Monday, September 28, 2015

stories and memories and living a full life NOW.

If you ask me to tell you a story from tour, my brain begins processing several things: what kind of person you are, what sort of story you'd appreciate, whether I should make you laugh or make you serious, whether it should be about a particular place or event or just an every day life happening, or whether you would want to hear about the children or the staff.

dragging school day turned to joy in the rain {kalamazoo, mi}

And then, even with a category, there are so many stories to choose from that then I just have to sift through them all. Sometimes I have to stop and send up a silent prayer, "Jesus, WHICH ONE!?!" 

I literally have a bank of hundreds of quotes and stories from those twelve months that I can share at the drop of a hat, and it never gets old. Part of the reason is because I wrote down so much - I have a note on my phone of quotes and they make me laugh every time, and jog my memory if I happen to be drawing a blank. Or the thousands of photos on my computer. 

celebrating birthdays with some of my favorite people on this earth {ft collins, co}

Coming home, I realized that I have spent twenty YEARS with my siblings, and I don't have a story bank like that. I mean, we have thousands of memories, but they aren't well-defined stories and quotes in my head that I can share. We just....are.

liza's tenth birthday c. 2004

While I was on pinterest earlier this week (yes, yes, I was.) I ran across a quote that changed *everything*. I'm not going to copy it in its entirety here, cause I think it would take away from the point I'm making since it's in a different context, but essentially the gist of it is: our lives are beautiful and amazing and masterpieces waiting to happen. Don't wait to start making memories with your life - live it to the fullest starting *right now*.

As I read it, I realized that I have an opportunity, right now, to make hundreds of memories, store hundreds of stories and quotes, with seven of the world's most diverse and hilarious individuals. We all happen to live together, which makes it interesting, and we see each other every day. Literally every day, something hilarious happens, or an adventure, or something to remember.

three mile hike with the littles topped off with candy from the general store {charlottesville, va}

My life is canvas that the Lord is painting a masterpiece on. I can't see the finished product, 'cause it's not finished yet - DUH. And each person and each season that comes across my path becomes part of the colors and part of the work on the canvas. 

Right now, there's definitely a special grace on me because I'm in transition. I'm not real sure what's coming next, and I've spent a lot of time resting and being still and not doing much since I came home. But at the same time, being in transition/season of waiting/season of change is *no excuse* for not living to the fullest *right now.*

one of michael's junior varsity soccer games

Jesus died and rose again to make transitions a time of joy. Where discouragement, fear of the unknown, and worry used to reign, His blood brings hope, confidence and peace.

co-op day with susannah!

"Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." {romans 5}

church picnic with my gorgeous sisters

I haven't lived it perfectly, I'll be honest. Selfishness is a sneaky thing. I've had to ask forgiveness, reset my brain, take time away, turn off the phone and the computer and just go live. 

The day I realized my opportunity at home was a chance to build memories that my siblings and I will never forget, was the day the Lord flooded me with hope. It's become my new favorite word, my anthem song, the sparkle in my eye. There. Is. HOPE, because Jesus *is* Who He says He is, He always keeps His promises, and what I've entrusted to Him He will keep. There is hope.

roadtripping in frederick, md

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." {Romans 15}

"The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish." {proverbs 10}

"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." {isaiah 40}

"For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." {hebrews 6}

early morning prayer vigil outside planned parenthood as part of 40 Days for Life

I can, you can, live to the fullest right now. You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, and a Father God who loves you more than you could ever love Him back. Everyday is a new adventure with Jesus. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, even when you honestly have no clue what you'll be doing today, much less tomorrow or next week, we can still have vibrant, abundant life. That doesn't mean butterflies and rainbows everyday - it means solid, unwavering security in WHO. YOU. ARE to Jesus, and confidence that He is the one in control at all times.

underdogs for days <3

Everything I'm walking right now in my life requires courage. There's nothing that's flowing easy, or is simple, or straight forward and laid out. It's like the mist on the mountains around our home this morning - you can see right in front of you, but not much more than that. Every step I take in any direction requires courage and faith. And there are definitely days when I do not feel very brave. But the beautiful thing about Jesus and His truth, is that even when I don't feel it, His truth still stands. I'm more than a conqueror in His Name - whether I feel it or not.

