How God is Using NOT Going to Influence Conference to Grow Me

Fall seems to have hit full force this week at least on the East Coast. My day has been full of soup in the crock pot and folding laundry with the windows open. It's also been full of checking Instagram and feeling a slight pang every time I see the #influenceconf. This is the third year of the conference and once again I am watching it from my computer. 

Four month ago just days after my 30th birthday I sat down at the computer with money in my bank account ready to buy my conference ticket. Josh had recently been promoted at work and for the first time in our marriage money wasn't really an issue. And yet, for some reason I couldn't explain it just didn't feel right. I talked it over and over with my husband, he was all for me going, but didn't want me to go if I felt uneasy. I desperately wanted to be there this year but couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.

Fast forward to the end of August. My husband went into work one day and called me a few hours later. For reasons totally out of his control his position in the company had been down sized. Thankfully they were able to find him a different position in the company but it mean additional hours and a pay cut.

As I sit at home today watching woman across the country prepare for Influence Conference my heart hurts a little bit. But, I understand why I am not there. Last month our lives tipped sideways and we are still recovering a bit. I know if I were trying to get ready to leave town and getting ready to get on a plane and travel nine hours away from my family it just wouldn't feel right. I know I wouldn't be able to enjoy this weekend if I was there because I would be worried about our families finances. I know God protected me and my family when He put that nagging feeling in my heart back in May.

I desperately, selfishly want to be at the conference this weekend. My soul yearns to be surrounded by like minded women and to be encouraged and motivated in my passions. But more than that I want to be where God has called me to be. And today, He has called me to be home. This isn't an easy "yes" to say but it is the right "yes".

I want to be go to Influence Conference. I wish I could say that if God wants me home that's where I would rather be. I am not sure I can say that. Maybe wanting to be able to say that is enough for now. I know this, I know that NOT being at Influence Conference is what God wants for me this year. Not being at Influence Conference was His was of protecting me this year.

Maybe being ok right where I am is a lesson I need to learn, before He can teach me other ones.

Every Day Beauty

I was reading a friend's blog today when I was hit with a pang of jealousy. Not of anything she has, but simply a moment of "why can't my story be more like that"? It was a silly passing thought, but one that I am sure hits most of us more often than we would like.

Because there are nights like tonight when the notes home from school aren't what you would hope, when the toddler is sick, when home work is met with blank faces, when the toddler refuses dinner but eats cat food. Because nights like that it makes it hard to see the beauty in your own life.

We are in a stretching season right now. A season that has me so exhausted at the end of the day that looking for and finding the beauty in my life is a bit challenging. But the beauty is there, I just have to look for it.

A beautiful gift from a stranger. 

A chance to actually enjoy a local festival as a family. 

More time studying my Bible in a new way. 

Waking up to this happy face every day. 

Here is to finding beauty in the every day.


Why I don't Plan on Teaching My Daughters "True Love Waits"

I want to preface this post by saying I am all for purity and modesty. I in no way want to communicate that I am against these things, or that I am encouraging girls to run around in skimpy clothes and make poor choices. That being said, I am not sure I will make a point to teach“modesty” or “purity” to my daughters. 

I grew up when the “True Love Waits” movement was really gaining momentum. I read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” (begrudgingly) and Secret Keeper. I even worked at a Rebecca St. James concert on her “Wait for Me” tour. I have, very literally, been there, done that, and have the t-shirt. 

I think the intent behind all of these movements, conferences, and seminars is great. The parents, youth workers, and Christian leaders of the time had firsthand experience with the results of the sexual revolution. They wanted to protect the young people they loved from making painful mistakes.

The intent was great. The message was good. The delivery was flawed. 

Satan has a way of taking good intentions and messages and twisting them, and the minds of young women can be fertile ground for lies.

See, when the message we heard over, and over, and over was to cover up and “save ourselves,” a little lie crept in. Some girls were able to combat that lie with truth, but others weren’t so lucky. Many began to believe our value and worth laid in our closets and behavior. We may have had the right actions, but they were motivated by fear of being rejected rather than out of an understanding of God and His desires for us. 

We found our identity not in Christ, but in our virginity. We found our worth not in being a Child of the King but in what we wore.

I have had this conversation with dozens and dozens of women. So many times I have seen girls who “made the right choices” left feeling confused and hurting. A generation unsure of who they were anymore, after losing what had become their identity.

Focusing on one aspect of a holy life style can lead to disastrous results.
I’m not sure what we were actually taught, but as a group what we heard was, “Wait,” not, “Honor God.” So when the waiting was over, we had no idea what came next. 
I don’t blame our churches, our leaders, or our parents. We live in a fallen world. Truth gets twisted and Satan takes pleasure in planting confusion.

