Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are you friends with a teenage girl online?

John leads worship at at least one convention a year. I see a lot of teenage girls at these things. They're sometimes giddy and following my husband around. Sometimes they're in heated conversations. Sometimes they're crying and having a hard time emotionally. Usually they're laughing and giggling in large packs, or at least groups of 2. 

Being around them makes me smile and brings so many happy memories. Memories of my own time at conventions like these and memories of being a counselor to teenage girls. I always recall an especially difficult weekend with a group of unruly middle school girls who gave me a hard time by purchasing lace panties at Victoria's Secret and swinging them over their heads in the mall. :] 

Those girls, grew up to be beautiful young women. They are still that crazy. They are still that funny. They are still that free spirited. And they still probably wouldn't listen to a word I had to say. 

Being around all these teenage girls reminds me of that wild and precious spirit that is so unique to being a female adolescent. 

I just want every woman to think back to being a teenage girl. 

Think about what you felt. 
what you thought.
how confused you might have been. 
how sure and confident you might have been. 
how electric your life felt. 
how devastating your life felt. 
how connected you felt to God. 
how far away He seemed. 
how your friends were like sisters and your worst enemy all at the same time. 

I have quite a few teenage girls that I'm friends with on Facebook. 
I'm not a youth counselor anymore. 
I don't have face to face interaction with teens much but I do see a lot of their lives online.
And sometimes it feels easy to want to judge them, correct their behavior, preach to them, try and reach them or even delete them so I don't have to see their booty poppin' selfies, over sharing statuses, and hashtags I don't understand. 
I'm sure you've been in that place of wanting to delete a teenage girl on Facebook.  I ready a pretty frustrating blog by a mom to boys a few months ago. It was all about not posting cleavage pics and how if you are inappropriate online you get unfriended by her and her family. I'm not condoning racy pictures or lewd behavior but I think about love that extends beyond tolerating so you can be a bigger influence. 

I think about a love that is more than grace for mistakes and crazy pictures and big time drama. I think about a love that honors and celebrates all the good in them. 

If you are friends with a teenage girl online (or even in person) - celebrate her. Comment on a picture and tell her she's lovely. Let her know you see her and you think she's awesome. Congratulate her accomplishments. She is figuring out life and sometimes she doesn't need correction just celebration for all the good she is. 

Celebrate her.  Celebrate their journeys. Celebrate their hearts. Pray for their struggles and not just the sins we think we're observing. That fight she had with her BFF is so real to her and she could use some comfort.

And remain friends with her online. Your presence and the fact that you want to be around her even when her life isn't perfect teaches her a lot about the heart of God. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Walking in the Woods

I surprised John with a walk in the woods a few weeks ago. He was born in the blue grass hills of Kentucky and raised in the winding mountains of Western Pennsylvania. He loves the woods and he loves hiking. There's not much of that going on in central Indiana. Mounds Park is about all we've got so that's where we went. 

It felt so peaceful and perfect - coffee in hand, light breeze, leaves about to change. 

How could a place so maze like, so twisty and complicated and full of thick trees and fallen leaves feel so peaceful?

And I felt like I was walking through my own life, my own head and heart. 

Life is good. Life is wonderful. Life is full. But lately it's felt a little confusing, a little hard to navigate and a little twisty. A little bit like walking through the woods. 

Everyday is always full of so many decisions. 

Should I go back to school? Twisty and complicated. 

Should I focus on building my business? Thick trees, fallen leaves and I can't see the path. 

Should we move? Should we save that money for a new car? Should we do this? Should we do that? 

Maybe you're not 24 and suffering a quarter life crisis. 

Maybe you're 50 and thinking about changing careers for the first time. Maybe you're deciding whether or not to start a family, or move, or how to spend your money. Or make a big decision that seems so daunting. 

Read Ecclesiastes with me. 

It's my "life book" for the year. 

"After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I've decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now.It’s useless to brood over how long we might live... "  - Ecclesiastes 5 

That's what I am trying to focus on. Simplicity. Enjoy the woods for what they are. Enjoy it. It is twisty. It is complicated. And it's good. 

