baby girl, i could never put you on paper.
provision is a tricky concept for me. because when i think of the word it's hard to avoid thinking "getting what i need, when i need it, as i see fit." which is silly, but i'm guessing i'm not the only one. i know someone whose internet bill was mysteriously paid for them for four years and they never did figure out who was paying it or why. i mean, that's the kind of provision i'm talking about, right? fall from the sky, "poof" in your lap provision. thanks God!
in reality, provision often takes shapes and forms that i don't expect or anticipate. and comes at times that i don't expect. and it usually teaches me something.
like that time when we had a surprise baby and we weren't sure how we were going to pay for childcare and hospital bills and [insert everything else]... and we were sweating it big time and had no clue how we were going to make the ends meet. and then a couple months later i got a check in the mail that completely covered childcare for that month. yeah, that happened too.
it happened last month when i got my paycheck from my arbonne business in the mail. i double took. and i definitely shed some tears. and i thought,
"man, if you were to have told me four months ago when i started this business that it would become this kind of provision for us, i'd have laughed my face off at you,"
but there i was, smacked in the face with it. and so thankful. it was exactly (almost to the dollar) what childcare cost us. and it couldn't have been more timely because,
this month, i found myself in an unexpected gap between jobs, duke paycheck gone, and again that check appeared in the mail.
when i started my business i was hoping for a few extra bucks a month, but it has quickly turned into a life-changer for us. and not only that, but it's been a joy. i get to teach people how to make healthy choices. i get to teach people about their bodies and what it means to take care of them. i get to use pure, safe, and beneficial products in my home and on my family. and i get to teach others how to do the same.
yesterday morning i sat out on my screen porch while florence napped and worked on my business and i thought to myself "who gets to do this?" who gets to have a business they can work from home and still contribute to their family? who can work where and when they want? i know women in arbonne who were working multiple jobs and have replaced their income and get to spend time with their kids now. i know women in arbonne who have replaced their income at six-figure jobs because they realized they wanted more choices and more balance.
and then, there is me. a mother who would love to spend more time with her daughter. who would love to work fewer hours outside the home. who would love to visit her family on the west coast more. who would love to give more generously and pour out more on others. and you know, arbonne is doing that for me. and i have big goals and my sights set high. in fact, this month, i am working hard toward my second of four promotional levels in arbonne. and it's exciting and nerve-wrecking and humbling all at once. and it feels vulnerable to share all this. but vulnerability is a goal of mine lately.
so that's the surprising face of God's provision for me lately. if you are interested in hearing more i would love to tell you. i am kind of in love with this company. and for your viewing pleasure, here is a short video that shows the heart behind what it is we do and why.
ok, love you all! thanks for reading and caring and being so wonderful!
love you all!!!
i have been thinking a lot lately about my own personal growth. becoming both a wife and a mother within two years time will do that to you. not to mention starting a business. and it's a hard topic to write about because most of my thoughts on the topic end up confused and fuzzy in my head. to me, personal growth is just another term for sanctification. to me, the idea of personal growth is intrinsically linked to the process of continually growing more similar to Christ. and man did He have a lot of characteristics that i could use a little more of my life. but of all of them, my search for "personal growth," has landed on one that i think might just be key, at least for me.
yep, that's it.
speaking of, i'm feeling a bit vulnerable as i write this...
so, it makes me feel vulnerable to call my sister up and tell her this, that, or the other about how i need help knowing what to do with florence. it feels vulnerable to invite people into my home that never feels as clean as our pre-bambina days and hope they feel comfortable. it feels vulnerable to turn down opportunities with people because we can't afford them right now. it feels vulnerable to apply for new jobs and wonder how many will choose someone else. it feels vulnerable to invite college students into my home and try to lead them spiritually because i know that they are going to see all the many ways i fall short, all the time. it feels vulnerable to share my love of Christ with other people who think it's ridiculous. it feels vulnerable to start a new business because i realize that i want to work fewer hours outside of the home away from florence and hope that it works, and that people are supportive of it. it feels vulnerable to reach out to people i don't know very well just because i feel the nudge to encourage them. it feels vulnerable to try something and have no idea whether it will work or not or whether people will like it. it feels vulnerable to let people get to know me while wondering if they'll like me.
are you getting the picture?
it feels vulnerable to have a masters degree...and to have dreams that are different from it.
it feels vulnerable to raise a human when you are so far from the human you want to be.
it feels vulnerable to fail at something you expected to succeed at and get back up and try that very same thing again. or maybe ten more times even.
it feels vulnerable to admit that i am the one who needs to change.
it feels vulnerable to admit that, "i don't know" or worse, "i'm wrong."
but the reason this idea has been spinning around and around in my head is because i finally realized that when i'm vulnerable, i grow. it's like what the sun does for my tomato plants. it's imperative. when i'm timid and driven by fear, i'm stagnant. when i'm vulnerable and honest, i grow. it's so simple.
i've found that vulnerability just oozes with authenticity.
and that's important to me.
