Friday Finds: Words to Read


To those of you who struggle like M on a daily basis, I wanted to share some words that I believe can challenge and encourage you in the midst of self-esteem challenges. I strongly believe that God does not desire for us to stay in that muddy place of anxiety and confusion. He wants to pull us out of the pit. A huge portion of that journey is believing what HE says about you in His Word. But the words of others can also encourage us and remind us that others have hurt and found victory. Here are some of my favorites. I hope you check out one of them.

1.    Lies Young Women Believe (blog and book) by DeMoss and Gresh

2.   The Search for Significance by Robert McGee

3.   Graceful by Emily P. Freeman

4.   You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth

5.   Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You by Jenna and Max Lucado

6.   Perfectly Unique by Annie F. Downs

7.   Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy

8.   Me, Myself, & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild

9.   2nd Corinthians chapter 10 (especially verses 4-5)

“You are a beloved creation of the God of the heavens, that created you just like you are. When you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see, you need to remember that the God who remade this sunset right here, He formed you in your mother’s womb, every part of who you are. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing to look at and say,

“It’s not beautiful.”

You can’t look at some airbrushed picture of someone who doesn’t even look like that in real life and compare yourself to that. That’s not the reality of life. But what you are, is perfectly made by God of the heavens and He meant it on purpose.” 

― Lacey Mosley

Happy Friday, Friends.


Friday Finds: Favorites #2


FRIDAY! I am so looking forward to a change of pace for a few days. And since it’s Friday, I’m sharing whatever I want for today’s find! These are a few of my favorite things for this week in 2013. (If this was 1995 this list would include TGIF, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and FunYums… just so we’re clear.)

1. Best recipe of the week: Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini

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I cut this recipe out of my Real Simple almost two years ago, but have only made it one other time. After tasting his first bite my husband asked, “And why don’t we eat this all the time?” It’s that good. Once I worked out the kinks (using a mandolin to slice the eggplant evenly, baking on parchment paper to prevent sticking, keeping an eye on the oven), it was a really easy dish that looks like you’ve slaved the day away. You could definitely make a lower calorie option.


2.  Tool I use daily: Hebrew – Greek Keyword Study Bible


I’ve spent the past few weeks writing and prepping for some exciting speaking engagements in March and April. I’m covering some new topics, so my Keyword Study Bible has been invaluable to me. I WISH I had taken Hebrew and Greek in school, but this Bible definitely helps the amateur when it comes to the original text.


3.  Wall art: Hand painted sign by Aimee Weaver Designs


The 2nd half of my Birthday present arrived in the mail this week and I could not love it more! The verse from Song of Songs was actually part of the personal vows in my wedding. I’ve been waiting to order one forever and my husband finally beat me to the punch. He did good. The sign is gorgeous. Take a minute and check out Aimee’s designs!


4. Reading: Under the Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken

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I’ve touched on “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Van Auken before, but not in great detail. The book plays an instrumental part in my own love story. We had portions of the book read in our wedding ceremony. Needless to say, it’s one of my all-time favorite books. “Under the Mercy” is a follow-up to that memoir of love, loss, and eternal hope. I’m only a few chapters in and I don’t particularly want to put it down. :)


5.  Feeling baby girl kick.

I won’t get too sentimental, but I’m just about over the moon when it comes to feeling Little One move. She cracks me up. We’ve been trying to listen to her with a stethoscope and it seems as though wherever we choose to push in order to listen, she begins to kick aggressively. “STAY OUT OF MY ROOM.” Endearing now… we’ll see how that goes in the future!

I hope you had a great week and that you are planning some time for rest this weekend!


Friday Finds: Grace For Gayle

I met Gayle all the way back in 2000! She went to a local rival high school and then we both attended the same college. It’s always nice to catch a familiar face when you are in a new place. This past year Gayle launched a brand new dream and website and I would love to share it with you today. Gayle was kind enough to submit to a mini-interview so you could get to know her and a little bit about her heart. Read it and then make sure to bookmark or subscribe to Grace For Gayle!