So be brave today, live to the fullest! Make memories, record stories, treasure testimonies of His faithfulness in the depths of your heart. No matter what transition or season or uncertainty you are in, He is your Hope, and He doesn't change. He's just as in control as He was yesterday, and last month, and last year, and 2000 years ago, and when you rest in Him, you are free to live life the way He intended you to live.

"Love the LORD, all you His saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful
but abundantly repays those who act in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD!" {psalm 31}

Saturday, September 26, 2015


this is such a song of hope - and the pressing of my heart in this season I'm walking through. We are pioneers, sojourners, unafraid, walking forward in confidence into an unknown that does not daunt us. "Let your heart not be troubled." 

Oh, pioneer
I sing your song
It's the hymn of those who've gone before and those who carry on

Your work is hard
But the future of us all rests on the shoulders of your heart

Where are we going?
Oh, I don't know
But still I've got to go.
What will become of us?
Oh, I don't care...
All I know is, I'll go anywhere

Oh pioneer
So young and brave
Be careful of the careful souls who doubt you along the way

You orphaned child
Your mother is adventure and your father is the wild

Where are we going?
Oh, I don't know
But still I've got to go.
What will become of us?
Oh, I don't care...
All I know is, I'll go anywhere

Let your heart not be troubled... 

I won't run when bullets chase me
I won't rest where arms embrace me
I will love when people hate me
I won't hush, no you can't make me

Send the dark but it won't break me
You can try but you can't change me
Take my life, they will replace me
I won't hush, no you can't make me
I won't hush, no we will sing

Where are we going?

Oh, I don't know
But still I've got to go.
What will become of us?
Oh I don't care...
All I know is, I'll go anywhere

Let your heart not be troubled...

- pioneer, the band perry

Monday, September 21, 2015

{ fall stylebook and life in general }

This shirt was one I saw, grabbed, and threw together with all the other clothes I was going to try on in the dressing room while I was out shopping one day. Didn't think much of it on the rack, but what could I lose? I LOVED it once it was on. It's super soft, hilarious in every way, and pretty much perfect. And get this, neither of my parents thought it was weird? So yes, win in every way.

It works great with jeans for everyday, but it pairs nicely with the maxi skirt and jacket, and yes, I wore it to church. *wink* I usually wear a blue tank underneath it, since the front does ride a little bit high and could be awkward. Better safe than sorry! 

The shirt is Red Camel from Belk, and the skirt is Liz Claiborne and one of my wardrobe staples. I wore it the last part of tour *all the time* and it was perfect for everything from Sunday mornings to travel days on the bus. Same old denim jacket from forever ago, and the necklace is the same one from last week. 

Right now I'm all cozied up in a big shawl-ish sweater on our back porch with chocolate chai tea and my brown socks on (cause they match my sweater...and we all know that life is that much more comfortable when one's outfit is perfectly coordinated) watching and listening to the rain. It's not a nasty rain that makes you feel yucky and bored, but the cozy kind.

I'm missing people right now, but hey, what's new. Jesus is more beautiful today than ever before, and I'm finding that being thankful changes achy-heart-syndrome into hopeful-heart-reality.

Oh, here's a song I stumbled across last night. I don't know why it speaks to me, exactly, but it does. It has that twinge of hope, mingled with the acknowledgment of the unknown. I've had it on repeat, haha, and since it's The Band Perry, I feel like I might be seventeen all over again. *wink*

To close, this verse got tossed around on our team group text this morning (which is still my favorite happy thing ever) and it made my heart smile. Just a precious, tender and powerful reminder of Who's Hands my life is in.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
- zephaniah 3:17
Have a beautiful day my friends, wherever you are! Jesus loves you, He delights in you, and He wants you to walk in His truth and light today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

fall style book // denim and gold

Being home after being on the road for twelve months has posed an interesting, but not super problematic, problem. Clothes. After wearing essentially the same thing all year, now I have choices...and a little bit of a lack of imagination on how to actually wear them. Ha. Also, my style has changed quite a bit since I last really went through my closet, so it was definitely time for a makeover.

