Archives for October 2013

the DTR talk: time to define the relationship

Sometimes it’s just good to have that talk.
To really set some boundaries so that you and everyone involved can really know what to expect…

I’m getting focused.
I’m defining me.
I’m defining my “brand.”
I’m defining us.

And after you watch, I need a little something from you too.

Watch and see….

***As you may have noticed, I’ve been splitting my time more between my blog and my YouTube channel.  It’s been refreshing for me to have both outlets for me to share creatively.  And I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful for every single one of you who have continued to support and encouraging me all along in “a place to say, ‘me too!'”***

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winter prep must haves!

I recently did a swap (it’s a “thing” on YouTube, ha!) with my sweet friend, Kassie from ShadesOfKassie. The theme was, Winter Prep Must Haves, where we sent each other our favorite Fall/Winter Prep MUST HAVE products.

Watch below to see what Kassie sent me, and then head on over to her channel to see what MY winter prep must haves were as well!!!

And if you’re not, make sure to subscribe to both of us on YouTube! Subscribers are awesome and they get special hook ups sometimes. (I’m not above bribing!)

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doubt isn’t unbelief

Doubt isn’t Unbelief

Last week I took an unintentional week off from my blog and writing.
I literally put it all out of my mind until Thursday night when it suddenly hit me that I hadn’t written or even checked in for over a week.

Not always, but often…when I’m not writing, I’m running.

There is this inner spiritual struggle going on in my heart.
And because I write with ALL MY HEART, when I’m in a place filled with question marks, I find it difficult to write.
When I don’t want to think, I simply CANNOT and WILL NOT write.

I realize many of you don’t necessarily care or need to read yet another deep “pondering about life” blog post from me, which is why I hesitate even writing right now.
But, it’s not always about me, and one thing I’ve learned from this blog is that I am not alone.

So if I’m in this place, I have to believe someone else reading this might be as well.

I wanted to share a quote I heard a couple weeks ago on one of my “church walks” that really gave me some comfort in the midst of this struggle, and hope that it comforts you as well.




“Doubt is natural within faith. It comes because of our human weakness and frailty… Unbelief is the decision to live your life as if there is no God. It is a deliberate decision to reject Jesus Christ and all that he stands for. But doubt is something quite different. Doubt arises within the context of faith.  It is a wistful longing to be sure of the things in which we trust. But it is not and need not be a problem. Alister McGrath

My pastor and close family friend put it to me like this…
“Our faith is like a car that we use and drive in.  When we want to understand it further we need to park the car for minute and examine the engine.  This is exciting and we can understand how it works, but we cannot drive with the engine all taken apart.  We need to take the time to understand that theology is hard because you cannot just go forward with each thing you learn, but not until you are able to put it all back into the engine.  There is an expression from the Westminister confession that is called ‘Semper Reformada’ or ‘Always Reforming.’  Every time we learn something better it affects in nuanced ways, what we already know.  This is the process of getting to know the God who is actually there not the one we’ve made up our whole lives.”


I’m not the best version of me at the moment.
I’ve parked my car and the entire engine has been taken apart and it’s all just sitting in front of me looking like a big mess at the moment.

But, writing it out I suppose, is the first step for me.
It means I’m no longer running…


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we’re building an orphanage and we’re heading back!

{the video update & a written one!}

Dearest friends & family…

It’s about that time again!!! It’s been a lonnnnng few months waiting to go back to the Dominican Republic, and suddenly it’s now just less than a month away!!!

Our family has so appreciated all you have done for us both in prayer and supporting this ministry. I can’t begin to tell you all that God is doing and in the midst of doing…but I’m going to try.
And try to make it quick! (ish)

Our Role with The Childrens Home:
First off, I’m excited to share that Jimmy and I have volunteered to help take on part of the sponsorship portion of this ministry, which is now called Alpha Youth Development Foundation. (our facebook page with all the updates)
I’m also in the middle of working with Stephanie, my web designer, to create the website for the Alpha Foundation as well.
I’ll be sure to post the link once it’s live!! (we’re SO close!!!)

Child Sponsorship:
We have a TON of children desperate for sponsors, so they can get meals, clothes, and have the funds to attend school. (we are in the process of raising $$ to buy a bus as well so that ALL kids may attend.)

So, if you’re at all interested in sponsoring a child or two, I would LOVE to hear from you!
And how much more amazing if you sponsor AND then one day join us on an upcoming missions trip to meet your child!!!
Trust me, I’ve met most of the children/teens, and they all hold a special place in my heart.

