Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm so thankful Jesus gave me the courage to walk across the stage this past Sunday when fear wanted to keep me home in bed! Jesus is LIFE! He is Hope. He Heals. I'm so thankful for Jesus!

She Is Good

I feel like I have big shoes to fill after Abigail’s introduction! I hope I do it justice.

I’m Heidi. I am a graphic designer, small business owner and a lover of travel. I am a Type A list maker. I have lived in nine states and 14 cities. I attended 11 different schools. I hate onions. I like black licorice. I love grapefruit. I have no favorite color, but my closet is organized by color. I am a left-handed introvert.

I have been wracking my brain for what to write about here for weeks. I am not at the end of some grand journey where I have wisdom or some deep reflections to impart. Instead, I feel like I am in the midst of a painful and ongoing battle in multiple areas of my life. One of the most significant battles being my “woman”hood.

I say womanhood with quotes because I am a 36 year old who has yet to claim herself as a “woman”. In my own mind, I am still a girl, trying to find her way into the world of women. I think a lot of this has to do with the environment I was raised in, but even more so because of the pain of infertility and loss I have experienced surrounding my body.

My body has not been a source of life or goodness for me. It has not been capable of doing the things it was designed to do, so I carry a lot of hatred and shame toward it. Shame that I am working hard to combat on a daily basis.

I was recently invited to participate in a friend’s birthday party. This particular birthday party was unlike any I had ever been to, and yet it was a party that I think every girl should be required to attend.

It was a celebration of what it means to be a woman, created in the image of God, and to honor the goodness of being a woman, our bodies, and our feminine selves.

I was anxious going into the evening because, as mentioned, this is an area where I struggle, and I am willing to bet a good portion of girls/woman do, especially in the Christian culture. Our bodies and our female goodness are hard to talk about. It’s a topic that is talked around, but never really about directly. (Why is that? I’m still trying to figure that out. There is so much fear.)

And so my friend, who is on a similar journey of discovering the goodness of the woman God created her to be, gathered eight women together to share in this special, intimate evening with her. Her 36th birthday.

We were each asked to bring a blessing and a symbol of what represents femininity to us. We dressed up. We sat in a circle on the floor on blankets, reclining on pillows, with candles glowing and lights strung overhead. And, we feasted together in similar fashion of a Seder.


My friend had brought various symbols that were used to mark pivotal parts of her story that she shared with us in between courses of the meal.

Sea water – represented her favorite quote by Isak Dinesen
“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.”
Juniper oil – represented youth, protection, chastity
Pomegranate – represented fertility
Covering – using a cloth to cover the pomegranate to symbolize all the times she was shamed for her body or that her femininity was shrouded
Bitter herb – symbolized the heartache of being detached and distant to her feminine self, the sorrow/loneliness as she tries to understand her feminine self
Cedar – this scent represented a cleansing, forgiveness to her
Cutting the pomegranate –opening it up and sharing her journey with her sisterhood of women

After she had so bravely opened her heart to us, we each took time, through tears and our own vulnerability, to share our journey as women. We presented our symbols of femininity: candles, poems, jewelry, art, nail polish; and after each blessing, we handed her a single pale pink rose. Roses are a symbol of femininity to her and so collectively we gave a bouquet of flowers to bless her effort to know and understand who she is and what she likes as a woman.

The gift I chose to bring, along with the above print I designed, was a candle. In my mind, candles represent warmth, glow, nurturing, sensuality, and the ability to light up a room. They are captivating and fragrant. All the things I think women are. We are fierce yet gentle. Strong, but calm. We are amazing.

But we forget that last part.

We berate. We belittle. We shame. We cover up. We snuff out. We forget. We forget the goodness that comes with being a woman, created by God.

I will never forget that special evening where I sat around with eight other women honoring the goodness of who we are, in all our various forms. We came as we were and offered what we had of ourselves to give.

Oh yeah, and we ended the night with homemade carrot cake and dancing in the kitchen to Justin Bieber while we did dishes. Perfect end to a beautiful evening.

I challenge you to check in with where you are with your body. I encourage you to be kind with yourself wherever you find yourself to be. How can we love others if we do not first love ourselves? It is not easy. It’s hard to love ourselves at times. That is what God desires for us, though. Love.

