Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a few bits...

>> I know I say this over and over again but I am extremely blessed by all the relationships I have through this blog. I have met some amazing ladies! They make me smile, they are full of wisdom, and they love the Lord! I got the chance to Skype with one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet here. Julie and I spent 2 hours chatting about all kinds of things. (from cats to greeting cards-don't ask) I'm so thankful for her! I just love this girl! She also is an awesome blogger! She is so so super talented. Here's to a start of a beautiful friendship! Go show Julie some love! Julie at an anchor for the soul
That's right. I get to go there. Jealous yet?

>>I'm extremely excited to go camping all the next week with my church family. This will be a great "last shebang" before I say my goodbyes and head off to college. I went in the winter time and it was gorgeous. So if it is a little quiet around here, that's why! I will have tons of pictures and stuff for you when I come back! (no worries guys. I've got some great stuff scheduled for you!)

>>You all need to listen to a new song-well new to me anyways. It is so so good!

So I wish you all a great week! See you when I get back!

Monday, July 29, 2013

my blogging story...

I remember the day so clearly. The battle inside my head was insane. Do I start a blog or do I not? Little did I know, I was about to make a decision that would change my life. 

Let's rewind to about fall of last year. I had such the desire and hunger to write. But where? How? While the thought continued to sit in my head, the idea of a blog was crossed once or twice. But, by His divine sovereignty and timing, I wasn't ready. He needed to work in my heart for just a little bit longer and prepare me for what was to come. 

He truly did work on my heart. He drew me closer to Him and surrounded me with a new church family that inspired me to be in The Word. Seeds were being planted and I didn't even know it yet. 

As the New Year approached, I searched my mind for some kind of resolution. Let me say this, I can't stand New Year's resolutions. They drive me nuts, I hate the idea of setting some what "unrealistic" goals for myself. So I can assure, this blog and what you see today was not and won't ever be any type of resolution. Although, I did ask the Lord to show me something new. A very broad request, I know. At that time, I didn't know exactly what that meant either. 

A few weeks later, I received my acceptance letter to my dream bible college. His was in control and I had no doubt in His plan. But still, in the very depths of my heart, I had a desire....for something new.

Then. From out of nowhere, something was telling me to start a blog. I didn't know what I was going to write about, what it was going to be called, or about the hours of work it would take to keep up this blog. I also knew nothing about the amazing, inspiring, self-less, loving Christian women that dwelled in this unknown world I was apprehensive to enter. So, with all that I had, I began to quietly pray about this opportunity. I didn't tell anyone and continued to live my day to day life with it constantly on my mind. 
"Lord, you have shown me Your unfailing love. I know that You know exactly what You want me to do. Is this it? Is this what I have been waiting for? Show me. Make it so clear Lord. Make it so clear that this is what I should do."

Oh, He made it clear. He made it very clear. So clear that one day, I woke up and knew that this is exactly what God wanted me to do. I had no idea what I was doing. I just started writing. Weeks passed by and for some reason, people started following and commenting and blessing me in ways I couldn't imagine. People wanted to read what I had to say. Not only that, but they were responding positively to it! That just about rocked my world. 

As time grew, I learned more and more about the "blog world". Design, buttons, link-ups, HTML, ya know, the normal blogger lingo. I quickly realized that this was way more than adding a picture and typing up something to go with it. It was a lot of work. But what surprised me most was...I loved every part of it. Not by any means am I an "expert blogger". Yes, there still are many things I have to Google to learn how to do. But, I have grown so much and have learned so many things! If you are new blogger, don't give up! It can easily get frustrating. If this is truly your passion, time will give you the experience you need to keep going. 

Contrary to common belief, bloggers are real people. We aren't robots or geeks in the library making new websites every day. We are all people. We all have struggles, dreams, aspirations, and for one reason or another God has all called us to the same place to encourage each other and lift us up. I have met some amazing people. People that I could easily call my real life friends and not just my "blogging friends". I had no idea that people like that would come my way with this blog. 

Now it wasn't always puppies and rainbows around here. My time here on this blog has been a roller coaster. Some weeks would be great and I would walk away with some awesome content. Other weeks, I would stare at the screen, searching for the words to speak. In times like this, I had to step back and give The Author His pen back. While I am the one typing on these keys, time after time He provides me with the words to speak. And for that, I am extremely thankful. 

So, there you have it. There is my blogging story. Hopefully by God's grace, this won't be the end of this story. 

to be continued....

Friday, July 26, 2013

in His image...

"You were made in His image!!" We have become extremely calloused to this phrase. But do we really understand it? Can we even fathom being intricately design by the Creator of the sea, stars, and sun?