Let me share one quick personal example of how sponsoring children there has changed lives.

On our last trip, I told you about meeting two orphans, Daniella & Nuno.

My heart was captured, and I knew they were meant for us. I made promises to get them into school, but had no idea how to help them in all the other ways they needed (ie: a home, meals, safety). But after a month or two of emails back and forth with Pastor Joel, we decided to start sponsoring them monthly so they could have at least an education and two meals a day (through the church).

{Daniella & Nuno}

{similar to the building they lived in}

{where Daniella (8) slept alone}


But God is so much more than that.

While we prayed and cried and wished with all our hearts that we could do more from so far away, God showed up. And we got word that Pastor Joel had decided he could no longer allow them to live where they were even though our Childrens Home isn’t ready.

And get this.
He selflessly took them into his already tiny and completely filled home (with his two daughters and a few other adopted children), where they are now fed, bathed, loved, and attending school and church regularly.

Let me just tell you, this FAR exceeded our prayers and expectations. But God is good. He is faithful. And he is making a HUGE difference even when we’re not there!!!

Exciting changes in Olivares:
Now for some other important updates as to what’s been going on in the Batey of Olivares (where we are building the childrens home) since we were last there as a team:

~ Crops being planted: We will be growing a wide variety of vegetables, food, poultry, and livestock. A portion of the produce will go to the community and the surplus sold to restaurants and hotels. (this creates a revenue & job opportunitues for the community)
~ Souls being saved: During the course of the last 5 months over 20 people in the village haven given their lives to the Lord. A majority of these new converts are young men and adult males in their 70s!
~ Feeding Program: We recently started a feeding program for all the children in the village. They are provided with one hot meal every-other-day. Also, every morning and afternoon all the school-age children gather in the church for prayer and a snack before they head-off to school.

And this is only the beginning!

Our Future Trips & Plans:
I just want to share once again that it is still very clear to us that this is where God wants our family to be….for now. And it is our strong desire to be a part of as many of these team missions trips as we possibly can.

We also know, our plans are not always God’s plans, and so we go to Him with empty hands and simply ask him to fill it with only what is of Him.

All that said, as always we are asking you all to come together with us and PRAY.
Pray for the batey of Olivares.
For Pastor Joel.
For Robert, who is going there monthly to build relationships and help them to create change.
And for our family. That God would provide just what He desires us to have, and that we would be at peace with his provision.

Upcoming Trips:

November: The current plan is that Jimmy will be going solo on this trip. I am so excited for him, because while I see his heart for all that we’re doing, I know that by going there….his heart and life will be forever changed. The plan (always flexible) for this trip is to begin the clearing of the land and getting it ready to build on. And as always, VBS, Teen Discipleship, and building relationships will be a major focus as well.

December: For this trip, our plan is that I will go solo since the timing isn’t good for Jimmy to be gone from work. This is the trip that prayerfully we will actually begin BUILDING the Children’s Home! And as always, VBS, Teen Discipleship, and building relationships will be a major focus as well.

If you have it on your heart to help support us, this link will allow you to make a tax deductible donation, which I promise will MAKE A DIFFERENCE you may never truly see this side of heaven.

We all, collectively, in all the ways we choose to help, are going and making disciples of the Lord.
And that is EXACTLY what he has called us to do.

We honestly love each and every one of you, and cannot begin to find words to thank you for your love, prayers and support.


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MAJOR BEAUTY & MAKEUP GIVEAWAY! Benefit, Nars, Essie, Smashbox & more!!!

1) Be subscribed to all of us! (you’ll love all the girls!!!)

2) You can leave ONE COMMENT PER VIDEO stating ”What is your favorite thing about fall?”

Follow me on… (each follow is another entry!)
MY BLOG (subscribe and/or follow…options to the right—–>)

4) You must be 18 + or have parent’s permission

5) This *IS* an international giveaway- Anyone can enter!

6) This will be open for 1 month from the date the videos are uploaded!


-Benefit Gift Set including ‘Porefessional’, ‘Benetint’, ‘Dandelion & Gimme Fever Blush Duo’, ‘Eyeshadow Palette’ and ‘They’re Real Mascara’
-Essie Nail Polishes Chinchilly & Bahama Mama
-Nars Blush ‘Orgasm’
-Smashbox ‘Smoke Box’ Eyeshadow Palette
-Sleek Pout Paints ‘Cloud’ & ‘Rosette’

music by Helen Austin: used with permission!