Bonus! As Abigail mentioned in her previous post, I am the owner of Haven Paperie, a small stationery business. I chose three cards that I think are fitting for this post that I want to giveaway to one of you!
Here’s how to enter to win these cards, plus stamps:
  1. Follow Haven Paperie on whatever social media platform you choose
  2. In the comments section below, answer the following question. What gift would you bring to represent your journey as a woman or what makes you feel feminine?
  3. For the guys out there, you can enter for a special woman in your life, too. Your question is: What do you value about the women in your life?
  4. Not on social media? Add that to your comment so we know!

A winner will be chosen Dec 1.

Meet Heidi!

This is my dear friend, Heidi. My creative, inspiring, courageous, hilarious, generous, beautiful friend, Heidi. She's on the left. I'm on the right. We first met when volunteering at the same youth group in VA. Teens would get us confused. One girl in particular used to run up to me quite often and say, "Hey Heidi!" I can't blame her. Blondes with big teethy smiles can be confusing.

Heidi is the creator and CEO of her own companies- Heth Design and Haven Paperie. I'm honored to announce she will be gracing us with her presence on the blog tomorrow. There may even be a little give away involved. ;) Come on back tomorrow- I'm excited for you to get a glimpse into her beautiful heart.

You Are There & You Are Light

For the months of September and October, the arts ministry I'm involved with (Infused Arts) had a huge exhibit at our church. 37 visual artists and writers combined to work for six months on our individual projects wrapped around the theme of the names of God. All kinds of artists came together to collaborate, share ideas, give and receive inspiration, and most importantly, seek the Spirit. We had some powerful times of worship, prayer, encouragement, and laughter as we studied and read about the hundreds of different names of our God! Artists tend to work alone, but something amazing happened when we came together once a month to share in the love of Jesus, and create for Him.

This week I am sharing the personal Psalm the Spirit put in my heart for the exhibit. It wasn't the style of writing I usually do. It wasn't my original plan. That's why I know it's His. If you find yourself in a place desiring to connect with Jesus in a fresh way, try writing a Psalm in your own words. Make it personal. Having a relationship with Jesus is the most personal relationship we can ever know. That's one difference between the one true God, and any other god on this planet. Someone out there today needs to hear this.

Jesus knows you. He is There.

photo credit: deAnn Roe; left painting: Molly Puz; right booklet: where my piece was printed 

You Are There
A personal Psalm

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

 When my baby boy has a seizure, you are there.

When he spikes a third fever this month, and I live in terror over another seizure, you are there.

When he has a mysterious fever with no explanation, you are there.

When I agonize over waiting on his blood work results, you are there.

“Where can I flee from your presence?”

 When I lie in bed in the middle of the night terrified for my child, you are there.

When panic attacks me throughout the day, you are there.

When fear consumes my every thought, you are there.

When anxiety robs me of my joy, you are there.

When the enemy confuses my thoughts, you are there.

“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”

 In my darkest hours, you are there.

When I cannot see your light, you are there.

When I long to hide from this ache, you are there.

You Are Light
A Personal Reflection
When the perfect song comes on the radio the second I turn on the car, you are light.

When a YouTube video plays those lyrics I needed to hear, you are light.

When a teen girl talks to me and seeks advice, you are light.

When my infant daughter smiles and giggles, you are light.

When my baby son runs into my arms, you are light.

When my husband says I look pretty, you are light.

When a package shows up in the mail for me, you are light.

When a friend brings groceries for a week, you are light.

 “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”


No Other Gods- Bible Study Review

Over the summer a group of friends and I went through Kelly Minter's Bible Study, What Love is. Kelly mentioned her struggle with fear in the book, and suggested her previously written study, No Other Gods. I jumped right on it, and another friend joined in!

No Other Gods is part of The Living Room Series. (Not to be mistaken with her stand alone book by the same title.) Kelly not only teaches readers how to dive deeply into Scripture, but she teaches how to do it within the context of community. Having dinner together, playing music, or lighting a candle can really set a relaxing and inviting atmosphere to the gathering. I fully believe in that concept, but at this phase of life it doesn't work too well. My friend and I consistently met up at Dunkin Donuts (free coffee every Monday if Penn State wins!), away from the baby chaos at home, and we found that environment to be just as sweet. Coffee + Donuts + Bible study = a win, win, win!