It can be overwhelming to just stare at His creation. As the sun rises and the waves roll in and out, we all begin to realize how big our God is. I mean, c'mon. Just take a look at that sunset. Unfortunately, my iPhone camera just doesn't do it justice. To see the sunset spread across the sky over miles and miles of beach and ocean was extremely humbling. 

"For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, my soul knows it very well."
Psalm 139:13-14

I have dealt with a lot of self confidence issues in the past. (I am precious, honored, and loved.) Thankfully, over the years, I have discovered that my "beauty" lies in the truth of my salvation. Not in my reflection. It is really sad how strongly our culture runs off of the outward appearance. Just yesterday, while I was walking around a crowded event at the beach, a random guy made a comment about my weight. That's right. A complete stranger. After the shock wore off, I was quite sad. Not for myself, I know that what he was uncalled for and not true. But I was sad for him. Obviously, there was something inside of him pushing to put another person down. With all that being said, I'm better than that quick jab. I was knit together by the creator of that beautiful sunset. Every single part of me, He has divinely placed. Who am I to question Him? He has a special plan for me and it has nothing to do with my outward appearance or my physical attributes. 

Simple Moments Stick

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop

Hello there! It is time for the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #23! Link up to gain new followers on GFC or bloglovin'!

Promote this blog hop by putting the button on your page, or throwing a shout out at the end of your post today or tomorrow. The more link ups we have the more our blogs will grow! Invite a friend, tweet it, or let your Facebook  friends know! :)

Make sure to follow the hosts and co-hosts!

Have fun and meet some friends!

Check Out My Current Giveaway

Lauren from Marked By Grace

Jessica from Blissfully Miller

Krystal from Pressing Pause

Brittney from Teaberry Trails 

Whitney from Miss Mama Me

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


thanks to Julie for these new "currently" questions
enjoyingSpotify and sending care packages 

praying about: my journey to bible college in a month (WHAT?! A MONTH?!) 

snacking on: oddly enough, nothing

debating: if i should walk two minutes up the street for a milkshake 

reading: my Old Testament survey textbook for bible college

grateful for: new stages in life and some pretty special people

thinking about: future posts, my blogging friends

listening to: my personalized T-Swift playlist (no shame in my game) 

watching: the sun set outside my window (how picturesque right?) 

feeling: like a cold is trying to attack my system 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

searching for the words to say...

I've have attempted to write this post for a long time now. I've sat numerous times in this exact spot devoting myself to searching for the words to say. But, alas, there I sat, staring at the screen, with nothing. For a while, this frustrated me. "What is wrong with me? I love to blog! Why is this such a problem for me?" As I spoke before, I love this blog. What it has become, all the people I have met, the spiritual growth, everything about it has been life changing. I can't imagine going back to my life before. Once a blogger, always a blogger. This part of my life beats very strongly in my heart, so just know, you guys weren't forgotten. 

After a week of mentally "tossing and turning" in my head, I asked God to help me. "Give me the words to speak!" I asked. I even reached out to a few of my real life friends for guidance. "Just keep it up, it will come to you." "Take a break for a few minutes, your brain is just tired." All very good advice, but I knew deep down this wasn't just any ordinary writer's block. Something was keeping me from writing. Something far beyond my control. 

A couple days ago, I finally realized what it was. Or what the secret was. I felt very strongly, the Lord telling me to be still and quiet. (Emphasis on the quiet) "I will give you the words when I'm ready, child." Well, tonight, He did just that. 

I was catching up on my She Reads Truth plan, when I stumbled upon these amazing words:
"I must believe in His goodness, and that what He has saved me for is so much greater than what He has saved me from." 

As a believer in Christ, I can't doubt for one second that He hasn't saved me for something amazing. Do I know what exactly that is? No. But I must have faith and put all my trust in Him. He deserves every single ounce of it. 

While all of this is going on in my "blog life", God is also bringing me to stages in my life that are amazing, but I wasn't quite ready for.  In order for me to enjoy myself in these new stages, I have to ensure that my heart is in the right place. I don't want to go running ahead in the race when God hasn't even started the timer yet.

With all of this being said, I would like to thank you guys for being patient with me lately. I believe that the last two weeks, God just wanted me to be quiet and listen. Trust me, He had a lot to say. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Come Surfing With Me!

"To Him who spread out the Earth above the waters, for His steadfast love endures forever."
Psalm 136:6

*shakah* Yes, the waves were terrible but the fellowship was sweet!
I would love for you guys to check out this awesome Christian sunglasses company! They have tons of styles and frames!