***Comments MUST be on YouTube, NOT on this blog!***

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parenting, health & beauty confessions of a (non) super mom

I talk about a lot of uncomfortable and messy emotions and situations, but being a mommy is a tender place for me.
So I tend not to go there too often.

I carry so much burden, so much responsibility, and so. much. GUILT…and I place it all there myself because I don’t want to be that “mother that wasn’t enough.”

You know the mom I’m talking about.
Dear Jesus, let it not be me.

Except, guess what?
It’s totally me.

One example of just how un-super mom I am showed up in a conversation I overheard between the kids the other day.

Chloe was in the midst of a mini breakdown of her own.
She can’t help it really, she’s her mothers daughter.
Poor thing.
And in the midst of the meldown, Taylor got super close to her and whispered…
“Chloe, if you don’t stop crying, Mommy’s going to make a video of you and show it to EVERYONE.”

Chloe sniffed and looked up with wide eyes, “No she wouldn’t!!!!”

To which Taylor knowingly responded, “Oh yes she will.  She’s done it to me SO many times.  I’m telling you, you gotta stop.”
{a quick glance at my Facebook/YouTube proves he’s telling the truth.  Oops.}

I guess it’s better he remember that parenting fail (or is it?), then some of the other massive mistakes I’ve made.

Like this week when I yelled.
(yes yes, i know it’s hard to believe such a thing of me.)
But, truthfully, it may have been an octave louder than yelling if you ask the neighbors a few blocks down.

It’s just, I had been sick for a week, and their non stop fighting, seriously, had me at hello.
That entire week I was the “mom that wasn’t enough.”
I was too tired.
Too sick.
Too impatient.
And definitely not leaning into or connecting to God one tiny little bit.

All of that “too” quickly accumulated into one big “UH OH, MOMMY’S HAVING A BREAKDOWN!” moment.
And I yelled.

Now, to redeem myself ever so slightly…
Eventually, I did calm down and then returned to my stunned family humbling asking for forgiveness.
I confessed that I had been wrong and then I held my babies and kissed them and made sure they knew I was desperately seeking God for help in the areas I struggle with.

“Ya mom, of course I forgive you, but you just gotta really start asking God for even MORE help, ya know?”

TOUCHÉ Taylor.

Their grace and mercy and forgiveness are always overwhelming.
No conditions.
No exceptions.

Just pure unconditional love and acceptance.

So, I share all that to say, I am the furthest thing from an example of a super mom.
But thank goodness they have a SUPER God to cling to instead.


I was recently tagged to do this “Super Mom” video on YouTube, which really turned out to be more of a “Confessions of an UN-Super Mom.”
See if you can relate.

And if you’re up for it, I tag you to answer the questions as well!
(Either on your blog or YouTube!  And let me know if you do so I can check it out!)


I would just LOVE if you’d subscribe on over there! Next week I’ll be doing a MAJ Giveaway for subscribers only. And I promise, you DON’T WANT TO MISS IT!


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the gift of letting go of expectations

The gift of letting go of expectations



I have several amazing women God has placed in my life, and for that I am blessed.

These are women who are like family, and are more than ready to tell me just what I need to hear, so that I can grow and change and fully live up to the potential God has for me.

If you haven’t noticed, I’ll be honest, again.
I’ve been struggling.


And when I sat down with one of my mentors a couple weeks ago, I didn’t even need to say a word.
She had been praying, and God decided to speak to me through her.
And it all pointed back to His word.

I won’t get into all the details of my issues….
(we’d be here for hours…just read past posts and you’ll start to figure all that good stuff out),
but there were a few key things that just stuck.

And the first was this,
“Summer.  Listen to me.  YOU cannot be displaced.  God created you, He has His own plan for you and even if someone else reaches your “dream” first, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you.  God uses ‘infinite’ imagery, from the heavens to the earth, and your ship in this giant ocean?  It CANNOT be displaced.”

She went on to say, You feel resentful because God has not delivered to you YOUR DREAMS.  But what you need to do is take down every picture of what you’ve dreamt you deserve, and just open up your hands.  Let go of what you’re grasping so tightly to, because what God has for you????  Summer, it’s so much better!  Just let them all go.”

It was these two phrases.

“You CANNOT be displaced.”


“Take down the images of what you dream you deserve, and be open and willing to accept what GOD dreams for you instead.”