I sent a huge bin to Goodwill, and I'm down to my few favorite classic pieces, with room for new things as I happen across them. It's been an adventure that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and I thought I'd share some of my recent inspirations with you all as we move into autumn.

Autumn is my favorite season, and in these few transitional weeks of hot to warm weather to warmer to cooler to warmer again with a hot day thrown in, clothes need to be easily layered and versatile.

This is my outfit from this past Sunday.

This necklace is a new favorite! I found it on clearance at Belk, and ended up paying about $7 for it. (which, if you ever have tried shopping for new jewelry, you know that's a steal!) It goes with EVERYTHING and is just gypsy enough for me, and yet can also appear more classic I want it to. I wear it *all the time*.

My orange bracelet was made by friends of my sister's, who run a ministry that supports women in Africa. I've had it forever, and besides the fact that it goes with practically everything I have, it reminds of that precious place each time I put it on. See their website here: pretty purposeful.

The dress was thrifted by the lovely Darby Stouffer @ Darby's Dresses, and I bought it from her. It's a spaghetti strap, and since the weather was beautifully cool on Sunday morning, I paired it with a tank top and threw my trusty-rusty denim jacket over it to make it just right, but with the option of not having to wear the jacket if the day warmed up.

By the way, if you haven't checked out Darby's shop, you should! I've bought dresses from her before, before she had a business, and loved her reasonable prices and quality selection. And now I'm a repeat customer to Darby's Dresses and I'm happy as a clam! 

My boots are the same old brown ones I bought at Nordstrom's on my 17th birthday - the day Mama and I went to Washington D.C. to see Les Miserables. (<-- yes, I linked it. You're welcome - a little dose of young Liza never hurt anyone...eesh..) They're a little scuffed on the toes (due to a poor decision on my young(er) self to play *soccer* in them for a few minutes in the *mud*....oh, Liza....) but holding up just fine and I'm so happy each year when I get to break them out.

I'm planning on doing quite a few more of these (my new project, ha!) so stay tuned. Have a lovely day, my friends! Autumn is coming....

Friday, September 4, 2015

{ wanderlust : in which i go to yankee-italian territory }

And yes, about a week after I came home, I went on another trip.

This time driving. Driving through my beautiful, beautiful state up, over the Potomac River, to see my favorite Italians. It was a beautiful drive, and wonderfully restful visit. Complete with all kinds of busy-ness, but still lovely.

We talked. And I observed as Brianna packed the littles for vacation to Orlando and Tybee.

And I kept Kaitlin company as she worked on a project for Ellie, and sang her songs on guitar and piano and fell asleep on the basement couch (which is the best couch in the whole world, just so you know)

And one day we took Emma to her FBI (Faith Bible Institute) class and I got to sit in and it was wonderfully encouraging. Praise Jesus for truth that never changes!

And then we got Starbucks, dropped Emma at her violin lesson, and ran errands. Then we picked her up and got stuck in traffic - so we took a detour and listened to music and talked.

And then we swam in the pool a lot. And talked more. And ate food.

And played Bananagrams.

Nana and I are not very much alike, but I appreciate her so much. Honestly, we're actually in very similar seasons of life, and it was so crazy encouraging to talk about Jesus and servanthood and LIFE and press each other onto greater, higher things.

And then we turned right around and started talking about planning my wedding ('cause even though we're grown up, we're not *too* grown up...) - she's the kind of friend who's already volunteered to be my wedding planner, and we spent time talking about colors and ideas, and we *actually* have a private Pinterest board with ideas we're collecting. Don't worry world, I'm not getting married any time soon....but doesn't hurt to be prepared, right? *winky face that you can't see*

So thankful for this family of eleven, and the testimony they are of the faithfulness and love of God. It's been such a privilege to walk life next to them for the past six years, and watch the Lord grow and shape and build them up and use them to bless others.

And Jesus blessed me with a beautiful and peaceful drive home again, 'cause He's good like that. Different route than the way up, just so I could see my lovely state from a different angle. And I got to smile and love on a the girl who was out taking a break from her shift at Panera - which was pretty much the best thing ever.

And so ended my little jaunt up north. A lovely refresh, reset, refocus time, and then two-feet-first jumping in back home. Life is never dull, and with Jesus, it's just one adventure after another.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." - Galatians 4