Studying the Bible can be difficult, amen?  It’s such a massive, rich book, and it’s hard to know where to start and, once you’ve started, where to go next and how to get the most out of it.

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Over the past year, I’ve discovered three tools that have made studying the Bible much, much easier:

1. Podcasts.  If you’re not familiar with Joyce Meyers, you should be. She’s an amazing teacher and, bonus: She has a dry, sometimes twisted sense of humor. She’s hilarious. She talks a lot about fear, anxiety, the power of our thoughts and words and–my jam–freedom.  I also listen to our church’s podcast whenever we’ve missed a Sunday. And sometimes I will just listen to a really great sermon a second time and dig deeper into the scriptures referenced.

2. app. Beyond a basic Bible app, has an audio feature, as well.  Yes. Actors will read the Bible to you, with different people doing different characters, in addition to a main narrator. I love this feature; sometimes I’ll choose a book of the Bible in the morning and listen to several chapters on my way to work.

3. #SheReadsTruth has been mentioned in this space several times before, and that’s because it’s one of the best devotional/Bible study tools I’ve ever discovered.  You can read the daily scriptures and devotional post on their website, or you can receive their daily e-mails (which is what I’ve always done). But wait–there’s more!! Now they have a beautiful, user-friendly app (currently only for iPhones, but an Android version is in the works). As a fun bonus, the app also has background photos for your phone. Love. Also, I’ve chatted with the #SheReadsTruth girls in real life, and they are legit. Sweet and humble and truly women after God’s heart.


What are your favorite ways to study the Bible? Do you have any tips and tricks to share with the rest of us?



A little over a month ago, one of my grandma’s rings was stolen.

After she died, the women of the family went through her closet and jewelry boxes and divided up her things (with my grandfather’s encouragement). It was difficult and awkward and painful, but it needed to be done while we were all in the same country together.

My grandmother didn’t really have super valuable things, but each of us wanted certain pieces that held special memories of her, little treasures to cherish and hold onto.

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Grandma and me (1 of 1) I have a thing for unusual, eye-catching rings, so these are mostly what I asked for.  Again, none are really valuable, but they’re special because they were my grandma’s. Too paranoid to pack them–even in my carry on bag–I wore one ring on each finger for my flight home from London. My very favorite of the rings is chunky and gold and has a little clock inside.

I left it by the sink in a restaurant bathroom the second Sunday afternoon in July.

The ring.

The ring.

Somehow, I didn’t realize I wasn’t wearing it anymore until Jon and I were getting in the car to leave.  I screeched “THE RING” and leapt out of the car.  I burst into the restaurant, ran up to the manager, and asked him if it had been turned in (it hadn’t); it was no longer in the bathroom.  Like a crazed maniac, I ran around to every woman in the restaurant and asked if she’d seen the ring.

It was my grandma’s, she died in May. Please.

The ring is gone.

I have cried bitter, gut-wrenching sobs.  I have grieved for my grandma and over this ring, over losing one of my grandma’s special treasures that I was entrusted with. I have been super angry–at myself for being careless and at the woman who stole it from the bathroom.

A few days ago, I pulled out my iPad and settled in to catch up on my #SheReadsTruth Bible plans.  The very first one that pulled up?


Ugh.  At first, the thought of forgiving, of praying for, the woman who stole my grandma’s ring made me sick to my stomach.  But, in order to not let this anger and bitterness take root in my heart, to not let it become a thing, I know I need to.  For freedom, for spiritual and emotional wholeness, I need to.

This is something I’m still working through, and my daily prayer has been for Him to make me want to want to forgive her, to pray for her.  I don’t know why this woman picked up that ring and decided to slide it on her finger and walk away instead of turning it in.  But I know she needs Jesus.

And so do I.



Since I’m preparing to go to my second blogging conference this weekend (Declare), and the Influence Conference is a little over a month away (!!!!!!), I thought it would be a good time to talk about preparing for a blogging conference.  I know it can be super overwhelming, and I hope this helps a little (or a lot).

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Things to bring:

1. Clothes.  Oh, the clothes.  I put a lot (too much) time, energy, and maybe a few tears into choosing my outfits for Influence.  I did not need to stress as much as did; however, it is important to pack cute, comfortable clothes that you will feel confident in.  I packed two outfits per day.  On both Thursday and Sunday I wore two outfits (I changed for dinner and the evening sessions), but I wore the same thing all day/evening Friday because I really loved what I was wearing. And that, I think, is the key–pack your favorites. The things you love wearing and feel good in. I would recommend packing an extra outfit or two and a few accessories (scarves, hats, statement jewelry), in case you want to change things up as you transition from day to evening.