1. Tell me about your title, “Grace for Gayle.” What’s the story behind it?

I have been blogging since 2004; writing and photography have been a hobby and passion of mine for a long time.  However, around 2009, some especially challenging things cropped up in my life.  Things that challenged my faith, and ultimately threatened my life in a very real way.
The Lord is many things, but one thing that He is the most clearly to me is my Redeemer and Rescuer.  By the end of 2011, I had given up; I honestly and truly had completely given up on God, myself, and life itself.
On January 3, 2012, I experienced a radical change in my life, when God freed me from the strongholds and bonds that had taken over my life — He not only broke those chains, He shattered them.  Hallelujah!
As God and I started rebuilding my life from the ground up, I felt like He was prompting me to return to writing and photography.  I wanted to share my joy with anyone who would listen!!  So, I stopped writing on my previous blog, and started Grace for Gayle in March 2012.  I chose the name “Grace for Gayle” because I RECEIVED GRACE.  I received redemption.  I received mercy.  I received rescue.
I am reminded of the story of the prostitute who washes Christ’s feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair.  She so desperately needed Christ’s forgiveness that she didn’t care what the onlookers thought.  He said:
“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” {Luke 7:47}
Those who have been forgiven much, love much — it is our human nature.  The reality is, I am alive today because of God’s mercy and grace, and I want to share that with the world, one blog post at a time.
2. Who is the target audience of “Grace for Gayle”?
I believe I am here to be an encourager.  I connect most with women, but I have a deep love for all people who are hurting and feel hopeless.  I write posts about a variety of things, from fashion and makeup and decorating, to embarrassing moments and funny things that happen in daily life.  But, all of it is through the lens of my faith, and I do my very best to weave God’s truth into everything I do.
There are soooo many hurting people out there, and a lot of those people are women, and a lot of those women are online!  I want to write about topics that interest women from all walks of life (moms, young marrieds, single folks, students!), and encourage them in any way I can through my writing.
A couple things I do consistently is Wednesday Wisdom (a faith-based post pretty much every week), I have a place for submitting prayer requests (anonymous is fine!), women can sign up for G-Mail (receive encouraging notes from me, via snail mail!), and many other ways to build community on my site.
3. What should we know about you?
First of all, I absolutely love you.  Cheesy, no?? ;) But in all seriousness, I love people, and would love to know you, personally. :)
Now that I hopefully have thoroughly convinced you either that I really do love y’all, or that I’m a little nuts (both?), I suppose I should tell you some other fun facts about me!  I was born in Indiana, raised in Texas, and have lived in Dallas almost my entire life, except for college (where I met Ginger!).  I currently live in McKinney, with my two dogs and two cats.  My profession is in Human Resources, but I dream of being a counselor someday.  I love working out (yoga, pilates, strength training), reading, blogging, and I’m addicted to podcasts, especially sermons.  I love to read, but rarely have time.  I love kids, especially hanging out with my friends’ kiddos.  I’m currently single, and currently not “looking” — and praying for contentment in that area!  (He’ll come along when he comes along, if he comes along . . . )
I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl: I either give something my all, or it completely falls by the wayside; I’m working on a little something called “balance”.  I am an introvert in an extrovert’s body, and treasure my alone time almost as much as being around those I love.
4. What’s something on your Christmas list this year?
Talk about planning ahead!  Christmas lists are hard for me, but something that is definitely on my list is a new DSLR camera, mine is starting to show its age!  I also have a whole slew of projects I’d like to complete at my house, so a shopping spree (or a gift card) for Lowe’s would also be fantastic. :)
5. And finally, what are three books that shaped or continue to shape your spiritual walk? (Aside from the Bible)
Having walked away from God for several years, I’m finding that I’m in need of re-learning things that my mind and heart used to know so well.  In the past, the books that I loved the most are The Unique Woman (Edwin Cole & wife), The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (Gary Chapman), Sex, Love & Happily Ever After (Craig Groeschel), and my daily reads are Jesus Calling (Sarah Young) and Praying God’s Word Day by Day (Beth Moore).
What are you waiting for? Head over to Grace for Gayle and start reading!
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Happy Friday!

Friday Finds: Smiles and Kleenex

Friday Finds Shirt

Just a warning: Today’s Friday Finds are tear inducing in the best way. You may have caught one of these already this week, but I gauruntee they are all worth watching.

These clips highlight what happens when love, kindness, compassion, creativity, and ingenuity break into our self-focused worlds. Grab a tissue and get ready to be encouraged!

1. Down Syndrome: Tim Harris & Family | You’ve Got

2. Basketball Team Manager Gets His Big Shot 

3. What Is Love?

Annnnd… I’m crying again.

Happy Friday, my friends!



Friday Finds: Reading My Mind

finds reading

I typically decide upon a theme for the week each Monday. I spend time reading, journaling, thinking, praying and then determine the posts that will follow. By 10:00am Monday morning I knew I wanted to explore hospitality this week.

