Saturday, October 11, 2014

All Ye Who Are Weary

One thing I've noticed about the women online that I love and admire is their ability to rest.
They rest. 

They rest intentionally and they don't apologize for it. Not only to THEY rest..they encourage others to do so as well.

I rarely enjoy rest.

Don't get me wrong. I spend plenty of time just doing nothing...but I never actually call it rest.

It isn't intentional.  I often feel guilty WHILE I'm doing it and isn't actual rest, it's just procrastination.  #socialmedia  #candycrush #plantsvszombies

You guys.

So, it starts this vicious cycle.

     I know in my heart that I'm not well-rested.  So I'm emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed.   So I struggle to accomplish the things I'd like to finish.  So I don't "rest" because I feel like "things" aren't getting finished.  So I procrastinate because I'm exhausted and overwhelmed.  So I struggle to accomplish the things I'd like to finish.

Um.  I'm not even going to try to edit that mess of a paragraph, but you get my point.

With that being said, Scarlett had (minor) surgery yesterday and came home today.

Tim and I are on the hunt for a new couch, and we already sold ours on Craigslist.  Whoopsies. File that under: Things that seemed like a good idea at the time.

We are currently lounging on an air mattress covered in my grandma's old quilts.

This is one of those times where I'm like...

Oooohhh...Girls.  When it comes to marriage, choose wisely. Who cares about the stinkin' wedding?

You want to build the kind of life where you and your husband can sit on a half inflated mattress that's covered in dog hair and Diet Coke* and still call it good.  :) 

And it is. So good.

My point?

Netflix just added House Hunters & Gilmore Girls.  I just bought Let's All Be Brave.

This afternoon, we are resting.  Forever & ever. Amen.

*I'm exaggerating.  For those of you who plan to spend the night at our house, it's a perfectly good, almost new mattress. No spills. ;)  

Love & the weary world rejoices,

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Influence ReCap

Hi, my friends!  I wanted to write a quick post that sums up my experience at The Influence Conference in Indianapolis last weekend!  There was so much amazing truth and wisdom shared.  I'd love to unpack more of it on the blog as time allows.

I had the amazing opportunity to listen to...

Jamie Ivey
Jesse Connolly
Hayley Morgan
Jen Lula
Nancy Ray
Lara Casey
Sammy Rhodes 

Here were my "top ten" take-aways!

    1. You have to preach to yourself until you BELIEVE whatever it is God is telling you.  Choose three sentences to sum up what YOU “need to hear” and repeat those as often as needed. (Hayley/Lara) 
    2. We are chosen people. We should not be ashamed. (Jamie) 
    3. I love my Influence friends. Those Network members are just my people.
    4. Never underestimate the power of a young woman, up past her bedtime, who's been given a microphone ;) 
    5. You can never know how people really feel about you. You always know how Jesus feels about you, and He loves you. (Sammy)
    6. “But God...” We are sad. We are afraid. We feel ashamed...But God... (Hayley)
    7.  God hates "MY" kingdom.  God LOVES HIS kingdom.  (Jesse) 
    8. My identity is always secure because I am a child of God.  (Jamie) 
    9. The impossible is possible with God. (Lara) 
    10. When we confess our sins, God promises to heal us. (Lara)

I got a lot out of Jen and Nancy's talks as well, but their advice was more practical/business-related.  Their infinite wisdom will come out in bits and pieces, I'm sure.  I'll tweet them both when I make my first million. ;)

I had the chance to meet some of the ladies from my online community group.  So much love.

From Left to Right

Jenna // A Mamma Collective
Frances // The Living Letter Chronicles 
Kristen // When at Home

I was also able to room with my friend Katie again, and we met up with Lauren who we met on Twitter through Katie's An Inspired Life Book Club.

More! More! More! :)

I'm sad that it's over, but I'm excited for what's next.  I know this time has a purpose.  How amazing is that?

The Conference has inspired me to take one night off a week just to work on the blog/book/business side of things.  No cooking. No cleaning.  Just Biz-ness.  Tim is really supportive of this which is sweet. I just hope I can give up a little control for one night (he's a great cook). :)  I'm excited to see what comes of this.  I need a new word for "excited."

Love, and Scared is the New Brave,*

* (I can't take credit for this quote, if you remember who said, it, feel free to share!)

Also, thanks to Kirsten and Katie for the photos!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Influence Conference 2014

Hi, my friends!  I am so excited to write this post and link up to The Influence Network for a quick meet and greet!

Just wanted to do a quick intro. and say, "Hello!"

