Bloom Where You Are Planted: Why I Admire Joanna Gaines

by Alyssa Kuiken

To say I’m a huge fan of HGTV’s Fixer Upper is probably a bit of an understatement.

If you’re ever looking for me on a Tuesday night at 9pm, you will find me sitting in front of a TV watching the latest episode.

I can’t quite pinpoint one thing in specific that drew me to the show.  Instead, I think it was a combination of things:

  1. Joanna’s eye for design
  2. Chip’s antics and Joanna’s patience
  3. How this husband and wife team truly seems to bring out the best in each other
  4. The love Chip and Jo express, not only for their work and for each other, but also for their four kids

As a result, I’ve been a Joanna Gaines fan since the pilot episode aired. I love watching the transformation that takes place with each renovation Chip and Jo tackle together. I love watching how Joanna thoughtfully decorates/stages each home. And, I love watching for new ideas or tips on how to decorate or fix up my own home.

Here’s the thing, I’m kind of a decorating nerd (for lack of a better word). I love hunting through antique stores for hidden treasures to bring home. I think moving furniture around is fun. And I enjoy the challenge of making a space “pretty.” Basically, I love making a house feel like a home.

So, naturally, when Joanna Gaines wrote a book (along with Chip), I wanted to read it. And I did- twice.

And both times I cried.

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Social Media Tips

by Tiffany Dawn

This week I had SUCH a fun opportunity — and one I hope to have many more times!! I got to share about my journey in growing “The Insatiable Quest for Beauty,” and specifically how social media has helped me grow & market my brand. You can watch it here. If you’re starting a ministry or if you’re an entrepreneur at heart, I hope this can help you as well!! 🙂 ❤

When Dreams Seem a Long Time in Coming…

by Kimmie Plummer

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

This verse sits framed on a shelf in my kitchen — a constant reminder that God provides everything at the right time…even if it’s not my timing.

img_2055Before I go any further, let me tell you a few things about myself. My name is Kimmie and I am a coffee-obsessed, Jesus-loving wife and mother.

By day, you can find me working with companies to help them create training and development programs for their managers and employees. At night, I moonlight as an entertainer and comedy act for the cutest little boy on the planet.

My husband is a pretty awesome guy (if I do say so myself) and we live a normal, perfectly imperfect life together.

But I have a confession: I’m a control freak.

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Fresh Starts Come More Than Once a Year

by Julia Robison

THREE…

TWO…

ONE…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I got back to my house right before the ball dropped, and my dad had the great idea of toasting the new year with orange juice! Whatever you toasted this New Year, let’s have our first candid conversation of 2017. Oh, and by the way, Happy New Year!!

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-4-15-17-pm
First, let me introduce myself:
Hi! My name is Julia. I am an ordinary girl loving and serving an extraordinary God. I am a sophomore psychology student in sunny southern California, trying to balance my desire to study with my desire to go to the beach! I am a lover of doughnuts, all things peanut butter, sunsets, and great conversations over beautiful cups of coffee. I’m excited to walk this crazy jorney called life together with you!

 

So, wow, I love the new year and its promise of a fresh start:

  • brand new music coming from favorite artists,
  • new hair styles (cause you know — new year, new hair),
  • and so many donuts yet to be eaten!

Many people see fresh starts as a chance to become who they’ve always wanted to be, which is why many make “new year’s resolutions.” Whether our resolution is to work out 4 times a week, drink less coffee (or more coffee), or wake up earlier, we want to make a change.

I, however, am not someone who can stick to a resolution.

Honestly, I end up forgetting I ever made it, or giving up two months in… which led to a personal “revolution” (if you will) about new beginnings. It all started during finals week in December…

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A different kind of “more”

I’ve spent so much time asking God for more, instead of thanking Him for what I have.

My prayers often center around this American mentality of “more, more, more.”

  • Please, God, more YouTube followers.
  • Please, God, more speaking engagements.
  • Please, God, more Instagram followers.
  • Then I can glorify You more. (Or, at least, that’s the reason I give. Even if it’s not the truest motivation of my heart.)

There’s nothing wrong with asking for more; in fact, God often challenges us to ask for more — to ask for something so far beyond our own strength that obviously we could never get there on our own. Then we obviously need Him, and only He can fulfill that crazy huge dream. I really believe He delights in that.

But sometimes my heart is full of selfish ambition when I ask for “more.”

  • Sometimes I want more because I want to feel more important.
  • I want to feel seen.
  • I want to feel like what I’m doing matters.
  • And I think that bigger numbers will help me get there.

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For all you creatives: Preach, Sister!

To all of you creative women:

My friend Kristen Estes has started a YouTube channel specifically for creative, artistic young women who are growing in God and their destinies. It’s called “Preach, Sister!”

She has four videos up so far:

Episode One: Getting Over Yourself (and Your Fear)

Episode Two: Christians Don’t All Need to Be the Same

Episode Three: God vs. the Universe

Episode Four: The Comparison Trap

If this sounds like something that draws you in, then check it out!! I think you’ll find a ton of encouragement in these videos! 🙂

<3, Tiffany Dawn

My Insecurity Onion: Why I’m thankful for insecurity

I’m planted here in a rose-colored diner, bordering NJ and PA. My husband is off at a business meeting, so I’m sipping tea, eating hash browns, digging into a Beth Moore Bible study, and thinking about insecurity.

Insecurity has been like an onion in my life.

It comes with layer after eye-stinging layer…and keeps coming.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve battled insecurity. For years it was insecurity over how I looked — and sometimes it still is. After spending several years fighting toward freedom from the long-term effects of this insecurity — an eating disorder, unhealthy relationship, and so much more — I could finally breathe again…

and I thought insecurity was a thing of the past.

It was like I was dancing on a plateau and only looking down at how far I’d come, which was pretty striking:

  • no more guilt-ridden binges…
  • or obsessive calorie counting…
  • or ten times a day scale-stepping…

But I didn’t see how much farther I had to go.

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About to Break – Song

Hi, friends!

Happy almost-Fourth-of-July!! 🙂

As we come up to this weekend that commemorates so much courage — so many heroic acts that took great faith — I want to share this song with you.

I wrote this song about breaking up with a boyfriend several years ago, but it stood for so much more than just that.

This song speaks to all those “unknowns” that God has asked me to walk into…

all those frightening steps of faith I knew I had to take…

It speaks to choosing to walk by faith instead of by fear, trusting even in the unknowns that our God knows.

You can hear the song in the video below, and view the lyrics below it. I hope it encourages you as it has me!

Love, Tiffany

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Why I wanted an SUV…aka, thoughts on influence

You know how, as a young woman, you look up to girls who are older than you?

I still remember sitting in the back of my mom’s minivan as a pre-teen, waiting (…and waiting…and waiting…) for her to do some grocery shopping. As I sat there, this lady pulled up — probably mid-twenties. She seemed so pretty and cool, stepping out of her tan SUV in her white summer outfit. I just stared as she walked into the store, in awe of how put-together she seemed.

And from that moment on, I’ve wanted an SUV.

And to dress in white. (Which I tried for awhile in my teen years, but it’s just a terrible color on me.)

(I know. I was a very strange child.)

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