Those two hours we spent together, I’m telling you, soothed my soul.
I began to see things so clearly on why I operate the way I do.
I finally had words to my swirling ball of feelings I didn’t understand

But, now I see it SO clearly.
And having words to the hurricane of emotions inside, takes me one step closer to healing.

I’m on my way.
I’m studying Love.
I’m studying Jesus.
I’m studying God, and all that He truly is.

Let me be clear.
I am SO not there yet.
I open my bible and I feel empty and blank, and wonder if it will ever speak to me again.
I KNOW that it will…I FEEL that it won’t.

But, I’ve never been a quitter.
I’m an angsty overthinker middle child, yes, but most definitely not a quitter.
So, I’m writing and pondering and laying it all out (again) so we can together figure this out.

Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t belong?
Do you at times feel envious when someone else is living the life you dreamed for yourself?
Do you even find yourself getting irrational in your thoughts and sometimes your behavior because of the lies you find yourself believing?
And do you then fall into a pit of resentment that is something like, “Why not me?”  Or “Why have you not allowed me what I have dreamt of or feel I deserve?”

Then, let me challenge you as well.

Try taking down your OWN dreams and humbly make room for Gods.
And NEVER forget…

You CANNOT be displaced.

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write because you have a story to tell

The blogging world has changed so much.
And some of it’s amazing, and some of it, not so much.

I totally get the “not so much” part of it though.
It’s the necessary next step, the natural progression…and I am the first to say, I fall right into that “not so much” part of it pretty often.
It’s why I get boring.  And uninspired.  And consider just shutting it all down.

I’m curled up on my couch right now at nearly one in the morning.
I had to get out of bed after a long tearful talk about life with Jimmy, because I needed to remind myself of something important.
And sometimes just getting it all out of my mind and into writing is the release I need to finally sleep peacefully.

I came across a website today, and it was a tough reality to see.  It was full of people having hurtful opinions about people they don’t even know.  Thoughts and assumptions and plain old mean cuts and comments.  I know some of these people they were picking on, and they’re sweet and genuine and what they do what is right for them.  And now there’s doubt and hurt in their heart, I’m sure.  I know, because I’ve been there.  I’ve been on the receiving end of these kinds of websites and it broke. my. heart. to see such evil.
Because tearing someone apart is just that.
It’s evil.

I get that as bloggers, as people who are living out loud, we are choosing to be exposed to that side of the world.
What I don’t get is why people even care?  And care enough to create a forum about it.
And not care enough to consider that the name they’re throwing around is actually a real person outside of the computer, with a real beating heart and feelings.

I love when others come to read what I write and they are able to relate and we connect.
But for me, (and I get that it’s not this way for everyone), that just can’t be what fuels my blog and my writing.
I can’t always write for the readers.
I can’t always write for the advertisers.
I can’t always write for subscriptions or to gain popularity.
I have to write for me.

I may not fit a genre.
I may not fit a mold.
There may not be a niche I settle neatly into.
And I see people unsubscribing because there’s too much of this or not enough of that, and that’s OKAY.
I even wish them the best and thank them for the time they gave me.

But when I wrote my first story at 5 years old, it was because there was a story in me to tell, and not because I had an audience to please.

me at 8

Yes, my heart soared when I’d read my stories to others and they’d smile or laugh or seem proud.  But even without all that, I knew even at that young age, that I HAD to write.
I loved it.
It was me and it was mine.

And nothing has changed 30 years later.
(I see you doing the math…)

I write because I have a story to tell.
And I choose to do it here, publicly, instead of a journal just in case someone else needs to read it for whatever reason that may be.

And because I remember the MANY posts where someone wrote something so true, or touching, or funny, or inspiring and I felt such joy, relief, and gratitude that they wrote out loud.

I admire the bravery of writers, all possible narcissism we may struggle with aside. (ha.)
Because the truth is, it’s safer in a journal.
In a journal there’s no judgement, there’s no chance of being picked apart in a public forum, no opportunity for rejection.

Out loud, it’s scary.
But we have a story to tell.
And we can’t let fear take away what God has put in our hearts to do.



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speaking of marriage: the husband speaks

Yesterday I talked about the hardships of marriage…
Today, let’s just enjoy the lighter side of our marriage.

Introducing, once again, my man.

Septembers Health, Beauty & Fitness Favorites
$40 Drugstore Makeup Sway w/vlogwithkendra
Eyebrow Threading Experiment: Does numbing cream really help?
50 Random Facts about Me Tag
Your TOP TEN Fall Essentials, A collab project!