Hours later my dear friend Renea beat me to the punch! She is a contributing writer to a great blog (Thinking Through Christianity) and also happens to be one of the wisest people I know. I wanted to share her thoughts on hospitality with you this Friday.

She begins…

When we hear or use the word hospitality, it conjures a pretty specific picture: (mostly married) women hosting dinner parties, (mostly married) women bringing covered dishes (which is Southern-speak for food that makes for delicious leftovers) to the homes of those who are suffering.

We might get a broader picture when we invoke the phrase Southern hospitality.* This consists of everything from someone offering you a ride in their chicken truck to nearest PepBoys when your car breaks down (true story), to bumming a cigaret off a stranger; from holding the elevator without being asked, to insisting on water breaks for the movers you’re paying by the half-second.

These are all good examples of hospitality. The first examples happen mostly among friends and family, the latter between strangers. Both are vital to the possibility of our progressing as… human beings.

But these expressions of hospitality are not usually part of our everyday comings and goings. They’re generally either extremely planned or extremely unplanned. And, sometimes what we primarily think of as hospitable acts lend themselves toward being extraverted acts.

Proposal: Hospitality is neither for certain sects of people—extraverts and women**—nor is hospitality a once in a while, or “merely polite,” venture. Hospitality, in it’s most essential form of expression, is ontological…

I can’t encourage you enough to follow the link and finish her article. (Don’t worry, I had to look up ontological for a refresher too. Ontology: The branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.) She makes some great points that still have me thinking.

May our homes and hearts be open!


Friday Finds: Favorite Things

Just think of today’s post as the “Oprah’s Favorite Things Show”, and if I had unlimited resources I would gift them all your way! A random list of what I currently utilize on a daily basis…


Ginger’s Favorite Things!


1. Flipboard News App. I check the top stories when I wake up in the morning. It’s become my go-to resource for everything that I missed while I was asleep. I try to stay up-to-date on current events. I may not be able to pronounce the name of every world leader, but at least Flipboard gives me a huge scope of stories to choose from.



2. Podcasts! If I’m not listening to music, I’m usually listening to a podcast. While I cook, exercise, drive… you name it. I use the Stitcher Radio App and frequently listen to: Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, This American Life, Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, The NPR: Hourly News Summary, among others. Now you know… I’m a public radio fan(atic?).



3. Reading out-loud as a family. Hubs and I have done this off and on since marrying. We take turns reading a book aloud to each other at night before we shut out the light. We just finished “To Kill A Mockingbird” and I was so sad to see it end. (I am especially sad to know that this is the end of my husband speaking to me in a southern accent. He makes a really good Atticus!) Looking forward to starting the next book soon: The follow-up to Lois Lowry’s “The Giver,” entitled “Son.”


4. My Tervis Tumbler with lid and straw. Sure, Willy the Wildcat from my Alma Mater is cool, but even if this was a blank cup I would still love it. It keeps my tables free from water rings, my water cold, and this accident-prone gal from spilling. I use it every day that it’s not in the dishwasher. For real.



5. My house moccasins. Even though I live in Arizona, the winter nights still get chilly. We try not to turn the heater on unless it’s going to get below 35 at night… thus the tile floor is FREEZING. I don’t walk in my house without them. I tried to find the exact design on the Daniel Green website, but no luck. They are super soft and comfy – so I’m sure all of their products will fit the bill.



6. The Valley of Vision. My dear friend Becca gave me this copy three years ago and I pull it out just about every morning. There are over 300 Puritan prayers inside. The humility of the beautiful words always stills my heart before I open the Word. I highly recommend this book.



7. A Mat Kearney Pandora Station. I’ve added in some Mumford & Sons for variety, but this is the go-to station in our house. We might be addicted. :)


8. I LOVE day planners. Blogging and real life friend Jordy Liz made me aware of one of her favorite calendars this year. I couldn’t resist and bought myself an early Christmas present. I was counting down the days to January so I could start using my Erin Condren Day Planner. I carry it with me all the time… it’s my right hand gal.



9. Smoothies. For the past 4 months I’ve been eating smoothies for breakfast at least 5 days a week. Since kicking caffeine, it’s been a nice replacement wake-up to get my day going. My personal recipe: 2 oz orange juice, about 1/2 cup of frozen berries, 1 small banana, 1/4 cup of flavored greek yogurt, 1/8 cup of fresh spinach. Blend that sucker up and enjoy.


