Friday, July 25, 2014

guest post | jenna's etsy crushes

today you get to see jenna from | dearest love | current etsy crushes.
woop woop!
i am all about some etsy (you know, all of my crush posts and our etsy swap!) so i was thrilled when jenna agreed to share some of her favorites!
enjoy! 

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Hello, Taking Steps Home readers! I'm so happy that Amy invited me to share my Etsy favorites today. Just a little background, Amy is one of my first blog crushes. I have admired her honest, real, and beautiful blog posts for months and months. I'm thankful now to call her a real friend! I can hardly wait to meet her this fall! Eek! Until then, Etsy favs. 


Oh, Etsy. I made it into a verb earlier this week. My friend asked me what I was doing, and I without-a-second-thought I replied with, "Oh, just Etsying". It's just fun to me to find so many pretty and cool things made by awesome creatives. The pieces that catch my eye are handmade, unique, and usually involve cats or coffee mugs. Here are some of my favorites this week:

1// Blue Brushstroke Pillow Cover
2// "It is Well" Print
3// Linen Cat Sleep Mask
4// Striped Washi Tape
5// Dotted Twig Pencils
6// Tiny Leaf Ring

What are you loving lately?

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next week i'll be back up and running like normal! let's just say that after this vacation i need a few long exercise sessions, lots of sleep, and editing of pictures! :) 

a big ol' thank you to all of the ladies who took over my space this week and gave me a little break, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

guest post | kiki with in its time

day 6 of vacation | travel day (please pray for safe travels)

oh kiki.
she is just...fantastic and so creative.
she blogs over at | in its time | and i am constantly inspired by her.
her love for Jesus, photography, and children is just overflowing.
you're going to love her little fiction piece today!


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image via Unsplash
Walking down the aisle was claustrophobic, to say the least. And then there was the stop and go traffic, too. People were shoving suitcases far too large into the tiny compartment above their heads. Others were trying to squeeze past them, trying to get to their seats. And then there was me, stuck in between. It was much too awkward to try and squeeze past the man in front of me but I knew that everyone behind me was waiting for me to move. The crossbody strap on my bag dug deeper into my shoulder and a held it close to my body as I tried moving forward.

"Finally!" The man exclaimed, looking around and waiting for some sort of congratulatory response. No one could hear him, though, because everyone else was too busy grumbling and oomphing to get comfortable.

I finally reached my seat and slid my bag underneath it. I looked out the window to my left and then looked around plane and watched as people continued down the aisle, looking from their seats in front of them to the ticket in their hands.

A woman and her crying baby stopped near my seat and I may or may not have prayed a silent prayer that she would move on. She looked at me, frazzled, and I forced a small sympathetic smile. She continued down the aisle and I let out a sigh of relief. At least I could try and get a little sleep on this flight.

I slid my earbuds in and tried to relax as the last stragglers found their seats. An older man sat down in the aisle seat, one chair from me, and nodded when I looked towards his direction. He pulled out a crossword puzzle book and immediately went to work, ignoring all of the people around him.

It seemed to relax and people seemed to be settling down when I felt the vibration of a person running down the aisle of the plane. I looked up and watched as he apologized to everyone he and his backpack bumped into as he continued down the plane. He ran past me but immediately turned around and tried climbing over the man in my row. He plopped down in the seat beside me and sighed a very audible sigh of relief.

He was out of breath and apparently pretty out of shape, too. I looked over at him, forcing yet another sympathetic smile and he smiled back, still trying to catch his breath. "Well, at least he's got the cute factor going," I thought. He tried pushing his over-stuffed backpack under the seat with his hands and accidentally whapped me with his backpack strap.

"Whoops, sorry about that!" he looked over at me and our eyes met. He smiled an overly friendly smile and reached out his hand.

"I'm Jeremy," he said. I could detect a slight accent in his voice and was instantly intrigued by this new seatmate.

I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled back--a genuine smile this time around. 