I want to teach my daughters that they are sinners, but God loves them any ways. 
I want to teach them that He made them, and that He has an amazing plan for their life. 

I want my girls to see the big picture. 

The fact is true love DIDN’T wait. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
He didn’t wait for us to change how we dress, or talk, or spend our weekends. 

That is what I want my daughters to understand. I want them to see Christ and all He did for us in the center. When we have an accurate understanding of who we are, and who God is, obedience flows out of gratitude. 
When our hearts are inclined toward God, our wardrobes and actions will be too.


Day 8: My Soundtack Lately

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall. 

Oh my! Did I really miss so many days? Being sick took it out of me and I have been stumbling around for a few days but I am back and will hopefully stay on target from here on out!

Today's prompt: Music that moves you. Are you a Spotify addict or a Pandora guru? Tell us your favorite artists/stations!

Truthfully music isn't as big a part of my life as it used to be. Growing up music was almost always on at my parents house. Even know when we are all together my dad constantly has the iPod going with some sort of mix.

James Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, and Peter Paul and Mary make up so many of my childhood music memories.

Lately JJ Heller has been one of my favorite go to artists.  I have spent quiet a bit of time sewing and listening to my JJ Heller Pandor station as well.

Her songs "In the End" and "Who You Are" seem to be my favorites right now.


When I Grow Up.

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall. 

Today's prompt: "When I grow up I want to be..." Answer as your 5-year-old self or as you are now.

I don't even know how to answer this to be honest. I have wanted to be so many thing over the years. But one of the things that has arisen over and over again is writer. As a little girl I wanted to write songs and poems. As a middle school student I wanted to write fiction. In college I study print journalism and had dreams of starting a Christian magazine (real original I know). 

There were other things sprinkled in here and there. College professor. Full time ministry. Pretty normal dreams for a girl growing up in the evangelical church culture. I was pretty confident I was going to do something big and change the world.

I love that Bailey Jean included a life mission statement. Josh and I have sort of done that. A few years ago we sat down and asked ourselves where we wanted to be when we were 50. This is what we came up with.

1. A vibrant walk with God both personally and as a couple.
2. Enjoy each other's company and be even more in love than we are now.  
3. Strong relationships with our children. (As much as in our power to do so) 
4. Actively involved in a local church community. 

As a couple we also adopted Acts 2:24 as our family verse.

"And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."

When I grow up I want to be smack dab in the middle of God's will for me. 


Day Two: I'm So Happy!

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall.

Today's prompt: Write about what makes you happy, from the little joys to the huge game-changers.

Lists make me happy. So I am going to keep this simple and simply stick to a stream of thought list format. 

My family. Cuddles with one year old. Reading my Bible. Praying. Walks with my husband. Hot tea. Hot coffee. Hot chocolate. Hot baths. Good books. Pretty fabrics. Nice yarn. Time with friends. Notebooks. Office supplies. Planners. Lists. Pens. Stickers. Washi tape. The beach. Snow. Fall. Chocolate. Homemade quilts. Baking bread. My church. My small group. Amazing neighbors. Snail mail. Care packages. Tinted chapstick. Seasonal candles (scentsy). Writing. Sewing. Talking to my sister on the phone. Reality cooking shows.

What makes YOU happy?


ONE: About the Author

This month I am participating in a blog challenge. It's being hosted by Bailey Jean over at Brave Love. My hope is it will help jump start some good creative writing practices this fall. 

Today's prompt: "Imagine the front sleeve of a hard cover novel. Give us your "About the Author" so we can get to know one another, and for fun tell us what your imaginary novel would be about."

 Formal introduction:
Joy moved to the South over ten years ago for college and after meeting her amazing husband settled in a quiet little suburb. She spends her days with her three amazing little girls and her ferocious cat, Slightly.  She fills her time freelance writing, sewing for a local boutique shop, and spending time with her church small group.

Informal introduction: I moved from "The North" to "The South" to go to college, met my husband my senior year of college and just sorta stayed. We have three girls in 1st grade, Kindergarten and One. My cat is super small but things he is a massive panther and kills any rodent, snake, or bird that dares come into our yard. I write for my blog, a few other local blogs, and a local magazine. I am a self taught creative and make Waldorf Inspired dolls that I sell online and locally. My family and friends are very important to me. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and love that I can give my daughters that same start.

My Novel: I am slowly work on a novel. You can read snippets of it here.