Christine Caine and this is one of my absolute 
favorite quotes of hers. 

You can print out your own PDF or JPG copy HERE. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Be Still and KNOW

I don't know about you but so many days I 
feel like I run around like a chicken with my head cut off. 
It's go go go go go from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. 

I rarely, if ever, stop and take the time to be still. 
To sit at the feet of Jesus and just listen to Him. 

Our world seems to get busier and crazier 
and everything needs to be done immediately. 
I was at MD Anderson earlier this week for my 
6 month testing and doctor visits.  
As I sat waiting for my MRI with nothing but a blanket to keep me company 
{everything else was locked up in a tiny locker with my clothes}
I thought of how peaceful I felt when I just stopped 
and had no other distractions. 
It was just me and Jesus.
I poured out my heart to Him and it was glorious. 

The prints below are ones I used at the Haven of Hope retreat a few weeks ago.  






My favorite is this one
{we had shirts made of it for the retreat}

and I often feel that perhaps I need to have it tattooed on my arm as a reminder. 

My surgeon told me yesterday that part 
of the reason for the headaches is because I need to slow down to allow my body to heal.  
I think more importantly I need to slow down and rest- 
so that my heart and soul can listen to sweet Jesus.  

If you too need a reminder you can print out all of the above pics HERE. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

#whoneedsapencil

About a month ago I decided one night to order some personalized pencils to give away. 
Now that may seem random, and if you know me I AM random, 
but it all started because I saw a cute pencil on a picture someone posted online. 
I remember thinking how I loved personalized pencils and how I should order some-
So I did......and promptly forgot about them. 

They arrived a few weeks later and I was super excited when I opened the box! 
They were so fun and colorful- I snapped a pic and posted it 
on Instagram and on FB with the hashtag #whoneedsapencil

Quite a few friends responded and since I work for a school district,
I printed out some You Are Loved cards and dropped them in the mail to them the next morning. 

Each morning as I drove to work for the next week I prayed that God would bring to mind 
people who needed the reminder that they were loved. 
And He always did. Some were close friends. Others were just acquaintances. 
But whoever God brought to mind, I sent them a pencil, 
often feeling a little silly thinking they might think
 I was weird for sending them a pencil. 
I mean- who does that? 

But I very quickly started getting texts and emails and
FB posts saying how much people loved the pencils and
how they so often arrived at just the right moment. 
It was so neat to see how God used a
silly little pencil to remind people that He loved them!

So I sent more pencils and ordered some more. 
And I started thinking.....
maybe there are other people who need that tiny reminder 
and maybe I should send them a pencil too!
And so I started another blog: http://www.lovedgreatly.com/
 and ordered some envelopes and


So.....if you need a reminder that you are loved
or if you know of someone who does,
 just fill out the form below and I will get one sent to you! 


And if you get one send me a pic and I'll post it
or post it on IG with the hashtag #whoneedsapencil.

I'm not sure how I'm going to cover postage to mail all these pencils 
but I know God will take care of it!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who I am in Christ

My sweet friend Terri asked me a few months ago to turn this FABULOUS 
poem that her mother wrote into a printable. 

I was happy to do so and I printed it for all of the precious mamas 
at the retreat this past weekend.
We encouraged them all to post it somewhere that they 
would see it each and every day- like the bathroom mirror.

It is truly an amazing reminder that regardless of 
your past, your failures, your flaws, your struggles, your sins, your history- 
God loves your GREATLY 
and in Him you are His special treasure and He knows you by name! 

If you'd like to print your own copy, 
you can find it in PDF or JPG format HERE. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Do you want to be liked?

A sweet friend read the article I posted yesterday 
and asked me to make a printable of the quote I shared and I was happy to do so!
She said she was going to post it in her bathroom as a reminder- what a great idea! 

{This article- Being Liked is Overrated hit me right between the eyes! 
The people pleaser in me struggles so with this. 
I could get 99 compliments and 1 negative comment 
and the negative comment is where I will focus.
Oh how I want pleasing God to become bigger than pleasing people!}


You can print a JPG or PDF copy HERE! 