//

And I'm going to be that blogger and have you click over to my blog for part two of this fictional piece. Thanks for letting me take over your blog today, Amy! 

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uh...i don't know about you but i want to know what happens next!!!  snap kiki!! i hope i can read this while traveling!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

guest post | chelsea with anchors aweigh

day 5 of vacation | should be at cedar point today!

friends, i am so excited to have chelsea on the blog today. 
her & her husband always seem to have the most fun and are building incredible memories.
i love her attitude and perspective on life - i am constantly encouraged by her blog. 
enjoy!



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Hello Taking Steps Home readers! My name is Chelsea, and I blog over at Anchors Aweigh. Amy is one of the sweetest women I have had the pleasure of meeting through the blog world, so I am so excited to be taking over her little slice of the Internet for a day. Amy asked me to share a funny story with you all, so I thought I would tell you all about the time my twin sister and I switches places in high school. I have an identical twin sister, so it would have been sad not to pull the old switcharoo at least once, right? Here's a picture of us (I'm on the left, she's on the right).



We have always looked a lot alike, and senior year of high school, we decided to take advantage of that. After all, it would be criminal not to switch places and have a little fun, right? That was our view anyway. We switched places once in English class and got away with it, but we wanted to really have some fun with it. She ran track in high school, and I played tennis. I was at her track meet one afternoon to cheer her on, and she told me she didn't really feel like running her second race (the mile). We grinned and instantly saw an opportunity. We went to the bathroom as ourselves and came out completely switched. Let me preface the race with this: I am not a runner. Never had been, but this was just too good to pass up. 


I did some obnoxious stretches on the field as word got around the stands that it was actually me about to run.The gun went off, and everyone sprinted off! What?! I thought this was the mile and we were supposed to pace ourselves. I ran my little heart out and expected "my" coach to tell me I was doing a great job. I could tell by his face he was disappointed with my performance, so I pointed to my stomach and yelled "cramp!". I was feeling fine, but I needed an excuse for why I was apparently running so much slower than usual. Everyone in the stands was cheering for "me", which was quite the adrenaline rush! I ran the fastest mile time I have ever run and actually came in second to last place- I saw this as an accomplishment in and of itself since the poor girl I beat actually ran track. 

So here's the downside. The coaches found out, and the athletic department decided they needed to make an example out of us for other twins (cue giggling from us), so we both had to sit out on our next meet. It happened to be district, which was a huge disappointment that I had to deal with for a while, but it's a fun story to tell and a great story for the twin and I to look back on. 

Here are a few throwbacks from that wonderful senior year of high school. Can you tell us apart??




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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

guest post | megan with rivers and roads

day 4 of vacation | travel day (please pray for safety!)

today y'all get to hear from megan with | rivers and roads |
we are basically fraternal twins separated at birth.
she is hilarious, God-centered, compassionate, and creative.
i just stinking love her.

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it is no secret that i love my pups. i post pictures of them on instagram, and i talk about them here on this space. i also swap funny pet stories in normal conversation with friends. i don't know about you, but in my world, pets are part of the family. we love them and care for them, we snuggle them during thunderstorms, and we giggle at all their weirdness.

sometimes, on random evenings, i pull out the trusty DSLR to snap a few photos of their cute, furry faces. our chocolate lab, ceilidh (kay-lee) is super photogenic, but shadow, our mix, is not. she hates having pictures taken. if i want to get a "cute shadow face" picture, i have to sneak attack her with the camera. otherwise, i get what you see below. lots of "i'm not looking at you" or "i'm super annoyed" faces. she's so silly.

ceilidh is our sweet girl we bought as a puppy 11 years ago. when she was born, we went to see her several times before we got to bring her home, which was pretty special and fun. she has been such a joy of a pet. she may be a little grayer and walk more slowly these days, but she still has that little puppy heart. also, her amber eyes are my favorite.