My name is Holly, and I'm a hugger.  :)

I live in The Midwest with my husband and our two dogs.  We've been married for six years, and we love to travel, cook together, and watch like, ALL THE NETFLIX.  #Fringe.

I also like riding my bike and working on crafts.  Also, did I mention Netflix?  ;)

I went to The Influence Conference last year after having left my job after 9 years.  It was such a refreshing change of pace and a safe place to find community.  I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into...I literally just bought my ticket and hoped for the best...haha.

I am so excited to see what God is going to do this year, and I'm super stoked to meet YOU!

I am hoping to do a "meet up" on the first night for people who are attending alone.  It is super scary to walk into these kinds of events without knowing a soul.  I'm planning to send out a tweet on the first night with an offer to buddy up with anybody who may need it!  It doesn't mean we have to be "besties" all weekend, but at least you'll have somebody to sit with the first night!  :)

I am totally splurging on a notebook and pen for The Conference, and I'm also bringing a tumbler for ice water. Those have become like, my security blankets.  Weird. I know.  My mom and sister are the same way. They always show up with a lil' glass o' ice water.  Bless.  

So. I always THINK I take too many selfies until I actually need a selfie.  And then I'm like, "WHERE ARE ALL THE SELFIES?"

Um. This was our Christmas card last year.  I'll try to do better, guys. ;)

You can find me on twitter and instagram! 

Over & Out!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Listen. Shoot. Run.

This is a post about listening.

I told Tim the other night that I had a dream that we saw a bear and Tim told me not to move and I moved and it ate me. #runonsentence

Last year, Tim started watching the Walking Dead, and after one particularly gruesome episode, he calmly greeted me at the door with the following information...

He said, "New family rule.  When I say, 'Shoot!', you shoot.  When I say, 'Run!', You run."

(I have no idea what the punctuation should look like in that sentence, but I will give you five dollars if you can figure it out).

You see, by now, Tim knows that I need the reminder.  Listen. Shoot. Run. Repeat.

So. With that being said, my prayer has been that I will listen to Tim when I am supposed to listen.  I'm sure that's the most "repressed-1950's-housewife" statement you've heard all week, but the truth is, I can give Tim a run for his money, and we both know it.

For some reason,  I've gotten into the habit of thinking that I just know better than he does, and that, my friends...

is stinky.

My prayer has also been that I will just listen whenever I am supposed to listen, in general.   Cause I think that's a pretty good habit to get into.  #idowhatiwant #justkidding

 Uh. I'm workin' on it.

There are so so so many deeper issues I'd love to address...honor...respect...the way our love for Christ is mirrored in our marriages and how our unwillingness to listen reflects that...but... I don't know about you all, but right now, my clock reads 10:36 PM.  At night, folks.

So.  Feel free to add to the topic in the comments.  Seriously. Tell me all about it.

In closing, here we are at a High School Football Game last weekend.  This was about 6 minutes before it absolutely dumped rain on us.  Tim kept telling me that the radar was calling for tons of rain.  Do you think I listened?

Love and don't move,

Monday, August 25, 2014

11 and 1/2 Minutes: A post about prayer in disguise

  I used to have a 45 minute work commute (at least). It was hard, y'all.  Sometimes, people handle these things with beauty and gratitude and grace.  My mother in law is one of them.  Her commute is  similar, and she handles it well.  

Uh...I am not one of those people.  

During those dark, dark mornings, as my 29th year turned to 30, and 30 turned into 31, I often pleaded (read: complained), "Lord.  I cannot have a baby and do this."  

Do you ever tell The Lord what you "can" and "cannot" do?  Sometimes, I do.  It's probably not a good idea, and I don't recommend it at all...yet, I still keep doing it in my own life.  Do as I say, kids.  Do as I say.  But...with that being said...

Now I have a new job (pure joy).  I am about 5 days in, and the other night,  it took me 11 minutes and 28 seconds to get home (I totally timed it and squealed with joy in the driveway).  And I think sometimes, maybe our pleading is also praying in disguise, we just don't know it at the time.  

     I'd say 75% of my semi-decent ideas come to me in the shower.  Um. And this post was one of them.  You know how cartoon characters always get an idea and yell, "TO THE LAB!,"  Well, I would yell, "TO THE SHOWER!" 

So,  I love this verse from Samuel, although it's not even remotely applicable to my life right now.  

 I think we all have examples of "this child" in our lives. For me, it was an 11 and 1/2 minute commute.

The Lord has granted me what I asked of Him, even though I didn't really know I was  asking at the time. closing...

When I am Being Ridiculous, I often find myself saying, "Everything is going to be ok."  But I want to live my life expecting good things.  I don't want to just settle for "ok."

The Bible says we can have "joy unspeakable and full of glory."