I'm praying that today we can all focus on pleasing God, not on pleasing people!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Randomness on a Sunday Morning

Happy Sunday sweet friends!

Spring Break this year has been a quiet one which was exactly what I needed. 
My sweet girl went on a mission trip to El Salvador 
and so I spent much of the week praying for her and the others on her trip.  
She got home late last night and it was so wonderful to hear all the ways 
God used her and touched her heart during the week working at the orphanage.  
She loved it so much she was asking to go back this 
summer before we even got out of the church parking lot! 

I am home with a stinky headache this morning and decided to
share some things I've been reading/watching/using this week while on spring break
when I wasn't working on retreat prep!

This precious little girls heart for others. If only we all loved like she does!



This article- Being Liked is Overrated hit me right between the eyes! 
The people pleaser in me struggles so with this. 
I could get 99 compliments and 1 negative comment 
and the negative comment is where I will focus.
This quote touched summed it all up....
"Do you want to be liked or do you want to actually do something significant with this life? 
Let pleasing God become bigger than pleasing people.......
Let’s risk something for God’s glory and for other’s good."
Oh how I want pleasing God to become bigger than pleasing people!



A KY  teenager made an Instagram account for his grandma who has cancer. 
Louisville teen Zach Belden posts pictures of Grandma Betty on the account, 
demonstrating how joy and love can ease the pain of battling cancer.
What a precious tribute!
Here is a sweet video explaining why he's doing this: WDRB 41 Louisville News
You can follow the account HERE. 




100 happy days is an amazing, yet simple idea. 
Simply take one photo each day of something that made you happy that day, post it either to a social media site (Facebook, Twitter Instagram), using the hashtag #100happydays, 
or, if you want more privacy, send a private email to the folks running the challenge. 
At the end of your 100 days, you are sent a book of all your photos, 
of all the things that made you happy.
How cool is that? 
Focusing on what makes you happy is the surest way I know to feel happy! 
I'm starting, anyone want to join me? 



Have you seen this? It is PRECIOUS!

At an outdoor bus shelter in Montreal strangers have been holding 
hands this winter so they can keep warm while waiting for their ride.

Duracell installed battery operated heaters at the bus stop that rely on 
the human body's ability to transmit an electrical current.
Here's how it works: 
two or more pedestrians simply place one palm flat against the wall
 and complete the connection by holding hands with their neighbor.
The heater kicks in and stays on for a few minutes!
Way to go Duracell!



This article- Your Job is More Important than You Think - was fabulous. 
"When C.S. Lewis was asked if the world needed more Christian writers, he responded, “No, we need more writers who are Christian.” In other words, we need individuals who glorify Christ through every job that they hold, regardless of their title. We need individuals who love God, live with honesty and integrity, strive for excellence and pursue truth, beauty and goodness in every endeavor."



40Acts is an awesome way to do Lent generously!
Here's a description from 40Acts: 
Lent is usually about 'giving stuff up', isn't it? 
What if you could add something transformational to the traditional?
What if you could give up chocolate and give the money to your favourite charity?
 What if you could turn the TV off and spend more time helping your neighbour? 
What if your Lent, this year, was a preparation for a lifetime 
of big-heartedness that reflected God's amazing generosity? 
Check out 40Acts to find out how!





Have you tried Downy Unstoppables? 
They are an in wash scent booster and they are AWESOME! 
My friend Sherri told me about them at book club a few weeks ago and I finally bought some this week. 
You drop a cap full in your laundry and they make your clothes smell crazy GOOD!

Friday, March 7, 2014

So remember that one day.....when I had brain surgery? {Part 3}


My super sweet, precious friend Gina is writing this next part, 
because after being wheeled down the hall, 
I remember nothing until I woke up many, many hours later in recovery. 
She is one of the best gifts God has given me
 and although I hated her taking time off to spend with me during surgery & recovery,
I honestly don't think I could have done it without her. 
She is one of my greatest earthly blessings. 