The study guides readers into making room for Jesus on a heart level. Kelly dives into many aspects of modern day idols/gods, some of which I had never thought about. For instance, she opened my eyes to one of the enemy's many schemes. Satan often "speaks a lot of true things, yet none of it is Truth." This was hugely profound to me. Often I hear the enemy whispering very scary true things into my head, but those things are not GOD'S TRUTH which resides in my heart. I am learning to make decisions based on Truth vs. true.

As an example, on the lesson page for that day I wrote,"True: moving to a house 13 miles away, being a half hour away from our church building and community. TRUTH: God's ways are not my ways, God is sovereign, God is all-knowing, God is trust-worthy, God is amazing"

This book was life-giving, eye-opening, and used by God to help bring peace and Truth into my heart. You can order your very own copy here.


Jesus in 43 Inches

We've been living in our new house for over three weeks now! It was fun to be all moved just in time for Halloween. That was the day I heard the door bell ring for the first time. It had been too early in the day for Trick or Treaters, and we had friends coming over, but not for another hour. I assumed somebody was arriving early. (Can we just stop and take a minute to bemoan early arrivers?!) Even though I wasn't ready for early guests, I gave myself a pep talk to calm down. The extra roll of toilet paper wasn't out yet in the guest bathroom- no one likes to be caught without the extra roll, the apples hadn't been sliced, Basye needed to be changed- nobody likes to arrive at a stinky diaper house, Jase needed to be changed out of his PJ's (a story for another day), and the dessert wasn't made, but I would handle those early arrivers.

This all flashed through my mind in just a few seconds. As I waited at the top of the stairs to hear which guests had arrived early, Chuck opened the front door. When he finally called up to me, "Baaaaabe! Come look at this!" things really got exciting! I ran downstairs to find a huge, and I mean HUGE present sitting on our front stoop. A very large box was completely wrapped in bright yellow paper. In case you can't read it in the picture, there was a typed note that said, "A gift for your beautiful family. We love you guys!" What on earth? We kept looking around trying to spot the sneaky gift-givers, wondering if they were watching us from afar.

What else could we do but rip that paper off like there was no tomorrow? Look what we found!

That's right! A FORTY-THREE inch flat screen TELEVISION! I think you can tell how shocked we were by the look on Chuck's face. My hand actually flew to my mouth in utter surprise. How was this even happening? Now before I go on, you have to understand our last TV. It was so old, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to donate it to the Smithsonian. And talk about huge. It was a beast of a TV. Chuck and I had only dreamt that "maybe someday" we would buy a flat screen, and be able to hang it up on the wall. Someday came out of nowhere, guys.

Sometimes Jesus just delivers a 43 inch flat screen to your door. HE knew we had this material desire. HE knew our living room was a bit awkwardly shaped, and a flat screen TV would help. HE knew I had poor vision and couldn't see the TV very well from where our couch had to be positioned. HE knew how excited we would be to get such a gift. HE knew how overwhelmed with love we would feel by whoever HE chose to so generously bless us. HE KNEW. AND HE BLESSED.

To our stealth little angels out there, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for such a gift. We are overwhelmed with Jesus. We are overwhelmed by HIS love. We are overwhelmed by YOUR love. And we thank you a thousand times. Blessings upon blessings all over you!


I had a post all lined up for today. Being that it's launch week and all, I wanted to write two posts instead of one. But, today turned out to be nothing like I expected, and thought some of you might be able to relate to the day I'm having. I would rather post the happy story already written, but in the spirit of being genuine I'll share this little tidbit instead.

Today stinks. Several months ago I heard about a conference that was happening close by. I was really excited about it! I love conferences, and love hearing from ministry leaders. I was in the process of arranging a sitter so I could attend the conference (not an easy feat), when my hopes of going got shot down. At first I was angry, but then anger turned to hurt. Eventually days kept passing, a couple months went by, and I got over it. Until today. The actual day of the conference.

Enter the ever-so-popular Pity Party. I woke up irritated that Chuck got to spend his whole day with friends and coworkers at a nice conference with a nice lunch while I stayed home. Even my brother and his girl friend from out of town are there today, as well as out of town friends! I got angry all over again. It hurts to feel left out, and it stinks. The kids were especially fussy this morning, and by 7:35am I was already on the verge of losing my mind. I've spent the majority of the day near tears.

No, I did not handle the situation in the right way. I sent Chuck an angry text this morning, all the while freaking out at the kids, and even telling the dog to SHUT UP. (She really does need to stop the barking during nap time.) Humanity is ugly.