2. Comfy shoes.  You will do quite a bit of walking.  Hotels are big places, and not every restaurant you go to will be just across the street.  I packed riding boots, oxfords, and a pair of wedges.  The wedges were borderline uncomfortable, and I was glad I didn’t bring any heels.


3. Flip flops.  I also packed my black Havaianas because I knew that if I wanted to visit a friend’s hotel room late at night I wouldn’t want to pair my riding boots with my PJs.  I was especially grateful for the flip flops when I had to run down to the lobby at 6:00 am for extra towels.

4. Power strip.  This came in handy in the hotel room.  4 girls charging phones, iPads, and using curling irons/hair dryers/straightners vs. the two plugs in our room… the power strip is a sanity/friendship saver.

5. Blog/business cards.  I ordered mine from Overnight Prints. I recommend getting the card situation sorted out a few weeks early to avoid a mad scramble right before the conference (and ending up with cards you don’t love).

6. Hole punch/binder rings.  I used this to organize and contain all of the blog/business cards I received, and I’m so glad I did!  There’s nothing sadder than not being able to follow up with a sweet new friend because you lost her card and can’t remember her name.

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7. Notebook.  There will be a lot of note-taking, my friends.  Even though a couple of the speakers handed out little booklets for us to take notes in, I like my notes the way I like my cards–contained in one spot.

8. The best pens ever.  Seriously, y’all.  These pens are amazing.  They write like a marker, but they don’t bleed through paper.  Loooove.

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9. Roommate gifts.  I gave each of my girls Rosebud Salve lipgloss, a mini notebook, kleenex, and gummie bears.

10. Cute PJs. Pack PJs you wouldn’t mind being photographed in or running down to the lobby for towels in (ahem).

11. Earplugs/eye mask/Tylenol PM. Bring anything you think you might need to help you sleep, especially if you will be sharing a room with multiple girls. Trust.

12. A prepared heart. On my way to Influence last year, I took some time to pray and think about why I was going to the conference and what I really wanted to get out of it.  I made a list of things I desired to gain from the conference (lasting friendships is one example) and then a list of the things I would do to make that happen.  I left Influence without any regrets because of this time I took to prepare my heart and set my intentions.  I walked in with a game plan; I highly recommend taking some time to do this. Check out this post to see how my preparation paid off for me.

Things I’m glad I didn’t bring:

1. DSLR.  I’m so glad I didn’t lug this around the conference all weekend.  One of my roommates (who is a professional photographer) brought hers, but I felt much more comfortable taking photos in the sessions with my iPhone.

2. Laptop. I had no downtime to work on the blog during the conference, and I took notes with my notebook and the best pens ever.  There was an Influence girl on my flight back to Texas who wrote a couple of blog posts while we were in the air, but I was way too physically/mentally wiped out to write anything coherent, so I’m glad I didn’t bring it with me.

(Keep in mind that you might need your laptop or DSLR, depending on what sessions you’re attending at the conference.)

Do you have any blogging conference tips? Feel free to add them in the comments!





July popsicle

1. Popsicles.  I bought a giant, seedless watermelon at Sprouts the other day because it looked pretty, and you’re supposed to buy and eat watermelon in the summer.  It sat in our fridge for a few days–taking up an entire shelf–and I didn’t know what to do with it until: POPSICLES. I had the brilliant idea to blend the watermelon with a few frozen strawberries, a generous splash of agave nectar, and the juice of one lime. I poured the blended up goodness into my popsicle mold (I use a couple, but this mold is my favorite) and squeezed it into the tiny bit of spare freezer space I could find. Delicious.

I had quite a bit of juice leftover, which I’m keeping in a jug in the fridge.  I think the only thing that could make it more perfect is a splash of tequila.  I even mixed some of the juice with water (sans tequila) for my Orange Theory class, and it helped me keep my energy up.

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2. I love podcasts.  I’m a few years late to the podcast party, but, now that I’m here, I never want to leave. (That was cheesy. I apologize.) I’ve found several great ones; I’ll share my favorites with you guys soon.