As always, please let me know what videos you want to see next!

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3 truths to remember when you just don’t feel “enough”

be warned.  sometimes i know exactly what i’m going to write and I edit away to make it just so.  this is not one of those posts.  i have thoughts and feelings and issues and i need to just start typing.  breathing.  thinking.  Not sure how this ends, but i know I need to just go….



I used to want to be a writer.
I used to think writing would fulfill my purpose, and that through my words I would make a difference and my life would have meaning.

I used to want to be a wife.
I was sure that getting married would be that thing, that one event, that would make everything perfect. I would be chosen and loved and adored, and all those angsty deep longings to be pursued would finally be fulfilled.

I used to want to be mommy.
There was no other job in the world I could think of to do, other than being a stay at home mom. I dreamt of the unconditional love my children and I would experience together, the connection we would share, and how it would all just be, right.  For once, I would be needed.  I would be someones favorite.  I’d finally be complete.




All these years later when I sit with my desires and longings and expectations…
and really begin to reflect on them, I can easily see that they are all something I have put in place of God.

I go to my blog, my YouTube channel, social media, my marriage, and even to my children, and I ask myself the one very important question I have turning around inside my soul…
“Am I enough?”

On the good days, I feel worthy.
My views are up, the connections are there, my husband says and does the right things and my children’s behavior makes me look oh so goo-ood.
On those days?
Oh ya, I am enough.

But then there are the bad days, where I am absolutely sure I am nothing but a complete failure.
I realize I’m struggling to grow my blog, there doesn’t seem to be a connection, my husband shows his humanness, and my kids fight and scream and disobey over and over and over again, and I look oh so very not together.
On those days?
Oh, I am never enough.

It’s a roller coaster I ride each day, allowing the events around me to determine “me,” and it’s no wonder I’m ill with the constant up and downs of all that I experience and see.

I find myself dissatisfied with my blog and my writing, because it’s not “as successful as….”
I find myself unhappy in my marriage and as a mother, because none of it is matching up to my “dreams, hopes, and expectations.”

And I stew.
And I begin to dwell on all that I deserve and think I should have instead, and I settle in quite nicely with the lies and disfunction swirling around there in my head.

But, here’s where living out loud works for me, I suppose.
Because things don’t stay in my head long, and in a way that’s a good thing because it allows certain ones in my life to call me out and speak some truth into my warped little mind.

And here are the truths that I keep hearing…
The truths that are working their way to my brain, and prayerfully soon into my heart and soul.



I am enough because God created me.
He thought especially of me.
And despite what’s happening with everyone else around me, I can never be displaced.
His plan for me remains His plan for me.
And no matter how big or little it may be, it is perfect.
Because it’s HIS.
For me.



My writing, views and comments, my marriage and my kids…none of these things will ever make me feel enough, even if I somehow reached “the top.”

Because reaching the top doesn’t mean it’s because I was enough and the others who didn’t weren’t.

{that is so tough for me to grasp. i feel i’m not “there” because i’m not worthy. and those who are, are. and yet, I know that is just not God’s way.}

Here’s the truth, nothing will ever be enough until the day I fully understand that I am looking to all the wrong places and all the wrong people to find my value.

And when that connection clicks, I know I will enjoy writing again because it’s what He has placed in my heart to do…for however few or however many.
And that will be enough.

  • Success doesn’t make us enough.
  • And a lack of it doesn’t mean we aren’t.

When I grasp all this, I can appreciate my husband and enjoy my marriage because the pressure of perfection and self-fulfillment will be gone.
And instead I will see the blessings and the goodness, because what my husband does or doesn’t do, doesn’t mean I’m enough…or not enough.

And being a mother will become more of a joy and a blessing, because I’ll know that their mistakes and attitudes don’t define my worthiness.
I won’t take it personal, because I’ll have finally taken ME out of it.



The truth is….
I’m not worthy.
I’m not enough.

Not on my own.

But when Jesus took his first baby breath, and lived to walk in my shoes, and was then betrayed and beaten and nailed to a cross…because of and despite me…I became worthy.

I’m not enough or worthy because of what I’ve done, or could ever do or accomplish or experience.

I am only enough and worthy because of Him and what He chose to do for me.

So knowing that, why then has it been SO hard to turn from all the other things and relationships in my life, and instead find my value through the only ONE who will ever be able to truly fulfill me?

You guys, that is my lesson.
This is my journey.

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