Quotable: The only thing you control is how you respond to your disappointments

"...The truth is, you never had control in the first place. The only thing you do control is how you respond to your disappointments and unexpected obstacles." - Pete Wilson, Plan B

…[T]he truth is, you never had control in the first place. The only thing you do control is how you respond to your disappointments and unexpected obstacles. And here you have some options.

You can allow the river of fear, anger, and disappointment to just rage…

Another possibility is to keep trying harder. You can turn yourself inside out trying to make things happen…

But you have yet another choice.

You can get to the place where you can say, ‘Not my will, but your will [God]. I’m not in control. You are.’

If you can do that, if you can leave the puppet strings in the hands of someone who actually knows what he is doing, you’ll have a lot better chance of surviving your shattered dreams. – Pete Wilson, Plan B

My health is a frequent reminder that I’m not in control. Endometriosis keeps me on my toes on a week-to-week and month-to-month basis. I’m that annoying girl with 1,001 food intolerances that make cooking for me or picking a restaurant super tough. Exposure to chemical cleaning supplies once made the inside of my nostril swell up so much I had to have surgery to cut an opening for airflow. And on top of that I feel like I’m allllways (okay, definitely more often than the average person) sick. Not just kinda under the weather, but running a fever, “sorry I can’t come to your wedding / birthday party / Super Bowl party / play you’ve been working on all winter / help you move / my own honeymoon” type sick. And these sick-enough-to-have-a-fever-and-not-leave-the-couch instances always always always fall coincidentally on days when I’ve been invited to something important or fun or meaningful.

That happened this past week and I was furious with God about it. I was supposed to help my friends move to their first new home. I’d known about it for a month, put it on my calendar, and was super excited to help out and see their new place. And like clock work I came down with strep throat. At least I thought it was strep, I’d had it before, the sudden swollen throat that makes even water feel like tiny shards of glass, the low-grade steady fever, slight nausea and no other symptoms to suggest a virus or cold. I went to the doctor and told him what I thought and was sent away with a dismissive “it’s just a virus, you’ll be fine.”

Long story shorter, five grueling painful days later I was finally diagnosed with strep and prescribed the antibiotics I need (I hope!). But in the meantime I was mad at God. Mad that He lets me get sick so often, mad that He allows it to interfere with meaningful social invitations when He knows I so desperately want community, mad that He “set me up for suffering the minute I was born prematurely and stuck in an incubator” (yeah I went down that rabbit hole, I was really mature about the whole situation).

But the fact of the matter is it’s not up to me. I’m not in control. I can’t control my immune system or when I get sick or whether or not doctors make correct diagnoses. The only thing I can control is how I respond. I can get mad and let the river of fear, anger, and disappointment rage like I did this past week, I can try harder, or I can seek God in the midst of my disappointment and trust that if I seek His will He’ll guide me through. Easier said than done, but an important reminder during tough times all the same.

So when I read the quote above from pastor Pete Wilson’s book Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would? I knew I needed to pause and write about it.

PSA for the day: don’t be like me.

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com


linking up with Jack of All Trades at A Harvest of Blessing

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Dose of Hope: We Belong

We belong to God and He loves us. We can trust that He'll always take care of us even when hard times hit. {praylivecreate.com} #Bible #scripture #quotes
If we connect the dots, I love what God’s Word tells us about His love for us. It goes so far as to say we belong to Him. (Anyone else thinking of The Lumineers “Ho Hey” right now?) He went so far as to give His own life for us. And because He purchased our lives with His own, we can trust that even when the hardest times come our way (and they will), He will see us through. He’s not going to let anything defeat us. We belong to Him as His prized possession and He loves us like woah.

All who belong to the Lord,
    show how you love him… – Psalm 31:23a (CEV)

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.- 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NLT)

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (NLT)

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? – Matthew 6:28-30 (NLT)


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Marriage and Happy Beginnings

why marriage isn't a happy ending, but a beginning {praylivecreate.com}

 photo by (the always amazing) Annabelle Dando

I get to spend my days dreaming up ways to make wedding planning easier, and I can honestly say I love every second of it.  There’s something about marriage – even as I wish that churches and communities would stop defining people by terms like “couples” and “singles” – that is worth celebrating. But whenever I hear people talk about a marriage or wedding as a “happy ending” I don’t really get it. Inside, the wheels start turning.

Hesh and I married two weeks before my 30th birthday and 2 months before his 32nd, and for the life of me I’m still trying to figure out what about marriage looks like an ending.

Our incompleteness now that we’ve found our “better half”?

Our search for love?

Or if we take the “unhappy ending” perspective, our personhood? Our independence? Our freedom?

Or all of the above if we’re to believe anything society has to say about walking down the aisle?

I actually firmly believe in biblical definitions of and mandates for marriage: two becoming one, building a relationship on respect and love, mutual servanthood, and all of that. Even though I’m still learning what it l means and I don’t always get them right. And I’m the first to make jokes about my “better half” when the moment is right. I know at the end of the day marriage is a monumental shift and a bonding of two people together, and I know that this is in and of itself awesome .