3. Online classes. I’ve been feeling super frustrated and limited lately by my lack of technical know-how.  Enter: Skillshare (which I learned about on a podcast!). Seriously, this website is amazing–classes on everything and anything.  I can’t wait to learn ALL THE THINGS.

4. The farmers market. I adore the farmers market, but I’ve realized I need to plan my visits better. I always seem to spend $87.43 and leave with only a cube of organic cheese, a pear, a .0000025 ounce bag of fair trade coffee, and a flower.  Instead, I need to make a B line for the Mennonite family selling organic eggs with a brief stop by the tomatoes and okra and call it a day. I need to not talk to the goat cheese girl, because then I will hear her story about leaving Maine with only her goat and a dream to sell delicious, overpriced goat brie to Dallas surbanites like me, and I will feel bad and I will give her my debit card and tell her to go nuts.

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5. Sometimes self care needs to come first. Lots of late nights and early mornings have left me feeling incredibly exhausted. Like, falling asleep driving to work exhausted.  I really wanted to get this post finished and linked up by Thursday, July 31st, but Wednesday night I decided to get in bed early with a book and the bitties instead. Self care is essential; remember, you have to fill your cup before you can pour anything out.

So, what did you learn in July?

This post is a linkup with Emily Freeman of Chatting at the Sky






I’ve been a member of The Influence Network for over a year now, and it–specifically the women it’s brought into my life–has changed me enormously. Changed everything.

I met Jacey on the flight home from The Influence Conference last year–somehow we’d managed to miss each other during our time in Indianapolis.  We formed a writing group with another Influence girl, Liz, and it’s wonderful knowing that I have these two girls ready and willing to give me their honest feedback and cheer me on.

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on the flight home with Jacey

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In February, I attended a gathering of local Influence members, and it was a sweet morning of solidarity, of “me too!” and “I’m SO glad we’ve met.”

Brittany and I met that day, and we’ve collaborated and supported each other numerous times since then.  I’m so grateful for her friendship–and her graphic design expertise.

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after a fun photo shoot with Brittany

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sweet Lillie, one of my Influence Conference roommates, hosted our local meet up

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Erica & Annetta, my other lovely Influence roomies

I joined the network for mainly practical reasons; I was starting a new blog and I needed help. But the tagline on the site, “find the women who will stand behind you,” proved to be true, and I have met some life-long friends through the network and the conference.  From sending me cards and e-mails when my grandma died, to teaching me how to create a signature in gmail and editing my writing, these girls have my back, and the blessing of their friendship is tremendous.

Pursuing our dreams, our creative pursuits, putting our hearts out there on our blogs and in our businesses and in our lives, requires bravery. But even more than that, it requires community.

We need your talents, your unique insights, your quirky sense of humor and your kind heart.  We need you.  Join us?

(Also, check out this post from just after The Influence Conference last year, where I go deep into the healing the Lord did in my heart through Influence with regard to community and friendships with women.)

This post is a link up with The Influence Network.




I have a thing with my legs.

Since I was about 15, shorts and short skirts and dresses have been a no go (unless I can wear thick, cute tights–fall and winter are my jam).  A couple of months ago my mom proudly presented me with a very pretty, short dress she’d bought for me.  I stared at her. “You know I don’t show my legs.”

In high school, I went to a prep school that required uniforms. Girls had a choice between wearing pants or a knee-length skirt; I wore pants  EXCEPT–Wednesdays. On Wednesdays we had a formal hour-long Eucharist service, and all girls had to wear the uniform skirt.  I dreaded Wednesdays.  I can still remember the sick feeling in my stomach, walking around campus with my legs on display. Cold sweats, pounding heart.  I hated Wednesdays.

Like I said, I have a thing with my legs.

Last month, I went to New Orleans with my college BFF, Cara Maggie.  It was super hot and muggy, and we were kinda miserable walking around the French Quarter.

In our search for an air-conditioned place to spend some time in, we stumbled upon the BEST store–Trashy Diva.  Most of their clothes are short skirts and dresses, so I ended up just sitting on a comfy chair and giving Cara feedback on the things she was trying on.

Then, she walked out of the fitting room in a green and blue floral dress.  It was beautiful.  And knee length.

I tried it on, and I loved it.  But my legs… I had a little chat with the salesgirl/stylist about it (most honest body issue talk with a stranger EVER), glanced down at my new freedom tattoo (more on that later!), and bought the dress.

2014: my year of freedom.


