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Monday, October 12, 2015

Hot chocolate for all!

Hot chocolate for all!

Last year for Halloween, I wanted to do something special. I had been wrestling with how Jesus tells us to love our neighbors, and at the time, I didn't even really know my neighbors. 

I'm convinced that Halloween must be one of the best nights to love your neighbors, because everyone is out in the neighborhood. 

I currently live in Michigan, where we often celebrate Halloween with snow pants under costumes. Michigan is a temperamental kinda gal, and we never really know what weather we may get. 

Well last year the forecast was looking chilly, blustery, snowy, and wet. 

So I decided to make a hot chocolate stand for all the parents and trick or treaters to warm up. 

I used my favorite ikea cart, and placed a large glass dispenser of hot chocolate, whipped cream, marshmallows, and a cute sign on the top shelf. In the middle, I stocked it with foam cups, and at the bottom, I just had cute tea lights in mason jars. 

I added a large chalkboard sign, and of course some pumpkin decorations. 

I grabbed a chair (that matched, naturally), but once the night got rolling, I was too busy to sit. 

I had a large pot on the stove warming up for the second batch, so I wouldn't run out. 

It was so cold, I had a tank top, thermal long sleeve, flannel button up, and a puffy vest on. And probably should've had more on. Seriously. 

When the night was over, I gave out 87 cups of hot chocolate, which included 3.5 gallons of cocoa, 2 cans of whipped cream, and an extra large bag of marshmallows. I also have out 6 large bags of candy. 

What an incredible night to just love my sweet lil community. 

I'm excited for this year! I think I'm going to do something similar. ��

How can you love your neighbors? 

Love, M. 

October 12th.

I had debated sharing about this day, but sometimes it's nice to get it all out there, and just know that you're not alone. 

October 12th was the day that I decided a decade ago, that I would get married on. If you have experienced a Michigan mid October day, you would know, there is nothing better. So when the date year after year, was amazingly colorful, warm but crisp, and bright with possibility, I looked at a calendar, and saw it landed on a Saturday in my mid twenties. It was the perfect plan. 

Except the most important part of that plan hadn't shown up yet. I grew anxious in waiting, while excited to see how it would all play out. After all, I was following Jesus, and He could give me this desire of my heart. This wasn't too big for Him. My parents met and were married within 3 months. They've been married for over 30 years, so I wasn't too worried about time, it was possible. 

But then it didn't happen. Time passed. And I was still alone. 

I allowed a seed of bitterness to begin to have hold of my heart. 

And then, a close family friend, that I had grown up with, passed away from a car accident on October 12th, three years ago. Our sweet Ariel Rose. She was just 21. 

I know she's in Heaven. She's been in the presence of Jesus for the last thousand days. Oh and for that, I'm slightly jealous. She is with Jesus. 

But my heart could not handle all of this. I grew angry with God. Why did He take Ar? And why on my favorite day of the year? Honestly it was hard to trust in a God that didn't seem to have my best interest at heart. 

Grief is a really messy thing. Those were really hard days, and even harder nights. 

But time began to pass, and Jesus, the lover of my soul, began to draw me close, once again. 

The last handful of years, I have a relationship with Jesus that I didn't even know was possible. It has been full of really hard days, but I think that is why my faith has grown so deep. 

I can stand without a husband by my side, strong and ready for whatever is next. I am no longer bound by my singleness. 

I can live life well, knowing I don't understand so much, but I know the One that knows it all. I am no longer bound by my grief. 

This week I am waiting to hear if I will be given an interview for a job I want very much. I am begging God for favor, but I am trying to remind myself that He is in control, and has a plan, no matter the outcome. 

At the end of this week, I am running (and walking) a half marathon. For whatever reason, my body is freaking out. (Is this normal?) I have an upset stomach, and cannot seem to sleep well. I am terrified I won't finish. 13.1 miles is no easy task. So I am trying to remind myself of my training, and that I can do hard things, because Jesus goes before me. 

I'm not trying to wrap everything up in a nice little bow. Because that would be so fake. But I am in a better place than I expected to be. The nightmares still come, the house is still a mess, but after walking this season of so many unknowns, my faith is stronger, and I don't feel so wobbly. 

So today. I purposely didn't put anything on the books. I knew that I needed time and space to feel all the feels, and work out whatever I needed to. 

I'm planning on finishing up organizing my closet. I need to get a few mile run in. I might eat some cold leftover pizza. I'll probably cry a lot. (I already have, why stop now...) I intend on sitting and reading God's Word. 

