Happy Friday!

 

What are you up to this weekend? We will be out on Chris's parents ranch out in west Texas, and we're bringing Penny! This will be our first opportunity to see her literally unleashed in a yard. I think she's going to love it. 

I've also added a fun new feature to TPA... a newsletter! I've wanted to provide this to you all for so long, and I'm thrilled that I finally got brave about it. I promise not to bog down your inbox, because I'm only going to send you something at the first of each month. You'll receive a recap of the past month's blog posts, a personal letter from me, and a FREE downloadable print! It might be a little something to help with your daily tasks, pretty artwork for your home or office space, or a gift for friends and family.

The newsletter is also helpful for those of you who don't use Bloglovin or Facebook as a way to stay updated on the latest posts. This will be a great way to get caught up from all the TPA content that you may have missed. Sign up now so you get that March 1st newsletter on Sunday! Fill out the form below, or use the form in the left-hand column.

So honored and thrilled to be able to serve you, sweet friends. Happy weekend!

 

PS... is there something specific you'd like to see in the newsletter? A form to use when meal planning? A blog planner for my blogger friends? An "out-the-door" checklist? Leave a comment or shoot me an email to let me know! 

Home Inspiration: Patterned Tile

I was looking through my home pinboard the other day, and noticed I've pinned a hefty amount of patterned tile. Whether it's a kitchen backsplash or a bathroom floor, a hit of color and texture does my heart just right. I'm not one for bold statements, but I think in a simple room it could add such great life. Thoughts?

 
3e0fddf3dde27e751b41c92e0d86eb3b.jpg
 

Happy Friday!

 

Happy Friday, friends! This weekend we're planning on spending time with friends and Penny. It's been such a joy being her "mommy," and she's teaching me so much about loving in a way that's wild and free. Hoping to get a tiny run in with her and see how she does! I think we're both going to love it. 

Here's some links for your weekend: 

  • This cabin is insanely dreamy. Visit here to see the whole thing!
  • Found this list of dog-friendly spots in Dallas. I'd love further recommendations... where are your favorite places to go with your pup? 
  • Swimsuit season is around the corner (#what), and I was just recently introduced to this site. Really love those skirts! 
  • 3 cures for the common salad. Noms.
  • A pretty place to write your prayers.

What kind of file is this?

Hi friends – back with a Blogging Basics post for you! This month, we're talking all about filetypes. There's so many out there, and it can be really hard to understand what's what. So let's dig in and chat about .jpg, .png, .pdf, etc. and how and when to use them. This comes in handy for a lot of my clients when it comes to their logo files – I give them several different formats (detailed out in the Price List) for them to get optimum use! Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions! 

Clean.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

- 2 Corinthians 5:17

As followers of Christ, we're literally a new creation. The old is gone, and we are made new. Our identity is different than previous to following Jesus. This is vital for me to remember. 

My identity without Jesus was so messed up. I love that because of his love for me and nothing of myself, I get to be a new person. I get a fresh start, a clean slate, a new "me."

I was baptized and gave my life to Christ in the seventh grade. However, as teenage emotions set in, I began pursuing whatever it was that I wanted. These desires always had good intentions... "If I date that person, I can fix them." "I want my parents to be proud of me." "I want to feel loved." But (of course) nothing satisfied; nothing I chased outside of God comforted me, because it wasn't Him. Most of what I chased led to destruction and not happiness, and continually led me down the path to depression.

When Chris and I started dating one of the hardest things for me was realizing that I didn't have to chase him. He pursued me, and experiencing this for the first time was mind-blowing. All of my past understandings about how a relationship worked were rocked. What was especially wonderful was that, for the first several months we knew each other, we had an entire ocean separating us... Chris and I actually met online. 

It wasn't through Match.com, but it was through Facebook. We had lots of mutual friends at the small Christian college we attended, but we had never met before. At the time, Chris was studying abroad for the fall semester in Oxford, and I was on campus in Abilene. I was also just beginning to go to counseling to work through my years-long battle with depression. Through what I know was the Holy Spirit on the move, we began chatting on Facebook, which turned into chatting via text messages, which turned into early morning or late night Skype calls. We had the incredible opportunity to get to know each other as friends without the physical temptations we both had faced in past relationships. As it became clear that this relationship was one we were interested in pursuing when Chris got back to Abilene, we started having more serious conversations – including talking through our past relationships and past struggles. We both came with a lot of baggage, but the foundation we were laying for our relationship came with a lot of grace. 

When Chris got back from Oxford, we began dating. While it was easy being together, it was also hard. Physical boundaries weren't specifically set, and there were seasons where we messed up. Thankfully, God was working in both of our hearts to chase out the temptations in our relationship. He was wooing us to Himself, and in turn, it wooed us even more towards each other. Our eyes were being opened to the fact that the most loving thing we could do for each other was to respect each other physically. And it didn't happen quickly – we had veered far off of the path God had intended for our relationship, and it took time to find our way out of the woods. I'm so thankful for the way the Holy Spirit called out to us and for the many date nights we had that ended in tears – it was through those intense discussions, where we admitted things weren't right, that God was lovingly putting two broken people together for His glory. 

Not every relationship works out the way ours did. I really am continually amazed at how God has been speaking to us about things at the same time. So far, we haven't had a season where we've had to play "catch up" with each other – and I know if that does come, God will be right there with each of us. But being on the same page, by God's great mercy, has been so beautiful for our relationship and for our marriage. There's still seasons where the physical sins we walked in come back to haunt us and hinder our marriage. I'm so thankful to have a Christ-centered marriage and Christ-centered friendships where I'm free to be vulnerable in my brokenness and have them point me back to Christ and who He says I am.

He takes my shame; He calls me blameless before Him. He says I am whole in Him, and I am being made holy. He has forgiven me for my past and made me clean with His blood. I can't believe someone would love me that much... and would make beautiful flowers (like this marriage) come out of my dirty soil. Hearing His words of love towards me poured out of the mouths of my friends and my husband is truly a healing balm to my soul. My heart breaks over my past, and He is using them to mend it, piece by piece. My identity has been made new in Christ, and it's no longer claimed by my past. It's not based on anything I have or haven't done, but is in fact based on everything Jesus did and didn't do. He took on my sin, died on a cross as a sinless man, and because of that – I get a new life. 

I am a new creation. Literally. I read this truth over and over again:  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

Thank you, sweet Chris, for loving me and pursuing me daily, waving the banner of Christ. I love you more every day, but the best reality is that Christ loves you infinitely more than I do. Happy Valentine's Day.