(Also, how amazing is this Jo Totes camera bag?! I absolutely adore it–especially for travel. Totally worth the investment.)

 What body image issues and fears do you need to get free from?



So, I’ve decided to try out this Five Minute Friday thing for the first time.  Five minutes of free writing–no planning ahead, no editing, no censoring. Today’s prompt is “belong.” Here goes…


For most of my life, I’ve struggled to feel that I truly belong.  I’ve always felt like an “other,” on the outskirts.  The awkward turtle.  Much to my surprise and annoyance, this did not go away when I became an adult. Not even when I turned 30.  Turns out it’s just as easy to feel outside the circle when you’re surrounded by soccer moms and young marrieds as it is when you’re surrounded by 17 year old girls.

Several times in the past year I’ve written about being brave, and about embracing freedom in all areas of my life.  One of the most freeing things I’ve realized? I do belong.  I am a daughter of the king, and He has called me by name to join His family, to be adopted, to take my place at the table.

Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

Girls: can we stop competing and being so intimidated by each other? We’re sisters, and we all belong.



As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been feeling worn out, drained, and exhausted the past couple of months, with absolutely zero desire or ability to do anything creative or productive. Every time I would sit down with my laptop to write, or venture out with my big girl camera, I ended up giving up very quickly.

Watching Parenthood–again–on Netflix was just so much easier.

A few weeks ago, I was complaining to a friend at work about how drained and worn out I felt. She told me that she’d been learning a lot about the importance of self care, and pouring into yourself so you can pour out to others. Super basic and obvious, right?

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The thing is, it’s impossible to create–to flourish–from a place of emptiness. An empty cup has nothing to pour out. Beyond that, when we try to create or serve from a place of exhaustion, to pour out of an empty cup, we are working from our own strength and striving, rather than from a place of blessing and rest in the Lord.

I realized I need to take time out to rest and take care of myself and fill my cup back up.

If you’re feeling stuck, with nothing to give, maybe your cup needs to be filled, too. Maybe, like me, you need to take a step back and have a little rest and get filled back up again.

La Jolla cup scripture (1 of 1)

Some ways I’ve been refilling and recharging:

-listening to life-giving sermons (I love Joyce Meyer’s podcast) on my way to and from work

-taking a break from blogging and basically anything productive

-forcing myself to go to bed earlier and get more sleep

-spending time outside (usually just sitting and reading with a glass of wine)

-working out–sucks in the moment, but it’s so, so worth it

-reading novels for the first time in ages

Are you feeling empty and worn out? What are you doing to recharge? Share on Instagram and Twitter using #refillyourcup



Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary… Psalm 40:31

As far as blogging is concerned, I have been the worst lately.  With the last minute trips (yes, plural) to England, dealing with my grandma’s death, and the disruption of home renovations (everyone has their floors replaced during a family crisis, right?), I have been maxed out and feeling completely drained.

So, after over a month (!) of radio silence, this is a little post to say I’m still here. The past couple of months I’ve been reeling, and I needed to find my balance.

Slowly but surely I’m feeling inspired and strong again, and I have big plans and dreams for this little corner of the internets.

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So…how’ve you been?!



My family has been going through a rough time.  My grandma (my mother’s mother, who lives in England) has been seriously ill for a few months. On Easter Sunday, I super last minute ran to the airport and jumped on a plane to London with my mother.  We were there for a week, and my mom is back there again now.

Today, we received some devastating news about my grandma’s health.  Phrases like “fluid in the lungs” and “rare cancerous tumors” and “hospice care” have been texted and spoken and just oh my goodness, you guys.

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My Grandma is sassy and funny and so wise.  She grew up in London and once seriously delayed lying on the ground to avoid a German bomb because she didn’t want to ruin her new aqua blue coat.  She talks about which celebrities have “dress sense” and how her maiden name is Knowles, like Beyonce.

Please pray for my grandparents–Iris and Bob. They’ve been together since they were 14 and 15.

 And now, for the sweet. 

In February, I met Brittany at the DFW Influence Network meet up.  I’m so thankful for this girl.

Her blog is adorable, and she is running a super cool series: The Ruby Project.  Brittany over-the-top blessed me a few months ago by asking if I would be a featured Ruby–um, yes please!!  She posted my Ruby feature today, and I’m incredibly humbled and grateful.  Brittany’s blog is one of my must-reads, and I think you’ll love it, too.

Ruby photo

One of the great photos Brittany took during our Ruby shoot