I don't want today to be my dark day any longer. I don't know how to get there, but I think I'm making progress in the right direction. 

I'm thankful for a Savior that is writing my story. Because if I was in charge of writing it, it would be beautiful and easy. But I am learning that the hard and ugly days produce something the others cannot. 

I'm thankful for the woman I have become because of trials. She is strong, she is resilient, she has empathy for others, she can do hard things, and she knows Who fights for her. 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

One week til 13.1 and totally freaking out.

My half marathon is in a week. 

For Christmas I was given new running shoes. So the first week of the year, I started off committing to 10 miles/week. I kept at that for a bit, and by March I had a crazy idea to sign up for a half marathon. Thirteen point one miles. I was going to do that. 

And now, sitting in bed after months and miles of training, I'm totally freaking out. 

Seriously. What am I doing? Am I insane? 13.1 miles?! 

I am not normally big on the self doubt train, but for whatever reason, I'm all aboard today, and I just can't seem to hop off. 


I am laying in bed, just contemplating what I'm going to wear, what snacks I should pack, what my recovery plan is. A few months ago, I wouldn't have a clue on any of that. I realize I've learned so much. 

I'm remembering just last week how I pushed myself to 12.06 miles. The absolute farthest and longest my feet have ever carried me. I realize I've gone so far. 

In this season since signing up for this race, I've lost a lot. My world is different than when I began this journey. There have been so many hard days, but I have come out the other side knowing Jesus more than I ever knew was possible. I realize He is my strength. 

I'm not sure why I feel so tired this weekend. It seems like I want to do is sleep. I'm nervous I'm getting sick. But maybe it's my body's way of resting up and recharging my batteries? I'm not sure, but I'm not refusing a nap. 

My mantra I repeat over and over and over while my feet continuously hit the pavement is, "I can do hard things, because Jesus goes before me." 

Could you pray with me and for me as I finish this? I am so looking forward to crossing that finish line, and having a medal around my neck. But there's still a lot of life to be lived in the mean time. 

Love, M 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lately I feel like I have really little faith, but really big dreams. I was reminded that Jesus said, "...if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." I've been trying to work this out. I feel like bigger is always so much better, but today I found so much beauty in the small. Maybe having a tiny, but honest faith is just enough for now, and that's okay. 

The Tooth Fairy.

Growing up we didn't celebrate Halloween much. We normally went out to dinner as a family and then went to the store, and each picked out a bag of our favorite candy. Because there are seven of us, we had quite a variety of candy to share. I never felt like I missed out on trick or treating or dressing up. I had a really great childhood. I just never went trick or treating. 

I first went trick or treating when I was 25 years old, while visiting a friend in Florida, on a Naval base. 

So my dressing up skills were decades behind everyone else's, but if you know me, being creative is what I do, and what I love. 

So last year I signed up to host a "trunk" in our church's Trunk or Treat night. 

If you didn't grow up "churched", Trunk or Treat is an event where cars line up in the parking lot, and pass out candy from their trunks. There's a lot of candy for the kids, it's a safe and controlled environment, and it's a great way for churches to love their communities. 

So, I thought long and hard about what to be. And I decided on the Tooth Fairy. Because, why not?! 

I wanted to set up my space to feel like you were visiting the Tooth Fairy's home. 

I made this skirt myself. I saw a similar one at Anthropologie, and figured I could teach myself to sew it. So I did. 

I designed her outfit around the idea of being light, airy, and whimsical. I chose white and gold to be the main colors, and of course accented everything with teeth. 

I found this foam crown in a clearance bin at the store for 25¢. It was bright pink, so I just spray painted it and hot glued sparkly gems to it. 

The sweater was from Forever 21, and one of my favorites from last season. It was also very helpful, because in Michigan, Halloween is often met with below freezing temps. 

I made the skirt myself, and intentionally went with a gold and sparkly waist band. 

I made her wand from a random dowel rod I spray painted gold, a felt tooth I made, and of course pretty ribbon to give it pizazz. 

The shoes were $4 clearance black flats I found at Walmart in the kid's section. I just spray painted them gold, and they were good to go. 

The wings. Heaven help me. They were bright purple, pink, and green when I bought them from Walmart. The gems on them were so gaudy. So I deconstructed them, spray painted them gold, added pretty gems that matched my crown, and added a felt tooth. 

Because I'm really into little details, I made earring out of quarters. 