Hi, I’m Gina. You have heard Shannon mention me a few (hundred) times over the years – either by my name or by my nickname – Dory. We’ve been hard and fast friends for many years now so when she was facing this surgery, I had to be there to offer anything I could – support, love, care-giving, whatever she needed. 

To pick up where she left off, being wheeled away to surgery – I have to confess something. She was so blissfully unaware that she could possibly die during the surgery while I, on the other hand, was painfully aware of that fact. In all honesty, (and this is something I’ve discussed only with my husband prior to writing this) from the moment the surgery date was scheduled, I grew more and more worried about death. That particular week of September is an already hard week for me – Sept. 18th is the anniversary of a childhood friends’ mothers’ passing, Sept. 19th is the anniversary of my dad’s death, and Sept. 20th is the anniversary of my father-in-law’s death… so when I heard Shannon’s surgery was scheduled for Sept. 17th, it literally took my breath away for a second. I kept reminding myself that God was in control and that I should rest my faith in Him but during the dark moments, it was hard to hold on to that. After she was rolled away, Tony and I both had a moment of complete and total breakdown. I can’t speak for him but in my case, I’d been trying to remain strong for her the whole time but the second she was out of sight, I lost it!

The day was spent surrounded by Shannons' family and friends in various waiting rooms. I had a crochet project with me and although I usually find crocheting very relaxing, I don’t think I made more than a dozen stitches all day. I held it my hands and looked at it a lot but I just was too keyed up to actually work on it. At some point during the day, I was looking out the window, praying in my head and my eyes landed on this cross atop a nearby building and I was flooded with a wave of relief. It was as if God used that moment to reassure me all would be well. After that, I find myself sneaking glances at the cross throughout the day – making sure it was still there, I guess. Looking back on it now, I think I was hoping for another wave of relief!

Shannon had planned several random acts of kindness for Madison and her friends to give out throughout the day – at some point during the day I entered an elevator to go find coffee and saw this sweet note posted inside by one of the girls – it made me smile. Even while Shannon was unconscious during surgery, her sweet heart for others was being well represented!

A nurse came out for our first update on Shannon around 10:30am. 
Tony and I followed her back to a private for room for her to say: 
The surgeons began at 7:49am, there were no problems with anesthesia. 
They are still working on the approach - meaning removing a piece of her 
skull and trying at access the tumor deep within her head. 

After Tony and I told the group, we all spent some time rejoicing that 
all was going well and breathing collective sighs of relief all around the waiting area. 

Our next update came around 12:20pm: 
We just heard from the nurse - both surgeons (Dr. Demonte and Dr. Gridley) 
are in with her now. They have reached the tumor and are resecting it. 
This was described as 
"try to imagine removing four strands of hair from a wad of chewing gum". 
Her vital signs are stable and all is well.

We were told this part could take several hours so again, we all rejoiced for the good news and then went back to patiently waiting for the next update. It’s really remarkable the number of people waiting in our group. Quiet conversations were taking place in small groups of 2 or 3, not to disrupt others who were also waiting on news about their loved ones. 

The next update came at 2:30pm:
  After nearly 7 hours, the tumor is out and the surgeons have begun closing. 
This can still take quite a while, as much as a few hours.
 But the news that they are closing is AWESOME!

We had barely told everyone when Tony and I were called back to the room to see the surgeons. We had been expecting a much longer wait than 20 minutes so as we walked back, I was thinking "Noooo, they shouldn't be done so quick....something must be wrong....noooo". Both surgeons shook our hands and sat us down and told us IT WAS OVER and SHE WAS FINE!!! They told us that all the tumor was removed and her facial nerve was fully intact! I was ready to burst with relief and I know Tony was too! As they said their goodbyes - I said, "Wait here one sec, please, I have something for you!" I ran back to get some of the cookies Shannon had made to give out to those who helped care for her while in the hospital. The look on their faces was priceless! Both thanked me and said they were starving and I saw both of them start to tear into the wrapping as they walked away. It made my heart sing!