I'm working on enjoying the confusion and messiness and all the complex parts of life. Because they will pass and in the end they don't really matter. Enjoy it - but it's just "smoke". "Like spitting in to the wind". 

And during this season of walking through the woods, with my husband, coffee in hand - I'm trying to enjoy the moment. Even if I don't know where I'm going. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fave Under 5

I really wanted to post a Sunday post from the Free House but things got a little crazy (in a good way) and I was unable to fulfill my own wishes.

So here's another Fave Under 5. Look for a Sunday post this week. As well as a few other goodies!

1. Pacifica Lip Tint from Target - $1.87 
- This stuff makes my heart pitter patter. I love Pacifica and this lip tint is so moisturizing. It also adds the perfect amount of color for fall. 

2. Dragon Fruit from Meijer - $2.00
- I had never had Dragon Fruit before. I was so excited to try this gorgeous fruit. I don't know if I got a bad one but it did not taste as wonderful as it looked.

3. Succulent - Free! 
- These little "Chicks and Hens" succulents grow right outside my house. I decided to cut some, let the stems seal off and plant them in pots with left over potting soil from the summer. Here's to hoping I can keep them alive. 

4. "Hello Sunshine" Print from Target - $0.25
- This scrap book stuff is so great. I feel like my picture frame greets me each time I look at it. 

5. South of France Soap from Earth Fare - $1.00
- If you don't have an Earth Fare near you then I feel very sorry for you. I got this fantastic, almond soap for just a buck. I keep sneaking whiffs of it. 

6. Poached Eggs from Meijer and my kitchen - $1.99
- It took me an entire carton and over two hours to figure out how to poach an egg. Once I figured it out I couldn't stop making them. They are just perfect little pouches of runny, eggy goodness! 

I hope you're loving the things you surround yourself with. I hope you are savoring every treasure and blessing you get. 

Breathe in the smell of your favorite soap, bring in some goodness from your garden, try a new trick in the kitchen. Whether it's free or whether it costs you a few nickels, savor it. Your heart will be fuller and life will be richer when you recognize the goodness around you. 

Share your Fave Under 5 with me in the comment section, on your own blog, on Twitter, and Instagram

Use the hashtag #FaveUnder5 and let's celebrate life! 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back At It & Fave Under 5

Every time I think I am going to write a blog I always think about the "The Free House". I started this blog when John and I were first married. I wanted to share all the ways I make most of what's free in life. The best and most wonderful things are free to us - ready to be taken! For me life is always about, and always will be about, enjoying the small things.

So I'm back! I'd like to make my entry back into the blogging world by sharing with you a new little list of mine.

These are my favorite finds for under $5. I love shopping. Gifts are my love language. I love a good deal. I always try to keep it simple. These are the things in my home that I'm constantly staring at and make my heart flutter when I walk by them. 

1. Foggy Forrest Coasters from Crate & Barrel - $4.95
- I couldn't believe how cheap these babies were. 6 for under 5. They make me excited for winter.

2. Bella by Illume from Target - $4.48 (clearance) 
- I'd been watching this candle for weeks at Target so I was thrilled when it dropped from 14.95 to under 5 dollars. And the mercury glass look makes my heart go pitter patter.

3. "Home is Wherever I'm With You" Picture from Target (scrap booking) - $0.25
- These little booklets are in the scrapbook section and full of gorgeous "Pinterest Worthy" prints!

4. Vintage Musical Terminology Book from Half Priced Books - $2.00
- I dug up some of John's old piano work books and felt inspired. I found this book and a few other musical treasures at Half Priced. Score.

5. Pomegranate from my local grocery store- $1.00
- I love love love using fresh food to decorate with. Plus I enjoy eating them.

6. Perfect White Pumpkin from Bloomington Farmer's Market - $2.00 
- I'm obsessed with this pumpkin. I wish I had 30 more. I love it's pure white color and perfectly twisty stem.

Those are my favorites (this week). I would LOVE to see your Fave Under 5s. It can be one thing or ten things. Just show me your favorite treasures you're enjoying that cost you less than $5.