So.  Whatever  you're waiting for, keep waiting.  Don't you love that answer?  Ha.

And I'm not going to tell you, "Everything is going to be ok."  Because I want better for you than that.  I want better than that for both of us.

Love, and the half has never yet been told,

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blogger Love: Friday Favorites

     I'm really excited to do this link-up for the first time.  Meagan from All the Joys asked us to post some of our favorite posts from OTHER bloggers.  One of my prayers for "Cartwheels Down the Hall" is that I'll be able to help other bloggers share their work, so this link-up was right up my alley!

Brittany from Happy is a Choice- How to Handle Disappointment Gracefully 

Camille from Friday We're in Love- Five Relaxing Date Ideas (hint: BRUNCH, YES!) :)

My Friend, Jen Weaver, wrote - 10 Things Not to Say to a Childless Woman  (She nailed it. So     helpful and so true).

I would really like to do a better job of reading blogs.  This link-up has totally taught me that I need to focus on writing AND reading.  Good writers are good readers. :)

Hooray for the weekend...
     This weekend, I'm going to Volunteer Orientation at The Humane Society.  I'm really excited about it.  It's something I've been wanting to do for a long time!  I've been looking at lots of before/after rescue pictures.  My  heart!!!

     We're also going to Tim's 5 year High School Reunion.*  He grew up in a really small town in Northern Kentucky.  You can park on the Ohio side of the river and ride the ferry over to town.  It's  a really sweet, unique experience.  We love going there to visit (and eat ALL THE ICE CREAM)!

It's going to be a great weekend.  All good things.

I hope you have a nice weekend.

* If you believe we've only been out of High School for five years, I will hug your neck and bake you cookies.

Love and tell me all about it,

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Year's Worth of Rain

     It was a small farm, but it was also rather efficient, considering its size.  It consisted of a field, a barn, and a pale yellow house with a rose bush by the front door.  In the house, lived A Farmer and His Wife.

     They loved their lot in life.  So much so, that the townspeople took to simply calling them Farmer and Wife.

     One of the best parts about The Farm was that it sat on a hill, and Farmer and Wife could see all the houses in the valley from their enormous backyard, and behind every house, was a pond.

     Every morning, Farmer would wake to the sound of birds chirping, kiss Wife on the forehead and travel out to tend the fields, and every night, Farmer and Wife would sit on a quilt that Wife's grandmother had made and watch the people below as they swam,  fed the ducks and paddled their canoes in the ponds below.

  One night, while watching a flock of geese land gracefully onto a bright blue pond in the valley, Wife's eyes lit up.  She sat on her knees, locked eyes with Farmer and exclaimed, "We should dig our own pond!"

Her excitement was contagious, and Farmer quickly agreed.

They spent many nights, whispering in bed, making plans for their pond.

How deep would it be? How wide?  Where would they put it?

He bought her boots to dig in.  She bought him a shovel.

She would plant lilies.  He would build a bench.

For Farmer's birthday, Wife hired a man in town to build a canoe.

So. They started digging.  And digging. And digging.

When the last pile of dirt had been hauled away, Wife looked at Farmer, perplexed.

With sand in her hair and dirt on her cheeks, she placed her forearm on the handle of her shovel and stared at the large hole ahead.

" do we fill it?"

Farmer squinted in the sun as he replied, "Why, the rain, of course."

So they waited for it to rain.

In the meantime, Farmer bought Wife a red umbrella that matched the roses by the front door.

Every evening, they would sit on the quilt in the backyard, next to their hole and watch the people in the valley as they swam.

And as the sun started to set, they would take the laundry off the line, call the cats to the barn and close all the windows.

Because it was going to rain.  Of course. It was going to rain.

But still, they waited.

     Time passed, and they decided they were tired of waiting. They were going to fill the pond themselves.  As word spread, the people in the valley came to help.  They brought ropes and strong backs and buckets and drew water from a nearby well.

     But the hole was dry and full of sand and rocks and clay, and no matter how much water they poured in, the dirt seemed to drink it right up.  It was no use.  As the people left, they shook hands with Farmer and hugged Wife.  They didn't know what to say, but Farmer and Wife knew they were loved and that the people were sorry.

After everyone was gone, Wife sat on the quilt and cried softly into Farmer's shoulder.

     He would give her a year's worth of rain if he could. They both knew it, and that was their only comfort on that sad, dry evening.

     Many times, the townspeople invited Farmer and  Wife to swim, and they enjoyed it whole heartedly. Wife made pies filled to the brim with apples and peaches.  They spent hours swimming in the valley and floating in borrowed canoes.  The geese grew to recognize their voices and ran towards them with orange beaks open upon Farmer and Wife's arrival.  Small freckles appeared across Farmer's nose, and Wife's skin grew warm and tan.