The Tooth Fairy's living room. ��

If you could imagine visiting the Tooth Fairy, I believe this is what it would look like. 

I love to check out the discounted lumber section at The Home Depot. Any time there are boards that are in decent condition, I buy them, paint them with chalkboard paint, and create cute little signs all around my home. So this was an easy way to help people understand who I was. 

I love this cart. It's from ikea, and it has been used for so much in my home. But here, I had it hold the Tooth Fairy's most important things. I went to a dollar store, and bought packs of cheap toothbrushes, and put them in mason jars. I went to the bank and had $40 made into quarters. (Which was really helpful later for when I needed to head to the laundromat.) I felt weird about the "lost teeth" jars, but the Tooth Fairy would have them. So I just used pearl beads I had around the house in mason jars. I just used plain white construction paper to create teeth labels to keep the theme going, and again help explain what was going on in my wild brain. 

I grabbed a few pillows from home, and placed a black blanket on my car to create a "couch ish area". I'm not sure how well it translated, but it was another perfect opportunity to add more teeth things around the space. I just cut out a tooth from white felt, and pinned it to a pillow I had made. 

I knew I wouldn't want to stand the entire time, so I brought this cute chair and table, because the Tooth Fairy would totally have an on trend bistro set at her home. Lol. 

This is one of my favorite mirrors. I actually found it at a garage sale a few summers ago, and I think it gave the illusion of a window. 

I spray painted this cute lantern to have just for some extra light once it got darker, plus I just can't stop spray painting everything I own gold. (I asked for gold spray paint for Christmas last year. I didn't get any, but that just shows the level of love it have for it...) 

I just used puffy fabric paint on one of my mugs to write out "The Tooth Fairy". The great part of that was that as soon as I got home, I just peeled it off without ruining my mug. I just wanted to sip something warm and cozy, because hello Michigan. Ugh. 

Happy October y'all. 

Love, M (The Tooth Fairy) 


Thursday, September 24, 2015

In all my years, I've never had my heart break the way it is now. Last night held one of the best moments of my entire life, and tonight held one of the worst. The high emotion of everything has left me in a puddle. 

I'm just falling apart. And not in a pretty, cute, funny kinda way. This is ugly and heavy and debilitating.

One day I may share this story, but for tonight, I am sharing this song by Cheisty Nockles that I am clinging to. 

Great God, wrap your arms around the world tonight. And me too. 

Please pray. 

From babies hidden in the shadows
To the cities shining bright
There are captives weeping
Far from sight
For every doorway has a story
And some are holding back the cries
But there is One who hears at the night

Great God
Wrap Your arms around this world tonight
Around the world tonight
And when You hear our cries
Sing through the night
So we can join in Your song
And sing along
We'll sing along

From the farthest corners of the earth
Still His mercy reaches
Even to the pain we cannot see
And even through the darkness
There's a promise that will keep us
There is One who came to set us free

Great God
Wrap Your arms around this world tonight
Around the world tonight
And when You hear our cries
Sing through the night
So we can join in Your song
And sing along
We'll sing along

So let Your song rise
And fill up the earth
Let Your hope ring out
Let Your heart be heard

So let Your song rise
And fill up the earth
Let Your hope ring out
Let Your heart be heard

Great God
Wrap Your arms around this world tonight
Around the world tonight
And when You hear our cries
Sing through the night
And we will join in Your song
And sing along
We'll sing along

We'll sing along (x6)

Great God
Wrap Your arms around this world tonight
Around the world tonight
And when You hear our cries
Sing through the night
And we will join in Your song
And sing along
We'll sing along

Great God
Wrap Your arms around this world tonight
Around the world tonight
And when You hear our cries
Sing through the night
And we will join in Your song
And sing along
We'll sing along

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sleepy thoughts.

It's 11:30 at night. My phone is at 8%. It's been a very full day, and tomorrow will prove to be full as well. 

I just looked at my planner. 
•training: 8 miles
•Shawn's 30th birthday 
•Taste of Clarkston/Village Art Fair/ Octoberfest 
•visit another new church 
•cider mill 
•yoga class 

It's going to be a busy one. I love days full to the brim with laughs and love, friends and family, food and festivals. It's going to be great.

But I also love the right now. The quiet house. The sleepy eyes. The book in bed. The cozy robe. The sleepy time tea. The time alone. And the rest that is about to happen. 

Sweet dreams, dear friends. 

Tomorrow let's conquer the world.