From House to Home…

"Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared, then you’re not doing it right.”

Giving thanks…

Today I give thanks… I’m grateful to live in a free nation, one that was born out of a desperate need to flee religious persecution, and continues to be a place of refuge for people from ever different background and life experience.

I may not know your whole story, or even the best parts. I may not have the same spiritual beliefs, moral viewpoint, skin color, personal preferences, but I believe my God called me to love. And so I walk through my life everyday, in the most imperfect of ways, and I work towards love. I have no right to judge you, your circumstances or choices. Fear, hatred, discrimination, judgement – these things drive away those that need love most, and though I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the past – I hope going forward my own words ring true each day as I walk through this life.

walking

This nation is one that allows us to voice our opinions, to speak up and stand up for what we believe, however too many times over these last months I’ve heard people take that to sickening extremes. How can we possibly remain the free and equal nation our forefathers sought to create if we regress to a point of ignorance, discrimination, and flat out hatred? I believe my God gave me an example of how to be love to those that need it, and I’m sad to see so many who claim similar beliefs act in complete opposition to the example that has been given.

Each day we wake up and make choices in our own lives, and its up to us to line those choices up with what we believe in our hearts. I didn’t choose to be born in the US, but I’m so glad that I was. No one is perfect, and certainly we will never agree fully on every subject… But know this – I’ve chosen my home, and I’m incredibly grateful for the freedoms that have been granted to us here. I believe in democracy for what I understand it to be, and the democracy I chose to live in served us yesterday with a path for our future, this future may not be the one you agree with, or I agree with – and all our lives will be affected because of it. But each day you wake up and make a choice – do you believe in the model this nation was built on and continues to exist on, or not? If not, maybe it’s time to get out there and take advantage of the opportunities we’ve been afforded in this great nation and work to change things. That is the great power of this nation, we all have a voice and its up to us how we want to use it.

paths

There are many paths to the end – and I choose love. I am humbled by this place I call home. I am moved by the choices people make each day in living out their freedom. Stand up for what you believe in, please, but don’t do so in ignorance, discrimination, or hatred. Hatred doesn’t encourage change, it ruins it. It is with love that we win hearts and work towards a brighter future.

With love,

Shawna

thankful.

To my husband…

I would have to be so bold as to say that from the very first interaction I had with my husband I knew, somewhere, that he was the one.  The likelihood, the stats, the world – all of it really isn’t in favor of that kind of story… being a child of divorced parents might even encourage such practical thinking as something like that being incredibly unlikely.  But a long time ago I felt God put in my heart that “the one” would come into my life swiftly, maybe even somewhat unexpectedly, and I would know without question who he was.

On eHarmony you do things like take this incredibly long test and answer a gazillion questions and pay way too much money, but I figured if I was going to give the dating website world a shot this would be a place I’d be comfortable.  When my husbands profile was matched with mine and I read through his answers there was one that stuck out at me, and really touched me at the deepest core – I guess you could say I was hooked :-)

Of course, that was really just the beginning.  We’ll both admit that we thought about closing out the match and moving on, but something… some One… pulled us forward.  Somewhere into the communications back and forth my husband told me that he and his family were in the moving process and planning to go to FL – literally, they had already started packing, and had visited the area they were looking at to find a house – but still I was not shaken, I was prepared to go – as crazy as that sounds – but I can only suffice it to say that when you know, you know — and well, I knew.

I knew that he was the one – we hadn’t even spoken yet! – but I felt that connection, that knowing that he was the one.  When we started talking on the phone it only cemented that feeling… we literally spent hours at a time talking with each other and in a very short time he knew more about me than even some of the closest people in my life.  He gave me a sense of self awareness, a sense of confidence in myself that I hadn’t had before.  So many times in the years leading up to that point I sacrificed myself for others, shut off a part of my heart and my soul to be accepted and included in others lives, leaving me empty and unsure of who I was.  But in him I found me – really for the first time in my life.

There’s an intense tornado of conflicting emotions that goes on when you realize you’ve been given something you always wanted and are just so blessed to have.  Part of me just wanted to hurry it all up, to jump to the part where there’s no awkwardness and all the junk and mess in life is figured out so we could just live, at last.  The other part of me was intensely anxious that all of this could be taken away.  For a while in the beginning we only saw each other on weekends due to the distance between us, and even as we fast approached moving in together we both felt that intense feeling that it was all fleeting and what we had just been so blessed to find would somehow come to an end.