We were directed to another waiting room outside the ICU area where she would be once she was moved out of recovery. Tony saw her first, right when she was brought in. If you've never seen anyone as they wake up from anesthesia, it's a little unnerving. When I saw her a few minutes later, she spoke to me right away. She was telling me that her arms felt funny, but couldn't quite think of the word she wanted. She'd say, "My arms have four hundred...." I said, "pins or needles?" (thinking they felt asleep to her and tingly) She's say, "No" and then "my arms have four thousand..." and I'd guess another word. Then "my arms have forty hundred...." I started getting tickled because whatever her arms had was getting bigger each time she said it! As others started going in to see her throughout the next few hours, (only two at a time were allowed in ICU) they'd come out and say "What's up with her arms? She kept trying to think of a word". Let me just tell ya, all these months later, we've never figured out what the heck she was trying to say!

Her family and friends said their goodbyes as the evening wore on and Tony eventually left to get some sleep. I spent that first night with her in ICU, listening to the machines beep. It was a tough night, with her pain medication barely making a dent in the Texas-sized headache she had! She kept saying, "If only I could sleep!" Between the machinery and all the people checking in on her every few minutes, it was a long miserable night for her. She said, "I was so worried about my facial nerve and all the preparation that went into knowing I'd be off work and stuff, I never once thought about how painful it would be but I'm not kidding y'all, my head HURTS!" Needless to say, I'm glad for the things she didn't think of prior to the surgery!

I'm so thankful for the surgeons and all the caring staff at MD Anderson. It was such a blessing to be in capable hands and for such fantastic results! Praising His name! 




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

#keepingitrealwednesday

So one of my goals for the year was to be more transparent. 
To be more honest. 
To be more real. 

It's easy to look at other women and think they have it all together.
To think that they have a beautifully decorated house, 
perfect children, clean closets, a full bank account,
the best job ever and a dreamy marriage-
and that in comparison we are a big hot mess
and don't measure up.

I think with the increase in social media it's easier
 than ever to feel like we are a big failure in a world full of perfect ladies.
Like we are the ONLY one who doesn't have all of her ducks in a row. 

We compare our reality to others
posed, cropped, filtered, and edited pictures
we see on Facebook and Instagram
and become discouraged.

But here's the thing sweet friends....NO ONE has it all together.
NO ONE. 

I NEVER want anyone to think I have it all together because
 I DEFINITELY do NOT.
If you think I do, you are sadly mistaken.
I am a big, giant, saved by grace MESS.


In order to be more transparent
and to help us all realize that we are not alone,
 I decided to start
#keepingitrealwednesday

Each Wednesday on Facebook or Instagram I post several things 
about myself {usually super embarrassing} 
to let others know that I am indeed FAR from having it all together.


The first time I posted I was immediately sick to my stomach thinking....
"Why in the world did I just share all THAT on Facebook?"
But the response I got was overwhelming
and so positive!


So many friends said things like...
ME TOO! 
and
Thank you for making us see that we're all a little messy 
or lazy and not perfect at everything we do. 
and 
Here's my confession......

Since then I've looked forward to every single Wednesday because 
I know that as soon as I post my own confessions, 
others will post theirs and I just LOVE reading them! 


Here are a few more of my posts.
I wish I could post the responses because they are AWESOME!

















So if you'd like to join me, just comment below 
or come over to Facebook and join me for #keepingitrealwednesday! 

And please sweet friends, remember.....
AND
{and that's okay!}



Print your own copy HERE. 

Psalm 139:14 says....
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.







Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Christ is Risen

My sweet friend Kourtney asked me to make some printables 
for the ladies retreat she was planning at her church. 

I was happy to do so and absolutely love the verses and lyrics they chose!

Their theme song was Christ is Risen by Matt Maher 
so I did this printable of it.



The verses they chose were Isaiah 40:31
{one of my all time favorites}


and John 14:6

and Psalm 112

and Revelation 21:4 
which is such a comforting verse!

You can print out your own  JPG or PDF copies HERE. 

These little printables are great for framing
or printing out and putting in a card to send to a friend. 

My sweet friend Amanda took one that I sent her and modge podged 
it onto a jar she filled with flowers. 
How cute is that?