i'm still working all of this out in my head. like it said, it's fuzzy in there these days. but this is as much of it as i could de-tangle and throw onto this little blog of mine today. so there you have it. is anyone with me on this? i'd sure love to hear. love you all!
ps, it's nice to be back. :)
i love the month of march. and this march i've gotten to see my sister, my niece, my best friends, and a lot of great college basketball. plus both of my alma maters are seeded high in the tourny and playing their first round games in raleigh. so...i'm in a pretty good mood about it all. and as a result i've decided to do my first ever giveaway.
so here is a crazy story,
two weeks ago we were almost going to move to wilmington. but as it turns out, and much to our surprise, we are not.
need some explanation?
adam and i have had this sense for awhile that God may have a plan to uproot us at some point. we aren't sure why or when, but we are pretty confident it will happen. for whatever reason when our church announced that they are planting a church in wilmington we both had the thought "huh, this could be it." so out of obedience we started going to interest meetings, getting to know (and LOVE!) the team, and praying hard core about the decision. of course, all we wanted was a clear answer. and of course, we weren't getting one. for a couple months.
two weekends ago we went on a retreat to wilmington with the team. we worshiped together, served together, and started to solidify some friendships we were getting excited about. it was an amazing weekend and we felt the clarity coming just around the corner. we drove through some neighborhoods and looked at houses. we picked one out that we had big plans to "fix up." it was all but written in stone.
we got home and started thinking about whether we could sell our place, how we would approach the job searches in wilmington, etc. we were right there.
and then monday came.
i woke up and was praying, and for the first time (maybe in my life) i got a resounding answer. and it wasn't a "yes" to my surprise. it was a great big "no." i didn't tell adam at that point. i wanted to see if by some miracle God would give him the same clarity. later that day i was nursing on the couch and i heard adam from the kitchen say "sweetheart. i don't think we are going."
so there it was. this answer we'd prayed and prayed and prayed for. and it was the exact opposite of what we thought we'd hear. we were willing to uproot our life. move with our new baby. start over with friendships. and really? you're telling us no??
it was confusing and relieving all at the same time. it was the first time we'd gone through a really big decision process together. and we learned several things:
what it means to have open hands.
what it means to be patient.
what it means to trust the Holy Spirit.
what it means to be willing to move somewhere else to live a totally missional life.
what it means to stay where you are, in a city you already have a huge heart for, and be missionaries here.
maybe that's why we went through this.
maybe that's one (of many) things that God taught us.
so yeah, we almost moved to wilmingtong
but we didn't.
hey durham. what's up.
each day begins a whole new fascination with each other.
a fascination with his whiskers,
and with her gummy smiles
they snuggle in bed together each morning and get to know each other more and more.
to love each other more and more. without really knowing why.
and i get to watch it all happen.
and it totally melts me.
there is no one who he beams at like he beams at her.
there is no one who she smiles at like she smiles at him.
they are such a perfect picture of love to me.
they are such a perfect pair.
gosh, these two together.
something about a papa and his little girl.
a little girl and her papa.
it's so beautiful.
i knew i would explode seeing adam with her.
when we were still waiting for her, i imagined them together.
but by golly, if it's not a thousand times sweeter than i ever even imagined.
and aren't i the lucky one?
to be the third in this family.
these two are mine.
it's just too good.
so this arbonne thing has caught me quite by surprise. when i first began i knew i loved the products. i knew i admired the company's philosophy and commitment to being pure, safe, and beneficial. i knew i felt safe putting it on my skin, which is hard to say of most products these days. so i thought i knew a lot, but it turns out i knew very little.
since joining i've discovered that arbonne is a company made up of amazing teams of women who have servant hearts and great passion. they share the common belief that we should make healthy choices and take care of our bodies. that we shouldn't take the easy way out but. that our bodies are temples and that we should be careful about what we put in and on them. that it really does make a difference.
i didn't realize that arbonne would become more than a business to me. it's a network of other, rather incredible, like-minded women. i couldn't be more grateful to be a part of it. and to get to share it with other women too.
last weekend my sister and i played with arbonne products together a lot...when we weren't playing with our babies. adam is enjoying using the men's line too. getting to share this stuff with my family and friends, and even strangers, is such a joy. i feel like it's a little gift every time i can help someone find something awesome to try that will make their skin more healthy and beautiful!
here are a few of my favorite fun facts about arbonne:
-in the EU there are thousands of banned ingredients for skincare products. this is because there are lots of things that should never touch our skin. in the US there are about ten. (gasp, i know). arbonne adheres to the strict EU standards and makes products that are pure, safe, and beneficial. also, they did this before it was cool to be "natural."
-arbonne formulates without mineral oil. mineral oil is basically just a nice sounding name for a by-product of gasoline production. yep, it's petroleum waste. and it's in nearly all skincare products in the US. we put gasoline on our skin? seriously? (can you say carcinogen?) and we are ok with that? it's also what we make baby oil with. eeew. not for florence, thank you very much.