Fast forward through moving in, getting engaged (he proposed on 12/3/09 in beautiful Gatlinburg, TN), holding it together through unemployment and financial struggles and family struggles, and moving at last into our own apartment, at last we arrived at the moment where we’d be joined before God, family, and friends as husband and wife.  Our wedding was intensely personal and 100% a dream come true.  The love and support we felt leading up to that point – on that day – and every day since… it truly touches us and rocks us to our core – we are so blessed.  If we could some how replay that day over and over I still wouldn’t tire of it.  We wrote our ceremony and vows, we picked every detail of the ceremony and reception, and the whole thing went off with very little hiccups – and the few that snuck in certainly didn’t damper the high we had through it all.

As incredibly blessed as we are we have absolutely been through some intense struggles and challenges.  We’ve been brought to our knees, broken before God, seeking His face and direction on how to move forward.  Every step of the way we’ve had to work for what came next.  The ride has only just begun… our commitment to each other before God is unbreakable — but not unshakeable.  There will always be trials.  We’re going to spend the rest of our lives figuring ourselves out, figuring out each other, and adjusting to what life brings… but we are so incredibly blessed.

I’m incredibly grateful for my friends and family, but my life wouldn’t be complete without him.  I’m so hard on him, I push him – I make him crazy LOL – but if there’s anyone who can understand the unbreakable tie of our vows and commitment to each other – it’s him.  There are no secrets between us, there is no part of our past left uncovered, no life struggle or experience the other doesn’t know about. We know the depths of each others heart and soul and even know each other better than ourselves at times.  We challenge each other to be more, to be better, and there’s comfort in each other that doesn’t exist anywhere else for when we just can’t take anymore of this world.  When others have disappointed, let down, abandoned – we stand together.

I know it may seem like I’m bragging or something – but can I tell you the truth?  I wish this for each and every one of you.  It’s maddening, and at the same time so intensely fulfilling — and nothing compares outside our relationship with God.  Our families, one day children, and so many other blessings we will experience may come close – and I’m not unaware of how incredibly blessed we are in those areas of our lives as well – but I believe God made one person for us to be a comfort and support in our time on this earth – and for me he’s the only one.  No one can push me harder, can make me believe that I’m beautiful and smart, can make me laugh or bring me to tears, or can bring me closer to God than him.  I’ve said it before – I’ll say it until my dying days — I am so incredibly blessed to have him.

We’re now three days shy of our 1 year wedding anniversary… in two short years we have grown, matured, and come through so much together.  I’m so grateful to have him in my life, and I am so excited for all that is to come in our lives.

Baby – from the bottom of my heart – thank you… for putting up with me, for making me laugh, for encouraging me, for lifting me up and reminding me of who I am.  I love you more than life itself, and I know that the love we have transcends this world and extends into the next.  Even when our lives in this world come to an end I know you will stand beside me in eternity.

With love,

Shawna

 

His still small voice…

I try to write but the words don’t come.  Line after line ends in mutiny – nowhere to go and so I erase and try to start again.  This is one of those nights where I can’t bring myself to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.  Nothing satisfies me, and so I sit numb, unfulfilled.

The moon is bright and his face looks on quietly.  The air is crisp, the night sky is painted a  pensive shade of midnight blue and the stars look on in witness of an unsettled world .  I took a walk to calm myself, to burn off pent-up energy that comes from a long day with an even longer list of things to do.  Alas, there is no satisfaction as the day comes to an end, except that we are one day closer to holiday and 3-day weekending.

I look around our unfinished house and know the ins and outs of every decorating idea, every paint color, and still I sit – impotent – without the money, time, or energy to accomplish what sits so impatiently in my mind’s eye.

I want to enjoy this life, live in the moments as they’re happening still – but the time flies by, or worse – crawls along excruciatingly slow when we long to move on from our struggles.  Change follows on the heels of more change – and in its dust leaves a most unsettled feeling.  After what seems too long we moved into our house, slowly we’ve let go of the heartache of being uprooted from the church we once called home, and now we work diligently to find another… but it seems an impossible feat to even match what was left behind.

Is it impossible to find satisfaction in the here and now?  Is it impossible to not only be in God’s grace, favor and light and to still diligently seek him with the faith and fervor that comes when in the dark?  Maybe if we could just rest in that place we could find the satisfaction we seek.