But what's beautiful is Jesus in humanity. In the midst of my nasty, He showed up in pure sweetness. I had received a package from my sister-in-law yesterday. I knew she was mailing me a coat and boots for Jase, so I didn't bother to open the box until today. Well, she surprised the kids by throwing in a couple toys they were so excited about! Heck, as you can see, even the boots were exciting!

I wish I could say after that I turned into an angel. More like Godzilla. When I finally couldn't take myself anymore, I prayed, "I don't have it in me to choose a good attitude today. Would you please just help me?" Later during a very few minutes I had to squeeze in some of my Bible study, Jesus gave me the desire to drop on my knees and cry out. "Jesus I'm angry, I'm hurt. I'm sorry for my awful behavior and I forgive. This day is so long, and so stinky- please just help me get through it!"

I felt an instant glimmer of hope. I was forgiven. I apologized to my husband. The day moved on. While the kids played, I unpacked some more boxes. I found our CD player. We listened to kids praise music. Jase and I danced. Basye smiled contently from her crib. There was a subtle change in my heart.

His name is Jesus.


I was sitting on our cozy, more than well-worn couch with my hands wrapped around a warm mug of coffee. The windows were open because the house was stuffy, but I found myself getting chilly by the slight Fall breeze. My friend Molly was sitting across from me on the other end of our larger than life couch. As we were discussing our Bible study lessons for that week, I blurted out, “I’m so annoyed by this author. I wish she would give us REAL LIFE examples as to what she’s talking about! Her references to her struggles are so vague.” Molly whole-heartedly agreed. As much as we were learning and growing from the study, we longed for stories that had actually happened to the author that could help us navigate through our own real lives.

A few days later, my friend Lisa (who recently wrote the post, “Disease to Please”) and I were talking about the struggle of blogging. Lisa’s words echo my heart completely, “I’m still that same person that struggles with the things I’m writing about! Sometimes you feel it would be nice if you could write something and that would mean that you’d have overcome it, and that you’d have arrived, and that you no longer struggled with it- you had this victory. But when I write about the things I’m learning and the Scripture God’s using, seconds later the struggle I wrote about is happening again."

These two experiences with friends have given me a small window of insight into something at least the three of us long for. My hunch is that other women out there long for the same thing. This is not a new concept by any means, but I think we all want to see real life examples, and hear real life stories of what our struggles look like walked out in someone else. Not too long ago I heard Beth Moore share she is no longer shackled by fear. And I wonder to myself quite often, “How did you get there? What did it take? What did it look like specifically for you to overcome fear?” I even wrote her a letter asking my questions!

I would like to invite you to join me on this journey. This journey of watching real life examples, and hearing real life stories written out on this very blog. If you long to know what it looks and feels like for people to be walking the trenches with Jesus, this place is for you. These stories aren’t just going to be about overcoming fear, although sign me up for the answer to that one, but about all sorts of struggles, sins, heartaches, joys, triumphs, victories, and healing- all through Jesus!
If you long to hear a real life version of something you are going through, leave a comment or contact me about it. I would be honored to listen to your heart and share from my own personal experiences, or reach out to someone else who can write more appropriately to your circumstance.

Writing is what I am most compelled by the love of Christ to do. Every week it is my hope to share a real Jesus story with you. You better believe I have my doubts. You better believe I’m scared. You better believe I’m overwhelmed. But, I receive this mission He has placed in my heart, and I would be so happy if you would join me!

3, 2, 1....BLASTOFF! (See you Thursday!)

Living It Out

The realization of a lifelong dream starts tomorrow. My stomach is in knots. I feel giddy. I've thought of this moment long into the night, and have fallen asleep so happy at just the idea. God has given me a brand new vision for this blog. He has inspired my heart, and brought many creative people around to help on this adventure! My hands are nearly shaking as I try to grasp all God has planned.
Falling in love with Jesus is blowing.my.mind. He is opening doors, and unleashing His Spirit on me afresh. When I breathe Him in, He tastes sweet. He refreshes my lungs. He cleanses out those mundane cobwebs that have wrapped their silky webs around my mind deceiving me into believing "this is all life has to offer." There is more. So much more. I'm ready to live my dream of writing, and the moment is now.
Join me TOMORROW, November 3, as I pour the dream of my heart into the wide ocean that is the blog world.