But it wasn't the same.  It wasn't the same as feeding their own geese and manning their own canoe.

     Still more months passed with no rain.  But what made it worse was that it rained in the valley.  For days on end, large and plentiful drops fell from the sky.  The children in the town wore yellow raincoats and danced in the puddles.  Gutters cracked.  Fields flooded.  But all Farmer and Wife could do was sit on their hill, next to their hole and watch.

And wait.

      One afternoon, Farmer came home to find Wife sitting alone on the quilt, facing the hole.  He had decided, long ago, that he was finished waiting for the rain, but he stayed outside for Wife's sake.

He wanted them both to go inside together.  He loved her deeply, and he felt that was best.

He whispered, gently, "I love you.  I'm home.  It's time to come in."

Without turning around, she coldly replied, "I'm not coming in.  I'm waiting for it to rain."

But it didn't rain.

     And every night, Farmer would come home and whisper into Wife's dark, brown hair, "I love you.  I'm home.  It's time to come in."

And every night, Wife bitterly refused.

     Sometimes, he would make her tea with two lumps of sugar and a teaspoon of honey. Just the way she liked it.

But she never drank it, and she never brought the cups back in.

     He took her tea until he ran out of cups.  And when he ran out of cups, he bought new ones.  Because he loved her deeply.

     Wife's condition grew worse.  She begged the sky for rain.  She refused to come in.  If she just waited long enough, if she just believed hard enough, it would rain.  She knew it would rain.  Shame on Farmer for not believing.

Even still...

"I love you. I'm home.  It's time to come in."

     She dug her fingers into the dry dirt.  If the sky would not send rain, she would fill the pond herself.  She leaned over the edge of the hole and wept to the sound of splashing in the valley below.

But her weeping wasn't enough.

One day, Farmer whispered his usual greeting, "I love you. I'm home. It's time to come in."

And much to his surprise, Wife quietly collected all the scattered cups and followed him in.

     After that night, they began to busy themselves with other tasks in the evenings.  Wife took up knitting, and made things especially for Farmer.  She had absolutely no talent for it whatsoever, but Farmer wore each piece with pride.

He loved her deeply.

     Farmer took an interest in reading, and told Wife all kinds of stories.  They were great tales about knights and giants, science and flight.

     More time passed.  They gave the canoe to a man in town whose boat had been stolen.  Wife filled the bottom with treats from their garden, Farmer tied a bright blue ribbon around it, and the look on the man's face filled their hearts with joy.

     Farmer came home one day to find Wife tossing apple slices into the hole; her face twisted with worry.  A  goat had fallen into the hole, and she wasn't strong enough to pull it out.  Farmer bit into one of the apples and chuckled at her tender heart.  He puffed up his chest and rolled up his sleeves, ready to pull the goat to safety, but after a long day trapped in the hole, the goat was too afraid to approach him.

It didn't trust Farmer.  It was looking for Wife.

     Farmer glanced in her direction.  She was crying quietly.  He had mistaken her compassion for weakness.  

He needed her softness.  She needed his strength.  They would have to work together.

     Once the goat was free, Farmer built a fence around the hole so none of the other animals would fall in.

     After that, they didn't talk about the hole anymore, and it made Wife sad.  But there was nothing more to say.  It was a hole that they'd hoped would be a pond, but it didn't rain on the hill anymore.

      At one point, they considered filling it in with rocks and dirt and sand, but then it occurred to them that they didn't have enough of any of those things to really make much of a difference, so it stayed a hole.  To some, the story was short and sad, but Farmer and Wife would come to learn that the hole was helping them become better people.  

     Eventually, Farmer and Wife agreed that when they went to the valley, instead of fretting over the hole, they would tell people about how much they loved their little, yellow house and the rose bush by the door.  They didn't have a pond, but they were glad they had each other.

     They still sat on the quilt at sunset, but instead of looking at the people in the valley, they watched for wildlife instead.  Farmer bought a huge book about birds, and Wife wrote a list in the back of all the ones they'd spotted thus far. 

     One chilly spring morning, in the window of time between birds building their nests and laying their eggs, Farmer woke up concerned.  He whispered aloud, "Where are the birds?"  Gone was the familiar chirping; the sweet sound of flapping wings.

And then he heard the reason why.

He ran his hand through Wife's dark hair until her eyes opened slowly.

A smile spread across her face, and he was sure she heard it, too...

it was the sound of ...drip...drip....drip...on the window.

Images via here & here.