Monday, December 31, 2018

It's the Last day of the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign!!!

Hello all!

I just wanted to share with you an update on the Reece's Rainbow adoption agency's Miracle of Christmas Campaign that I have been sharing throughout the month! The goal for this campaign was to raise $1,000 for each of the little ones on the angel tree, to help their future families in the adoption process, and to raise awareness for their need for a home. You can learn more on Reece's Rainbow's site, but I wanted to share a special little boy with you one last time; Scott.

Scott is the little boy that I have been advocating for this year, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the help that you have been to this little one. We have raised over 600 dollars for his account, and that is truly amazing. THANK YOU for all the money, prayers, and shares that you have given for this little man!

Scott is about five years old now, and has many special needs... But the most important special need? He needs a family. 

And for a family to adopt him is going to mean adoption fees and for them to see his page, and we have the ability to help that happen! Scott is still under goal, as are many of the children this year, and he needs just over $360 more to get to goal, by midnight tonight. Would you consider helping one more time? A donation of a dollar, five, fifteen, twenty-seven... Whatever you could spare, it has the potential to change this little boy's life forever. And that is amazing! And every time you share Scott's page, it has the potential to change his life forever. So today, would you please consider doing that? Donate to his account, or tell someone about this campaign, or pray for Scott to get the funds and family he needs. We have less than 13 hours left to make a difference for Scott during this campaign! His account can be found here: . And thank you, so much, for your help! I appreciate each and every one of you!

And a happy New Year's Eve to everyone <3! 

Rejoicing in Hope,

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thankfulness Thursday

It's a Thursday evening, and this was supposed to be the fifth Thankfulness Thursday post on my blog this month.

It's the 29th of the month, and I'm supposed to have posted my recap for October by now.

It's been two weeks since I started an impromptu blog post after something happened during my day that I really just wanted to share my thoughts on.

It's been over a week since I felt like I truly recovered from Write31, haha. There is such a thing as "too much of a good thing". Writing is my thing, I truly *have* to do it. But writing for everyone to see every single day can be just as draining as it is helpful.

Life is full, and it's good. It's also cold, but don't tell my mom. But it's been too long - I've been so busy I haven't even journaled. And so - it's time to write again. Because it's just as draining to not write at all. And balance is key, right?

There are so many small things that I am thankful for right now. Sweaters. Soft blankets. (Y'all know my obsession with fabric. I know these things usually make the list... humor me. I'm always cold and I like to pretend I'm in a soft, warm cloud, okay ;)?) Being paid 2 cents to buy a book I've been eyeing for months now. Sandwiches made from leftover rolls. A walk on a chilly day with a couple of my favorite people. A crochet hook in my hand. (I have decided that I'm gonna start selling Granny square blankets sometime, y'all. They are so therapeutic to make. But they have to pay for their own cost if I'm going to keep making them, haha.)

The things that seem small, but really aren't. Putting up the Christmas tree with our favorite Christmas CD, hot chocolate, and spending the time reliving and adding to those traditions that make the season one I look forward to. A text from a new friend, letting me know that she wanted to pass on some information that she thought would help me. Kind words and a helpful hand. Isaac's laugh.

Some big things. All of you who have donated to little Scott's adoption fund. I can't thank you enough! And that Ronald has found his family, after being on the angel tree for 3 years now. How kind the Lord is! Finding unexpected blessings where I didn't look for them, and learning more about the balance of resting and investing.

I don't have a lot of time to sit and write down the things that make me smile in a day right now. It makes me sad. And yet, you know what, I am such a creature of routine... I would probably write the same things over and over, because they never get old. Snuggling Noah before we get up. Washing my hair. A cheery hello from the lady who bakes the cookies at Chick-fil-a. I love once-in-a-life things, too, but I find the most joy from consistent, anticipated, looked for moments. There have been a lot of those lately. So if my list looks the same as last year... it might be boring to read, but there is truly so much thankfulness that goes into the writing of it.

And I'm thankful for each of you who still check in on my little blog after it's been so quiet (after being so busy!). I know I have several posts I have promised to share that are still in drafts, but I just haven't been able to do them justice yet. I'm hopeful not to be quite such a stranger in the coming weeks. But no matter what, you each make me smile when you read and comment!

Rejoicing in Hope,

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign ✽ Meet Scott

Lookie who's back already ;). You knew you couldn't get rid of me, didn't you?! Haha :). I wanted to share some news with you today, so I hope you don't mind very much ;).