things ceilidh likes
icecream
sunshine
popcorn on sundays (or any day)
having her ears rubbed
taking long naps
hiding from shadow


i adopted shadow a year and a half ago and am so glad i did. she is the sweetest and quirkiest dog i've ever met. she loooooooooves people. like wants to lick your face and sit in your lap all day long...and she's not exactly the size of a lap dog...but she doesn't know that. she is so weird...SO WEIRD and so cute...and makes me laugh on a daily basis.





things shadow likes:
goldfish
sunshine
snuggling AKA sitting in your lap
picking on playing with ceilidh
chasing bumblebees and butterflies
running at crazy speeds around the backyard
yawning in the most dramatic fashion possible
being with people ALL THE TIME (she's an extrovert)



what about you? do you have cute pets you love to talk about?

Monday, July 21, 2014

you are lovely | robyn

new installment | you are lovely series.

today you get to meet robyn.
she is a ray of sunshine - and tells it like it is.
she loves Jesus and is constantly sharing her joy.
there is just something about her that i always look forward to reading her blog.
i know you will enjoy her installment in this series.

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i remember reading an article in a magazine when i was younger, around 6th grade. i can't remember the exact title but it was something along the lines of "big girls can get dates too!" the basic premise of the article was that it didn't matter if you had a few extra pounds, some guys prefer a lovely personality over a lovely figure. i remember reading that and being so happy because that meant i could possibly have a boyfriend at some point in my life. because even if i couldn't get my body to be skinny enough to look lovely, then i could work on my personality.

how sad is that?! i think that sheds a lot of light on how our world views what it means to be lovely. we try to find loveliness in magazines, clothes, and makeup. we consult the world on what it really means to be beautiful. when all the while God has told us what it means to be beautiful in His word. but often that is the last place we look for our definition of beauty.

i could talk about so many things when it comes to viewing myself as lovely. my weight has gone up & down throughout my life. i have struggled with learning to love my body for years and years. i have fought with my hair for so long - straightened it every day for years, then finally leaving it curly and learning to love it in it's natural state. tanning because i am so pale, and finally learning to embrace my light skin tone. there are so many things i have learned about God and myself through these struggles. but today, i wanted to dig a little bit deeper.

because the thing that makes me feel most lovely isn't straight hair, tanned skin, or being my "ideal" weight. the thing that makes me feel lovely is when i am in deep relationship with Jesus. He sees me as lovely, and the closer i get to Him the more i can see it too. the thing that makes me feel lovely is doing what i was created to do - live intentionally and live vulnerably.


vulnerable: 
susceptible to being wounded or hurt
open to criticism
exposed

the world would tell us that being vulnerable means not wearing any makeup, letting the world see what you really look like behind the mask.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable means wearing your heart on your sleeve, and leaving yourself open to be hurt by others.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable is weak, ugly, even childish.

the world would tell us that being vulnerable is unattractive and not desirable.


lovely:
having a beauty that appeals to the heart as well as to the eye
of a great spiritual beauty
delightful

the Lord would tell us that to be vulnerable is to be lovely.

the Lord would tell us that He created our outward appearance and to Him we are all beautiful. we are not beautiful because of what we look like necessarily, but we are beautiful because we are a reflection of Him. we were made in His image & He is lovely.

the Lord would tell us that to be vulnerable has little to do with appearance and much more to do with letting people into our lives. after all, letting people see us without make up isn't all that vulnerable at all. true vulnerability is allowing people to see our sin, our struggles, our doubts, and our fears. true vulnerability is opening up the darkest parts of us and allowing people to speak into it. true vulnerability is doing life with other people & pushing each other on towards Christ. there is nothing more lovely than that.

the Lord would tell us that being vulnerable is the strongest thing we can do. because when we are vulnerable, when we share those deep parts of us with others, we give them permission to be vulnerable too. and when everyone is being vulnerable & sharing their lives & spurring each other on through sin - that is the beauty of community. that is how we were created to be. that is lovely.