I try desperately to cling to the moments that are rushing past.  I’m grateful for the progress, the victory in our lives, but it seems impossible to truly be awake in the day-to-day moments of life.  The ways of the world fatigue me, the melancholies grey out the beauty that exists in this creation we dwell in.  And so I get down on my knees and reach out to the only one who truly gives peace…

Will you join me here – on our faces before God?  It’s there on the floor that we leave behind all the things that hold us back.  It’s there that we’re washed in His blood, redeemed from the curse of this world.  It’s there we find grace, and light, and comfort.  It’s there we’re granted peace, and we find the truth that surpasses understanding.

Whatever it is you are in the middle of today, know that He is causing it to work for your good, even if that seems an impossible task…  even if it’s your fault, even if it’s the mess left after a poor attempt at self-reliance apart from God.  This cycle – this mountain we go around endlessly – feeling stuck, being brought out through exodus, all too quickly getting comfortable, and stupidly becoming self-reliant in a false sense of confidence – we can pull the plug, we can stop the madness.  We can let go of the reigns and sit covered in his mercy’s made new with each rising of the sun.

He is the key that unlocks all doors, He is the answer to all of life’s questions, He is the truth in a sea of lies – and I believe He’s always with us… if we’ll humbly seek His face we will find He was there all along.

There is still so much left to learn in this life, so with a quieted mind I look on with hunger in my eyes – longing to know His truths.  I accept His forgiveness, once more – knowing I’ll need it still again and again in the future.  I am grateful that His love is unending, unconditional, unwavering.  I find in Him the solace I need from this world, and I breath in His peace.  I leave my concerns and worries for another day – and I sit, listening for His still small voice within me.  It’s then I can hear Him say *I love you*, and I am made new.

With love,

Shawna

For you…

He said He would give me the words that you need, and so I type – in faith – believing that He will work through me.  Even as I sit here, I’m attempting to catch my breath – exhausted from the day, tired of thinking and plugging away at things that seem to matter to few (except when they’re not taken care of, that is)… but the need to reach you just won’t go away.  Even when I don’t feel like giving in to this burden I feel on my heart, you are there – waiting, for whatever it is He needs to say to you.  And so I write – because His words are within me, begging to come out.

How long has it been since I’ve last seen your face?  Minutes, hours, days, even years?  A moment or forever – it sneaks past like thieves in the night, challenges and triumphs alike disappearing with the morning sun.  And who did you see, when you last looked upon my face, did I live up to your expectations?  Will this image get in the way of the words He is speaking to you?  Again He says… this is not about me — it’s about you.  And so I trust that somehow, someway – today, you are overlooking those things that so often drown out His voice, so that you can hear from Him – even though it comes through me.

Maybe you’re doubting in this moment… can she really be talking to me?  Is there someone else, someone different He’s working to reach through her?  The answer is no - you are His child, and it’s you He’s working to reach, it’s you that weighs heavy on His heart – and so you weigh on mine as well.

We are but imperfect vessels, you and I, and yet He chose us.  There’s something, someone in your life too that He wants to reach – someone that can be reached only through you.  It seems impossible that anyone would listen to the likes of us, our flaws a neon sign over our heads, our unworthiness known to all who see us.  And yet – it’s us He chose, to spread His word, to be His light.

I struggle at times, working exhaustively to find just the right hole to fit into, and yet there is none – not in this world at least.  I worry, wonder – shouldn’t there be a focus to this place we gather, this place He has called us to meet?  I thought I’d be chatting about decorating – and maybe one day we will – but for now, we’re here – in the unknown together, trusting in the One who already knows.

I’ve desperately searched over the years for the place I could call home, make my own – but we’ll never find that here… It doesn’t make our efforts any less important, our work any less fruitful – in fact, the list of what’s to be accomplished is quite long… but that list isn’t filled with chores around the house, bills to pay, things to do – it’s a list of names, people just like you and I – they are broken too, hurting, doubting, confused – and they need Him.

Even now, as your mind is turning – rolling thoughts around in your head – wondering where is it He’s leading you in this moment, who you could possibly help?  The only answer I know, the message He would have me share, trust His spirit inside of you – it’s there and only there that you can truly know the right path.  When you’re struggling to decide your next move, when you’re holding onto grudges instead of forgiving, when you’re lying awake at night struggling to find rest, when the responsibilities of life overwhelm you to the point of breaking, trust Him.