But I don’t get the “ending” part of that phrase “happy ending.” Because for the life of me, in the two short years of my marriage I haven’t found a good opportunity for the credits to roll and to call this thing smooth sailing from here.

Marriage is hard. It’s happy, but it’s hard. It’s daily. It’s a new beginning, and it’s also more of the same.

What I’ve come to find is very little ends at the end of the aisle. While we exchange our vows and promise to be together until death do us part, and we begin what will ideally be a lifetime of commitment and getting to know each other more and more, we’re still bringing ourselves into the equation. Whatever personality quirks or hang ups or issues or cultural influences or even traditions and passions and dreams and fears, anxieties, and past experiences, even in the best of marriages and especially in the best of marriages, those things come with us. They don’t end. Some of them will benefit the marriage and some of them are smoothed away with time. Like iron sharpening iron, or even as one of my former pastors put it, sandpaper smoothing down a block, which is probably exactly how it feels.

But marriage isn’t an ending, it’s a beginning. Of whatever crazy new change this union of two people is bringing about.

And it’s not an ending to some perceived incompleteness that comes before the rings have been exchanged. No matter how much our culture tries to tell us so, there is nothing about saying “I do” that makes us a more full person. There is no moment after the wedding night in which one of the two wakes up and says, “everything I’ve ever wanted in life has finally been fulfilled.”

At least not for long. Because if we subscribe to that model of thinking there will always be something next to make us feel incomplete until we’ve checked it off the list: children or a house or getting the job of our dreams. And then living where we want, having that perfect wardrobe, or even wearing the right size jeans. There will always be something telling  us we’re incomplete if we’re willing to believe that lie.

Marriage is after all modeled on the gospel. God’s first institution to unite humanity in a relationship so intimate that it hints of God’s love for us (even as it’s not the only form of human relationship that does so – consider parenting or care giving or even the faithfulness that comes with long term friendships and family relationships). And like the gospel, it transforms us into a new creation and it teaches us something about faithfulness and endurance and love that doesn’t give up even when it really, really wants to. It’s about commitment to a person who doesn’t always deserve it and love for someone even when we can’t always feel it.

When we make marriage about a happy ending we forget about the lifetime – literally – of the hard work of loving and surrendering and serving and honoring and cherishing and trying to figure out what all of that means that comes afterward. Marriage is a beginning and a blessed one, but a beginning nonetheless and it usually has nothing to do with getting what we want or tying life up with a pretty bow and everything to do with becoming more like the One who created it in the first place. Because it’s only in Christ that we’re complete and it’s only in Him we stake our personhood.

He’s our alpha and our omega. The beginning and the end. And married or single or something in between, our happiness is really only found in Him.

p.s. I love how Rachel at Our Yellow Door puts it,too!

Kim from praylivecreate.com

Linking up with Community Brew at Wetherills Say I Do

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Affordable Art: Flamingos


5 gorgeous flamingo art prints for $30 or less!

Flamingos have been trending in the art and design world for a little while now. I’m smitten with these beautiful prints by independent artists, all at great affordable prices ($30 and under!).

1. Stand Tall Darling Flaming Print | LilyandVal via Etsy ($19) / 2. Pink Flamingo Art Print of Original Gouache Watercolor Painting | FrancisMarin via Etsy ($10) / 3. Flamingo No. 2 | The Animal Print Shop ($25) / 4. Flamingo Mingle | Cozamia ($31) / 5. Kissing Flamingo Heart | Avent Creative Studios via Art.com ($30)  p.s. As always, none of these are affiliate links.

Or get the look for even less – this batch below is all free printable flamingo art. You can’t beat that!

5 different FREE flamingo art printables

1. It’s By Your Side I Make My Home Flamingo Printable | bre purposed / 2. Vintage printable  / 3. Vintage alphabet clip art  / 4.  Flamingo Printable | Sarah M. Dorsey  / 5. Pretty in Pink Flamingos | Oh So Lovely  p.s. As always, none of these are affiliate links.

And because we’re talking about flamingos – have you seen this video of flamingo chicks at the National Zoo? I still haven’t made it over there yet but this puts it higher on the to-do list.

I have more affordable art posts coming up throughout the next month or so (Tuesdays or Wednesdays), let me know what you think! Happy decorating!

For more affordable art posts click here. Linking up with Jack of All Trades at A Harvest of Blessing.

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com

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Dose of Hope: Chosen


God calls us "chosen." His Word says He chose us in advance to be His. (Jesus speaking) “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” – John 15:16 {praylivecreate.com} #scripture #faith

(Jesus speaking) “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” – John 15:16

Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. – Ephesians 1:11

Earlier this summer I was tagging along with Heshan on a sunset photo shoot, and as I was wandering downstream and snapping photos of my feet on the shore I started thinking about how different things might be if we understood and believed the things God says about us and our lives. Not just intellectually, but on a real emotional level.

One of the first names that came to mind is chosen. Jesus told His disciples that He chose them. They were hand picked and appointed to be His – in advance. Before they ever earned it. Before they even knew what that meant. And the same goes for you and me. We could go into how awesome this is on a grace level. That it truly is by grace that we’ve been saved and not by our own works. It’s amazing stuff.