that is what i want to focus on in my life. i want true vulnerability & true beauty. i want to see people for who they truly are - i want to look past outward appearances and get to know someone's soul. i want to see loveliness the way that God sees it. and i want my life, my actions, my heart to be lovely because they are so close to the Lord. i want to be seen as lovely because Jesus can be seen through me. 

some of the loveliest sunrises are after the darkest of nights. some of the most beautiful flowers grow through the ugliest of thorns. and even though being vulnerable can be painful, it is so worth it. even though being vulnerable can hurt, it is lovely.

www.robynsnest.org

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interested in joining in on this series?
leave a comment and i will get in touch. :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

friday | links



frankly...
i am so excited for this upcoming weekend/week. i am heading on a road trip with my aunt, uncle, two cousins, and broseph to niagara falls (canada side) and then over to cedar point theme park in ohio. WOOOOOOHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
i'll be the one doped up on dramamine and puking my guts out after a thousand rides. ;)
in all seriousness - i am extremely pumped.
stuffed in a car with family for hours, getting on each others nerves, building memories, taking pictures, laughing, being frustrated, being happy - all of it makes a great road trip and stories for years to come. and can i just say - NIAGARA FALLS!!! yu-yessssssssssssss.
i'll be having some friends share my space next week so make sure you show them some love. and check out my instagram & twitter (maybe) for updates on the trip - instagram for sure!

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+ 25 coffee shops around the world you must see.

+ one beautiful way to have your shop noticed (if I ever open a shop!)

+ this breakfast trend is interesting.

+ a beautiful picnic table makeover that made my heart swoon.

+ oh hello delicious looking salad I would eat for a week straight.

+ I am obsessed with all of their posts and photos - but this one, blew me away.

+ popsicles that make my mouth water.

+ hello gorgeous party alcove

+ mccay falls = yes please.

+ I laughed so hard I almost peed.

+ I want to be able to complete this - pure strength and awesomeness.

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you might have missed...


+ house list update | master bedroom

+ thoughts | being a blogger

+ home | perspective

+ daily | God encounter 


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

home | perspective


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i was working through the she reads truth devotional this morning (sermon on the mount day 11) when God moved in a mighty way.

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." - 1 Timothy 6:10

"Keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4:23

sting.
double sting.
to give a little background on my heart at the moment  in regards to this - i've been struggling with comparison. comparing my heart to others, my body to magazines, my home to pinterest, my cleaning style to the professionals, etc. i continually found myself not measuring up and just digging this self-loathing hole that was really hard to climb out of.

so God spoke, on something that was near and dear to me - comparison, idolatry (loving things/people/ideas/dreams , or holding other opinions higher than God).

so here are my thoughts, copied from my journal, raw and without editing.
sometimes we just need to pull the cover off and be real with each other.

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i often find myself "checking" my heart.
why do i want a pretty house?
why do i want to spend money on decorations?
why do i care about that?

i need to make sure it isn't simply for apperances. that i do these things with a purpose and without falling into greed with money. i do not want to envy other people's things. i do not want to carry that weight of constantly comparing;. Yet i find myself sucked into the pinterest and blog cycle of "bla bla bla - i want more, more pretty, more things, more crap..."

deep down - when i remove all of the flesh desires - i want my home to be shared. 

i want it to be a place where i invite people to come over, to share, to take a break and relax. i want it to be full of laughter, and sharing hearts, and community. THAT is what i want. not just "nice things to impress people" - but a welcoming home that people want to come to.

i want my house to be a home.

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which then started me dreaming of fall.
bonfires, lights, outdoor games with family, friends, and neighbors.
a night for each.
a moment in time, in my home dedicated to bless those who mean something to me.
people God has placed in my life and environment.

my perspective on my house has changed.
it isn't about doing 1,000 DIYs.
it isn't about having the perfect paint color or matching frames.
it isn't about perfection.
it's about inviting others in, and making a house my home.

so i'm challenged - and i'm starting to dream of nights full of laughter and conversation...and i'm so happy about it.

what is God teaching you lately?
how is He changing your perspective?


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