Can I tell you what He looks like?  Can I tell you how you know it’s Him?  Honestly, no… There are so many questions I have, so many times I’ve wondered – but I could never turn away from that feeling, that presence – of His spirit within me… that same spirit that is within you.  So wait, wait for His voice, for His favor – and don’t move until you do.  We can’t change the past, and we can’t see the future – but He can, he can redeem us from our past, he can bless our future.  If you don’t know it’s of Him, don’t move.  Standing still may seem like the hardest thing we endure, but when you step out – knowing it’s not of Him – that brings heartache, disappointment, doubt, fear, landing in a place where He cannot reach you – and I can assure you that is worse than the waiting.

So, whatever it is you’re facing right now, even if it’s a whole lot of the nothing that crowds our days and weeks, let go of your burdens of this world – and charge forward, fighting in faith, be a vessel - there’s someone who needs you, there’s a voice inside of you that needs to be heard, but it’s overshadowed by all those things you carry around in life – let them go.  Step out into the unknown, open your mouth and he will provide the words, if only you will just believe.

With love,

Shawna

A moment to breath…

Well, sometimes a girl just needs a breather – and for me… that moment is now…

So often I find myself thinking – wow, this whole adult thing – it’s just a little too much to handle.  The challenges of life seem to come over us in waves… sometimes (though it often feels rare) those are small waves, you know the kind, where you can kinda jump as they’re coming and enjoy the rush of riding the pull for a moment… but then your feet are back on the sand and somehow you still look forward to the  next one, confident you’ll be able to ride it again.

Other waves – the one’s that seem to come over me so much lately – well, they’re quite a bit bigger… and worse still – when you get sucked up in it and barely come out on top – spitting salty water out and trying to wipe your burning eyes – you’re pulled under by a tidal wave, no change to brace yourself or catch a breath before going under… and under the water – well it’s dark, and there’s no air, no sense of time and how soon you can hope to come back up… it’s a scary place, a dark place where fear runs rampant.

The waves that come over me these days, well in all honesty they really don’t seem even half as bad as the one’s I’ve endured over the last couple of years – and yet they still knock the wind right out of me, leave me feeling helpless and pulled under the water where there’s no sense of control.

If  not work, then its money.  If  not money its health.  If it’s not health, it’s just plain ol’ PMS… and it knocks us down, and pulls us under by our feet – no chance to find solid footing or to grab onto something or someone for dear life.

So, how does one cope with the things of life that bring us down?  My first craving… a hug (as silly as that may sound)… a hug from my hubbs is always medicine to me.  But honestly, so many times when faced with the stressors of life I can’t even think to ask for one, and though the man is *quite* perfect for me, he’s not perfect, he’s not a saint – oh yeah, and he’s not psychic LOL.  So sometimes I lash out or just get cranky… I turn inward – I think a lot of us do this really.  When we can’t think to ask for help we shut down – we shut down our emotions, we abandon ‘the list’ that hangs over our heads all the time, we ignore all the things yelling for our attention, and we shut down - turning inside ourselves looking for quiet.

In years back, when things got to be too much I’d often retreat to the bathroom for a looong, hot bath… now I’ll imagine for a moment that we all bathe regularly LOL, but not all of us enjoy baths, or even take them… but I do – I crave them and their detoxing elixirs.  I can pull the curtain closed, kick the dogs out of the bathroom (again), slip under the intensely warm water and just close my eyes.  All the noise of life, the stress, the concerns just slip away for that brief moment of solitude, and I’m drained of all the things that ail me.  The panic, the fear that chases after me – it’s not allowed there in my quiet place… and it’s me and God – at last I can feel Him and hear His soothing voice.  But it’s hard to sneak away for this kind of therapy – one can only take so many baths (in a lovely, huge, garden tub no less) before they turn into a prune and start seeing double over the growing water bills…

For each of us the medicine, the place of reprieve is different… and more so, we have any number of things we each turn to depending on our mood and the circumstances, the depth of life we feel we’re buried under.

As we sit here together, lets agree to let this be one of those places… what do ya say?  We can all use another place of peace, of grace, of acceptance – where no judgement is allowed.  Whatever that feeling is that comes from a bath, or watching a good movie, or sitting outside in the sun and feeling the cool breeze blow over you – let’s bottle it and in moments just like this – let’s take a sip, drink up the grace, the love, the sense of calm.  Only in these places can we find refuge from this world… wrapped in our heavenly Father’s arms.  Close your eyes, and feel His peace come over you… His arms wrapped around you, His sweet soft voice telling you He’s with you in all things, working to keep you safe, to encourage you, to walk beside you through all life’s challenges, to enable you and lead you towards victory…

At last, at last I can sense the quiet, feel the pressure from my chest lessening, breath in the calm.  Those places, our medicine – they come from the Healer, the Comforter – and if we can just stop – in the middle of the hurricane we’re blowing around in – find the eye of the storm and find a moment of calm… He will set us back on our feet, His hand at our back – holding us up.  I choose His medicine… in each moment of life’s insanity… won’t you join me?