Check out Fortress Eyewear!
Buy Ed's Frames Here! 
Buy My Frames Here!

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

Hello there! It is time for the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop #22! Link up to gain new followers on GFC or bloglovin'!

Promote this blog hop by putting the button on your page, or throwing a shout out at the end of your post today or tomorrow. The more link ups we have the more our blogs will grow! Invite a friend, tweet it, or let your Facebook  friends know! :)

Make sure to follow the hosts and co-hosts!

Have fun and meet some friends!

Check Out My Current Giveaway

Lauren from Marked By Grace

Jessica from Blissfully Miller

Kate from Teal Vogue

Thursday, July 18, 2013

i left my heart on the shore...

Hello there guys! It is official, the sea has stollen my heart. I spent the day surfing with my church family. It was amazing. I sat there on the beach after a set and just couldn't help but be amazed at the Lord's creation. Have you ever just sat and watched the waves crash and roll? It's amazing. Our God is big, our God is great. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

a letter to my younger self...

Dear Lauren,
If you are reading this, I encourage you to read carefully and take my advice to heart. I know you, pretty well actually. I know that normally when people give you advice, you brush it off and try things for yourself. But this time, listen up and take notes. 

You Are Beautiful. Don't let anyone or anything tell you otherwise. You will look in the mirror and wonder when you will ever feel "pretty". You are. Every part of you is special and unique and that is amazing. I'm warning you now, you are not like other girls. You never will be. You won't dress like them, you won't believe in the same things they do, and you will have a completely different story that they will never understand. Stay you, it will be so worth it in the end. 

Fall In Love With Your Savior. He will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you. You are about to enter a chapter that will change your life forever. You will feel alone, abandoned, and not sure where to turn. Run to Him and cling to Him. He will bring you through everything and there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel, I promise. Start reading your bible. I know that now it seems to make no sense, just read it. Make it the most important part of your day, the reason you wake up every morning. It will be a beautiful romance. Fall in love with the One who loved you first. 

Just Keep Reading. I know people call you "the bookworm" or "the nerd". Ignore them. Beg mom and  dad to take you to the bookstore whenever they can. Make more room on the shelf for more books, they will become some of your most priceless memories. Keep reading Lauren. Just keep reading. It is going to prepare you to write. Write? You? Yes, that will be a big part of your life soon, but I will get to that later. 

Don't Cut Your Hair. When you are about 10, mom is going to cut just about all of your hair off. Seems like a good idea at the time right? It would be cute to have a bob! No. Please, please. I beg you, don't do it. When you are older, you will want your long hair back. You will destroy every single picture from that time and so badly want it back. So don't do it. 

Start Writing. Start writing and don't stop. Write everything down, even if its a bad idea. When you get older, you will wish you have all those silly story ideas. Don't get frustrated when people don't like it, because, I promise, some day many people will. More people then you think. You are going to start a blog and you will be blown away by how many people really want to know what you have to say. They will support you when no one else does. 

Have No Expectations. This covers many aspects of your life. Friends, relationships, places you think you will go, things you think you will do. I encourage you to just sit back and take everything as it comes. Don't try to plan every single second, it is not going to be worth it. God is going to throw you some curveballs, you won't know what to do or how to react. Just give Him all your life and I promise you, He will guide your steps. 

Lastly Lauren, have fun. In the next few years, you will make some memories that you will never forget. Embrace them and make the most of every single one. Above all else, live every single day for Him. Give Him all the glory. Give Him your heart. You are loved. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

A New Etsy Shop to Love!

Why hello there! I have a pretty exciting post for you all today! When Cheslea from A Girl Who Loved to Write contacted me last week, I was thrilled! I love her blog and her Etsy shop! Go check it out! Pretty Lovely Littles. She started crafting because her entire wedding was handmade! How totally amazing is that? She missed crafting so much that she started her own shop. It is filled with girly, pretty things that will brighten your day for an affordable cost!

I am totally in love with her leather braided anchor bracelet! I was very pleasantly surprised when I received it. I adore the color and the pendant was very simple, but still makes a statement. I can't wait to have it be a nice pop of color in a neutral outfit. The clasp was very strong and not flimsy at all! She has this bracelet available in 3 colors with 2 different anchor charm options, so you can definitely find one that you will love!

AND just for my readers, you will receive 20% off your order for the next month! Score! Just use the code "GRACE" at checkout!

Have a great Friday! Go show Chelsea some love! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Um.Um.Um...I'm Me!