But I love the idea of sitting with the names God has for us in all of this and letting it sink in and change the way we see ourselves, others, and our lives. We’re chosen. Hand selected and crafted to be His for all eternity. It’s the kind of truth that can make us brave and bold enough to be ourselves if we really know it, so that’s this week’s dose of hope. Let’s sit with this truth and let it sink into our hearts as we go through this weekend and into next week, and let’s not forget that God calls us chosen to be His and to walk with Him for all eternity.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:8-10


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The List

Do you know that feeling when you come back from vacation and suddenly it’s been a whole week and you still don’t know where the time went? This week flew by almost before I even knew it began. Here’s a quick round up of interesting reads and cute things to look at while unwinding this weekend.


DIY felt peonies via Something Turquoise

I browse a lot of wedding blogs for my job, and Something Turquoise is one of my faves for easy and adorable DIY projects. Even though my personal wedding planning days are behind me, their series on adorable felt flowers (like these peonies) was so good I can’t help but share it. I love this idea for home, birthday parties, or just gifting to loved ones.

Impact Simplicity and Savings

Impact: Simplicity and Savings

This week the summer 2014 issue of Impact came out, and I’m excited about it on so many levels. The e-zine is published by two amazing women, Amy and Lisa, with a focus on simple ways we can positively impact others, and each issue features a round up of real women sharing real talk on how we can impact others in our day to day lives. And even though I have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to this summer’s topic on simplicity and savings, I’m thrilled to be sitting alongside a great group of women in this issue while we talk about little things we can do to simplify in our own lives so we can give to others. Their first issue on Impact with Crafts is amazing, and I highly recommend checking it out for loads of inspiration.


via Oh My Deer on Etsy

I stumbled across Oh My Deer’s shop on Etsy, and I’m in love with everything about this paper goods and home lettering shop. Her “be a good friend” print is great, and obviously I wish I had ten more blank walls in our apartment for her super simple fruit of the Spirit print.

On a random note, I had no idea the dude who played Buster in Arrested Development was a Christian, but I just read this interview he gave last year after the Emmy’s with Christianity Today, and it’s a good one.

What are you looking at, reading, and loving right now? Let us know.


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My Experience with Oil Pulling (a 4 month experiment turned way of life)

		My experience with oil pulling started as experiment and turned into a way of life. Here’s why I love it!

I started oil pulling after this blog post started making waves (crass title, but interesting subject matter). I was desperate for relief from sinus issues and when I saw the post on Pinterest I suddenly remembered my neighbor telling me about oil pulling a year earlier. Approximately 360 days and one blog post later and I was interested.

You’ve probably heard, but in a nutshell oil pulling is the practice of basically swishing a teaspoon or tablespoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Wikipedia says it’s an ancient Indian technique. Google around and it’s purported to help with a number of things:

  • Clearing sinuses
  • Whitening teeth
  • Alleviating TMJ
  • Helping with gum / mouth / dental health
  • Detoxing
  • Hormone balancing

I decided to give it a go hoping for help with sinus issues and hopefully teeth whitening (my teeth are so yellow even though I don’t drink iced tea or soda or smoke! What gives?!).  I had a jar of organic coconut oil on hand and figured I’d try it out for two weeks or so and see how it went.

Guys, I’m sold. It’s a way of life for me now.

Here’s what I did. Four days a week, just after a hot and steamy shower, I used between one teaspoon to one tablespoon of coconut oil for 20 minutes. I set the timer on my phone and found a distraction, usually reading blogs or folding laundry to make the time pass quickly. When time’s up discard of the oil in a trash can (not in the sink as it can clog your drain!). I’m not going to lie, I don’t find oil pulling soothing or relaxing in any way. And the texture of the oil is super weird for the first couple minutes.

Here’s why I keep doing it.


The first three times I oil pulled, within an hour of finishing I noticed a lot of sinus drainage. And as I continued to oil pull I noticed that my sinuses continued to open up. I skipped two weeks when I went on vacation and noticed a big difference in my sinuses becoming stuffy again, and clearing up again once I resumed oil pulling. And the other day I developed post nasal drip after standing near a cigar smoker – I oil pulled and it was immediately cleared up. It seriously works!


Ugh. I wish. Nada.


It’s definitely helped with decreasing my sensitivity to cold and cleaning my teeth (obvs it’s not a replacement for flossing or anything, though).


So, I didn’t notice this next one at first. In fact, it took about four months for me to really realize what was happening. Bear with me, this is about to get TMI. I’ve mentioned briefly before that I have endometriosis and a hormone imbalance that causes me to have frequent and super heavy periods.  Oil pulling didn’t cure my endometriosis or anything, BUT for the last four months my cycle has been less frequent and almost normal.  Like as in once a month instead of every 3 weeks. That’s a big deal and I’m beginning to wonder if maybe oil pulling is helping?

Anyway, that’s my story in a nutshell and I thought it was worth sharing in case any one else could benefit from it.

Have you tried oil pulling? What do you think?

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com

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