With Love,

Shawna

A little bit of grace…

Right about now we’ll imagine that the masses of screaming fans are begging for another blog entry from yours truly – I mean, that is what you’re secretly thinking, right? :-)

Well, as we are officially one month away from the big wedding anniversary “Numero Uno”, I thought I’d take a jog in a different direction for a spell and draw back the curtain on this here marriage and maybe even share a juicy detail or two…

When it comes to relationships I hardly consider myself a pro, I mean come on – in my whole life I’ve kissed three boys, two of those I dated – and one of course became my fabulous husband.  I couldn’t tell you how to even begin to have the same kind of luck I’ve had – because frankly I think I had nothing to do with the outcome… other than following my heart and holding onto my faith in God’s timing, that is.

Once I landed the man of my dreams I’d love to say that it was all roses and butterflies… but that would be a lie :-)  Promptly after returning from our honeymoon (um, yeah – it started way before then…) after sucking him in with my womanly wiles and forcing him to fall madly in love with me (which happened shortly following “I’m so embarrassed – I can’t believe I gave you my sister’s # instead of mine”, and plenty of profuse apologies and nervous laughter), I piled onto him a couple of decades worth of dreams and expectations of what marriage would be like.

 

With the popped bubble came a huge dose of reality – sharing your life with someone else day in and day out – well, it’s tough… The stress of life, PMS, work, chores, finances, activities, distance, loneliness, etc – will make anyone crazy from time to time, and going through that with another person in such close proximity can be beyond difficult.  And contrary to my own misguided beliefs – we both would have loads of baggage to work through.

Now, out of respect for my marriage I won’t go into all the details (sorry to disappoint, I know that makes for great reality TV) but I will suffice it to say that the first year and a half was one B-I-G huge-y learning curve for both of us.  However – I will let you in on a little secret… the one thing that has truly forever impacted not only my marriage but my life as well – is one simple, but profound word… Grace

It truly changed our marriage.   And to be honest with you, we can’t even take the credit for moving into this place of grace-living and grace-giving — I give full credit to the big man upstairs.  See, even when we didn’t know how to figure out each other, let alone ourselves we both were going back to the Knower, and He ever so gently kept pushing us in the right direction.  We are both incredibly stubborn and totally impatient, so it was most definitely a long-suffering road to this place (and we’ve hardly arrived) – but by His grace we eventually stumbled right into this sweet thing – and frankly, we never knew just how much we were missing it.

Sometimes in your most insane moments of life comes intense clarity, and what we came to realize was that the craziness going on around us and the feelings of insanity within us just weren’t going to go away over night – we had a lot of life changes to adjust to, lots of growing up going on, and frankly lots of figuring out to do… so what do you do when it seems like you’re backed against a wall and the waves just keep coming?  Hold onto that still small voice, focus on His truth, accept what is – but, start looking for the solution instead of drowning in the problems… as impossible as it seems in the moment I truly believe that with a little bit of forgiveness and a huge scoop of grace – you will find your way to the shore – the problems no less real, but at last resting in a place of peace.

When we finally gave into the realization that the circumstances around us wouldn’t be changing as soon as we’d hoped we accepted that we would have to suck it up and give not only each other but ourselves a little grace.  Hey – we’re no bigger or badder (yeah I said it) than God, and He saw fit to give us grace, so shouldn’t we spread that same love to ourselves and others?  Sure, we still screw up at times – but you know what?  When given the chance to breath, the hubbs actually surprises me… and you know what – I surprise myself too.

Now more than ever I get to see how rewarding it can be to show grace to the one who is closest to me, and even more to really breathe in the most amazing act of love in getting to receive that same grace when I need it.  I’m no angel, but for the most part I can say that I’ve mostly moved beyond the score keeping, and intense, super-critical eye I kept on he and I, and instead I can breathe in the satisfaction and joy that comes from a life of grace.  It’s made all the difference in our marriage, and I’m so grateful to have found it.