I have an announcement: I'm Not Perfect! What?! Really?? Yes, as a matter of fact, I'm a bit of a goofball. And you know what? That's okay. What is amazing about the Lord is that He made each and every one of us different in our own way. I have a very, very unique personality. I'm almost always laughing, cracking jokes, and having a good time. I really can't even be around a camera without making faces like these. Lately, I've been really happy with who I am and what I've become. Because guess what? It is exactly how the Lord wants me to be, me. 

In the last couple weeks, I've been going through a little bit of a "blogging identity crisis". At the end of the day, I'm so amazed of how the Lord had worked through this blog. He was done some really cool things! Ultimately, I want to publish content for you that I'm proud of. That's it. It is really hard to be creative when you set unrealistic expectations for yourself! So I challenge you all, be happy with you! (Man, if that doesn't sound like a gym-membership t-shirt slogan, I don't know what does!)  
 With all that being said, I'm not a perfect vlogger. While editing is an amazing and magical thing, I'm still Lauren and I'm still crazy! I thought you guys would all enjoy a video of all my vlog bloopers! Thanks for always putting up with all my "ums"! Love you all! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

preparing your field...(sing the song of Psalm part 1)

The book of Psalm is truly one of the most beautiful books ever written. The language and the fluidity of the words is unlike anything in this world. It speaks of His faithfulness, just mercy, unending grace and furious love for His children. Over time, I've come across some pretty amazing verses in Psalm, I couldn't help but share them with you! I introduce you to my new 4 part series,  
"Sing the Song of Psalm".

I invite you guys to explore the book of Psalm this month. I can guarantee, you will not be disappointed! Share with everyone what you have been learning with the hashtag #singthesongofpsalm on Twitter and Instagram! I would love to discover new verses with you guys! 

"Those who shed tears as they plant will shout for joy when they reap the harvest." 
Psalm 126:5

Check out this clip from Facing the Giants:

"God will send the rain when He's ready. You need to prepare your fields to receive it."
There are times in life where God seems to just knock us off our feet. We truly feel as if we are facing giants. We find ourselves on our knees asking God, "Why? Why now? Why me?". In those moments, God is having us plant seeds along with our tears. We don't know it yet, but the difficulties we are going through are preparing us for something way bigger and better then we had expected.

Around this time, our spirits are weak, tired, and we feel as though we may never fight again. This, friends, is where we need to prepare our fields. In need of rain? In need of something to quench your spiritual thirst? He will send the rain when He is ready, all you need to do is prepare your fields. His word promises you that you can make it through. He will give you the strength to overcome.

He affirms to us that we will reap joy with our harvest. We just need to prepare our fields.

Dear Heavenly Father, 
I don't know what is going on or how to handle it. I feel defeated, forgotten, and unloved. I don't have the strength to go any farther. But, I know that you are the Ultimate Provider. You have full control of my heart and life and You want the very best for me. I'm asking You for rain. I'm  preparing my fields for You. I give You everything I have. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vlog #3-Things Bloggers Do

Here's to all the crazy and silly things we do! Let's all take a minute and laugh at ourselves!
"Stalk Me"Twitter: @markedbygraceb Instagram: @markedbygraceblog Pinterest: laurenmbg
Check out Lauren and Kate!

Monday, July 1, 2013

give me Jesus...

In the morning, when I rise: 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." 
Lamentations 3:22-23

When we wake up every morning, The Lord literally shines His face upon us. He has given us a new day, new joy, and new faith. The sun is almost like the Lord saying, "Here is your hope." I don't know about you, but usually, my mornings start off rather fast. Getting ready, writing posts, catching up with blogs, work, etc. I need to remind myself to stop. Stop what I'm doing, what I'm trying to accomplish and thank Him for my day. For allowing me to have another day in His grace.  In the morning, when I rise, before anything else, give me Jesus.

When I am alone: 

"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me."
Psalm 16:8

He is always with me. When I feel so alone, unloved, and unaccepted, He is with me. He will never forget me or leave me. I think we all have scars. We all have experienced what betrayal feels like. Find rest in the fact that we serve an unwavering God. His love never fails, neither does His presence.  When I am alone, give me Jesus.

When I come to die:

"Even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)"
Ephesians 2:5

I pray that my whole life is glorifying to Christ. After all, that is the sole reason I was put on the Earth. At the end of my lifetime, I want people to say, "Yes, Lauren did everything in the name of Christ. She had no regrets because everything she did was for Him." I honestly don't know what I will be known for. My career, my husband or my children. It could be anything. But here's the thing, none of those things or people will be standing there with me when I reach the gates of heaven. It will be me. So, when I come to die, give me Jesus.

You can have all of this world, give me Jesus.