10. Writing in my new “Getting to Know You” journal. We returned home from Youth Group one Sunday night to discover a bag hanging on our front door. Sweet friends from across town had left us this book to begin recording our new adventure: parenthood! I’m not sure why I’m choosing this format to share, but there it is. I’m in my second trimester and expecting our first child this summer. This really is my favorite realization each day! “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy!” Psalm 126:3



So now it’s obviously your turn to share your top picks. What gets the most use in your world?

Happy Friday!

Friday Finds: Peaceful Listens


I celebrated a birthday this week and received many thoughtful gifts, notes, and treasures. Two of my treasures just happened to be the music that has been on repeat all week. Of course I had to share them with you.

1. Lauridsen: Lux Aeterna, etc. / Salamunovich, Los Angeles Master Chorale

My dad sent this CD with wishes for peace when life needs calming in the coming year. The music is quiet enough to accompany my writing hours, but also passionate enough to keep me from falling asleep. If you are looking for some new music, I highly recommend this album. If you only spring for one movement or song I recommend “Les Chansons DesRoses.” Listen to my favorite selection below.

2. Oak & Apple by Wilder Adkins

I’ve known Renea since 10th grade. We’ve shared a lot, even a birthday party our senior year. We also share fond memories of Taco Bell, hot gluing homecoming mums, and writing English papers. (She was so good she had to get her Masters in it… and then some.) She knows me well, which is what this album by Wilder Adkins made perfect sense. I’ve never heard of the artist or album prior to this week, but his crooning voice has been my constant companion as I cook, clean, and study. I love the hymn lyrics, the folk instrumentals, and the simple harmonies. I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Check out the fav below.

Happy Friday, Friends.



Friday Finds: Joy for your Weekend

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What a week of ups and downs. I wanted to share a video that I saw months ago, but was reminded of just yesterday by my mother-in-law. What joy the music brings. After watching again I couldn’t help but look up the English translation to Beethoven’s masterpiece. Watch. Listen. Read. Have a wonderful weekend full of joy!


O friends, no more these sounds!
Let us sing more cheerful songs,
more full of joy!

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.

Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift;

She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can feel contentment,
And the cherub stands before God!

Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendor of the firmament;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world!

Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.

Do you fall in worship, you millions?
World, do you know your creator?

Seek him in the heavens;
Above the stars must He dwell.

“Ode to Joy”, by Ludwig Van Beethoven (Translated)


Friday Finds: The List


Ginger, why are you listing your favorites of 2012 on the first Friday in 2013?

Life happens, my friends. And sometimes, we have to be okay with being just a step behind. I  love receiving recommendations from others. I’ve spent the week catching up on Google Reader and reading the “Best Of 2012” lists that abound. I’ve bookmarked some must-reads/watch/see/find/wear/pin for this year. But I also took the time to think through my year and jot down a few of my top recommendations!

My standouts for 2012:

Best New Recipe Tried and Tasted: Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili. We aren’t vegan, paleo, or vegetarian but we both agree that this recipe is a SUPER WIN. Hearty, tasty, and yet full of vitamins. This here is good eats.

Favorite New Reads: Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman, Love Does by Bob Goff and the chef inside of me loved My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss

Favorite Films: The Chef, Argo, Lincoln, Les Miserables

Favorite New Albums: Babel by Mumford & Sons and Give Us Rest by The David Crowder Band

Favorite Television Show: Parenthood (Weeping just thinking about it)

Best Books to read again: The Giver by Lois Lowry and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Song with the most plays on iTunes: Waiting Here for You by Christy Nockles

And finally looking forward – on the reading list for 2013:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Storyline 2.0 by Donald Miller
Help, Thanks, Wow by Ann Lamott
Forgotten God by Francis Chan
Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
Written Together by Shanna Mallon
The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and The Heart of the Middle East by Sandy Tolan

Care to share your favs for the year or what’s in store for 2013? My list is calling for some additions!



Friday Finds: Advent Activity

The internet is full of great ideas for Advent Readings, Calendars, and the like- so I wanted to share something today that’s pretty unique. I’ve talked about Praying in Color before, and I’m sure I will again. ;)

Today I’m specifically sharing the Praying in Color Advent Calendar. The doodling side of my brain loves this format for prayer and meditation. Check out Sybil MacBeth’s blog posts on using color to pray this Advent.  This isn’t a product to purchase, but something you can start today with items in your home! She even has templates for recreating and printing. Take advantage and try coloring your thoughts and prayers this weekend.

Praying in Color Advent

“Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3 The Message)

Happy Friday!

Following and waiting,