Post them to your blog and leave a comment letting me know you've done so. I'll feature other people's Fave Under 5s periodically.
You can also post them to Instagram and use the hashtag #faveunder5 

If you look to the left you can also see my October Goals. Some are specific and some not so much. I'll update the goals monthly and even post a few blogs about how they're coming. I'd love for you to share your own October Goals with me in the comments - we can keep each other accountable!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Purple Lip Gloss and Blue Vases

As I am sure most of you have gathered by now - I'm afraid of a lot of things.

I'm afraid of snakes and wolves. I'm afraid to drive on 465 and to wear high heels.

I'm learning that growing up is not about changing the little things about myself but instead embracing them and growing into the things I am good at.

I will always be afraid to drive on 465 but I can rock wall climb.

I will always feel uncomfortable in heels but I can rock a pair of yoga pants.

So I am embracing those things about myself. I'm also discovering new things about myself. One of those things is that I love color!

Last week I painted a new blue vase for my office (tutorial blog to come). 

I purchased yellow mugs for our kitchen.

I love wearing my metallic nail polish.

And today I bought PURPLE lip gloss. So FUN!

It was surprisingly beautiful. I'm addicted.

And I'm addicted to color now.

I may never be the girl who can wear pink heels and feel awesome in them. And I will never be the girl who has a clean car.

But I can throw great parties and I can wear purple lip gloss.

So embrace who you are. Stop trying to change the things that don't matter and embrace a fun new side of yourself.

What new things are you embracing? What things are you letting go of'?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Learning to Live In My House

When we moved into our apartment 9 months ago I tried so hard to keep everything clean all the time. I didn't want anyone to walk in and see a messy house. I didn't want to decorate because we were unsure of how long we'll live in it. I kept things in their place because I thought it was what good wives do.

Some people might say I have just gotten lazy but I prefer the term comfortable. I let the food sit on the stove for a while. I don't pick up our shoes or dust every week. Or even every other week. I don't freak out when the laundry is sitting on my dresser for days. I feel comfortable in our little apartment now. But I had to learn to live here.

I had to learn that I didn't have to whisper at night because we had neighbors upstairs. I had to learn that marks on the walls come off - and even if they don't it's ok. I had to learn that it was more important to make memories than the bed or dinner.

I don't know where you're learning to live.

Maybe you're learning to live in a place of kids off at college.
Maybe you're learning to live in the place of forgiveness or constant illness.
Maybe you're learning to live in peace, or a new town, or with a new baby.

Where ever you are learning to live today I hope you take time to make memories. Learning to live somewhere can be scary and overwhelming. But I pray you take time to slow down, breathe and capture moments in your heart.

And maybe that means you don't make the bed.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

12 Dates Of Christmas

John and I love spending time with each other - just like any other couple.
John and I also love watching TV and surfing the web and playing on our phones - just like any other person.

So we struggle with fighting to put our electronics away and having quality time with each other. It seems like quality time can often mean spending money. Gas is so expensive that even driving to our local park to walk seems to cost five dollars or so.

I decided to come up with a fun Christmas idea that would get us off the couch and not cost a lot of money. There are so many inexpensive and free things that you can do around Christmas time.

  • I cut out 12 flag shaped pieces of Christmas themed scrap book paper.
  • I hung them up with glittered clothes pins on a piece of twine.
  • On each of the flags I wrote a lyrics to a Christmas song or Christmas carol.
  • Each lyrics coordinated with a Christmas themed surprise.
  • For example : "The three words that best describe you are as follow, and I quote, stink stank stunk" from the Grinch. For this activity I got a free one day pass to our local gym. 
  • If John could the name of the song then he got the coordinating surprise.
  • I hung it up on December 1st and he gets to pick one each day (sometimes 2 cause I'm a sucker for him).

Some of them were easy like - "Feliz Navidad" for a date out at Mexican restaurant.

And some of them were harder to guess.

We have had so much fun making gingerbread houses, Christmas dinners and cookies, looking at lights, etc. And it has been so fun to watch John try and guess the songs on the flags.

Other than a few supplies and one date out we have had 12 really inexpensive dates that have gotten us in the Christmas spirit!
Next year John is going to do it for me and some day we will do it with our kids.

What fun Christmas traditions or activities do you do with your family?