Grace really is good for the soul…  Oh, and for the record – that G word I mentioned… it’s not just reserved for me – it’s yours for the taking too.  We can be so hard on ourselves, and you know what?  I actually think that grieves God… So why not give yourself a good dose of grace for today – and share a bit of that grace with those around you – I bet they could use it just as much as you ;-)

With Love,

Shawna

On faith…

~

God’s voice speaks so sweetly to me in that verse… and I hear Him, every so graciously – when there are trials, and when there are victories.  I’m in need of this constant reminder, like a child so quickly distracted by the next thing we see out in front.  Even as I come out of seemingly impossible situations, I so quickly forget his mercy – and so this is my reminder.  Though there are other verses I’ve committed to memory – this one is my life verse.  It resonates so deeply within me, and it transforms me again and again as it warms me from within my spirit.

Here – in my little blog – I have to remind myself constantly of this verse, of His words.  Meeting you here, well – it’s a huge leap of faith, one often weighed down by fear.  But there’s no room to embrace fear - fear is not my friend, and I refuse to let it stop me… stop me from spreading the word that God has put on my heart, stop me from trusting in the Giver of Life, stop me from being a reflection of His light in the world.

Though I can only count on my hands and feet the number of official anything’s I’ve written – I hear from deep within my spirit “write”, and it nags at me.  From that place has come a few stories – ones only a spare few have seen, and papers prompted in school, reviewed by my professor and peers.  In each I see just a glimmer of what it’s like to fly – so exhilarating and fulfilling.

As a child I remember being in the car with my family and going on and on about some subject that just seemed so incredibly fascinating, hoping that maybe just a piece would be as exciting to them as it felt to me.  Here – in my own little corner of the world – I’m struck with the same feelings… I have so many things I want to share, so much I want to say — none of it organized or wrapped up with a pretty bow — but it leaves me aching – aching to share what it is that’s on my heart.

There are times in my life where I’ve tried to share myself – the joy inside of me, the things that resonate in my heart – I’ve tried to mold with others, accommodate their moods, their beliefs, their opinions of who they thought I should be… but I refuse to bring that mask with me here.  Here, I choose only to be just who I am – who God reminds me, even in my darkest moments, that He wants me to be.

There are few, beyond God, that know my heart for what it really is.  Those that do hold such great power over me – and yet I know, I trust, they will be gentle with it – they will protect it and keep it safe.  Here, as we gather together, I am going beyond those few and sharing my heart with you. Though I pray you’ll keep it safe I am reminded that we are only human – and through our fingers flow the best of intentions.

As you drift through the comings and goings of today will you join me in this call?  Share yourself with someone you never thought you could.  Embrace who you know God has made you to be, and accept yourself – flaws and all.  Do not hide your heart, do not keep your true self from the world – we were made to shine, to spread His light and truth, to be a living example — not a perfect one, but one that is coming into the “perfect” through His mercy and grace.  In all of the frantic chaos that is life, remember to *just be*

With love,

Shawna

Let’s start at the very beginning…

a very good place to start, yes?

And so my soul breathes.  Breathes because I have taken the first step of many down a path unknown.  Breathes because maybe, just maybe I’m at last opening my heart to something I think God put within me so long ago.  Breathes because of so much I’m feeling bubbling up from within me – words only God can bring, that were meant just for you.

This blog cannot be for me – not to be successful, not to be real.  Sure, the words on the page will come through me, but every part of what I bring to you I believe, in faith, that God will put on my heart.

My enlightenment to the blogging world was sparked by someone who ever so humbly allowed himself to be changed by the love of God, and willingly shares this with listeners all over the world through the morning show on a local Christian radio station.  Through him I discovered his daughters who stepped out in faith and each started a little blog of their own… Both have a message – put in their hearts by God – about finding and sharing the art within us, and how it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Since that time and place my Google Reader has expanded tremendously – one blog leading to another and another — all so full of the wisdom and love that God has put within the writers.  Scrolling through my favorite blogs you’d see topics ranging from simple & inspired living, homemaking, spiritual encouragement, event planning, interior design, decorating, renovating, and all around life…  and it’s so easy for me to hide behind the curtain of my computer – watching from a distance as these incredible women (and a few men) step out boldly, sharing their art, their voice, whatever it is that God has put on their hearts.

So, I’m no professional at this, and in spite of all the blog stalking reading I do – I still have so much to learn.  I only hope that the message behind this will shine through, the voice will become clear, and somewhere someone will be touched by the words I share.

I’ll ask now – in the beginning – please forgive me for the mistakes I’ll make along the way, for the many times I’m sure to think this is in some part about me, and for the growing pains I’m sure we’ll all feel along the way as this baby grows into something amazing, beautiful, and blessed by God.

With love,

Shawna

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