Welcome to November! I always love the start of a new month, but today is extra special, because the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign is open as of today!!! This means that from now to the 31st of December, Reece's Rainbow Adoption Agency is trying to raise 1,000 dollars for each of the sweet babies on the "Angel Tree"! This is something I look forward to each year, seeing all the awareness raised for each of the children and watching their accounts move up the tree, from 0 to 100 to 500 to 1,000... and knowing that it's helping each of those children have a better chance at being placed in a forever family to love them and protect them <3. In the past, I have donated to an account or two (usually the one furthest down on the tree, because it makes my choice easiest, because, in the words of Abbi, how do you choose how to help?!). But this year, I really wanted to do something a little more involved, and so, I am little Scott's advocate this year! You've already seen Scott on my blog last week, but please be introduced to him a little more formally...

You can visit Scott's page for more information HERE.
How do you choose who to help? It's so hard, truly, and I would love to see all of these children climb the 1,000 dollar wall this year, so please, help wherever you want! But, I chose to sponsor Scott specifically for a couple of different reasons. I started out looking through the files of 0-5 year old boys with "other" special needs on purpose because I knew that 1. Reece's Rainbow is known for their down syndrome focus, so many people would be choosing from the down syndrome pages, and 2. it's a known fact in adoption that boys are harder to place than girls, and so I wanted to up one of these little guys accounts, so that when a family came along for him, they had as much help as possible :). Then I combed through the pages, opened several accounts, narrowed down to the three who touched my heart with the least amount in their grants, and asked to be assigned one of the three, haha :). Scott's story definitely touched me - he's a little fighter, that's for sure! He'll be about 4 years old now, and I would love to hear that this little one who has been through so much was placed in a home!

I would be thrilled if any of you would like to donate to Scott's account - or to pray that he would find a loving, godly family to call his own! When you donate to a child's account, 10% of the money is dispersed in other children's accounts, as well, so you will really be helping multiple children :)! The goal is for Scott's MACC account to be at $1,000 by December 31st, and I can't wait to see what God will do with this year's campaign, not just for Scott, but for all of these little ones on the tree this year! And I want to thank each of you right now for every bit of help that you give <3!

Rejoicing in Christ,
Bri <3

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Reformation Day and Goodbye Write31!

Happy Reformation day, y'all!

October 31st...
...the end of a busy month.
...Reformation day.
...our "Christmas kick-off" evening.
...the end of the Write31 challenge.

Where has the month gone? 3 weeks ago, I was asking, "why can't it be Christmas right NOW?!" and "how am I going to keep up these posts this month?!" Today I woke up and thought, "How is it already the end of October?! It doesn't feel like it's time yet, the year just started and it was so far away!"

We had a fun, busy day today. After working a short morning shift, I came home, showered, and crashed on the couch for an unplanned short nap while my younger siblings watched a Martin Luther animated documentory... opps, haha. But then I was ready to go for all the other festivities ;)! We made little crafts to go with a bible study, treats, and read through some history books and Luther's 95 theses. And colored some beautifully detailed, reformation themed coloring pages, which always reminds me that I love to color and I never do it, haha.

After our reformation "party"... we celebrated our Christmas kick off with chili and a popcorn night with our first Christmas movie of the year :). (Except, technically not our first this year, because I didn't get to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" last year, so I made everyone watch it with me in early January this year, haha... so, first of the season?) Yes, I was counting down the hours until I would be making hot chocolate and could play some Christmas music. I am telling y'all, I am intent on living this upcoming Christmas season to the utmost. Don't ask me why it feels like such a big deal this year compared to others, but I am so happy it's close, haha :).

And now, as I am looking at wrapping this month up, the only thing left to do is post on my blog one last time! I made it the whole month. It wasn't easy, and there was really no theme or even as much prepration as I had wanted in my posts, but I persevered anyway, and I think that I am happy to have done this challenge one last time, before it closed :). The funny thing is, I still have 3-5 posts lined up in my head right now, even after writing for 32 days straight (I posted September 30th, too!). So, despite being busy, I hope to work on those here and there throughout the week and be able to share regularly here still, though not daily. I really do enjoy blogging, though I prefer to do so without pressure to achieve a goal, haha. I have enjoyed the friendships I have found through it, and I am thankful for each of you taking the time to read my posts on my simple little blog. Thank you for joining me this month!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, and give you peace!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Train Whistles and Nostalgia

Out of the whole month, this is the hardest day to make myself post. It's late, and I am tired. I have already tried to start a post and it crashed, while it's so late it's technically "tomorrow". I honestly don't even care that much tonight, but I know I will hate it tomorrow if I skip today, so, I am trying my best, no matter the reasons I have not to. I can't do thought out, well structured sentences tonight. I'm not even positive what I'm aiming towards right now, haha. I am feeling nostalgic this evening (autumn = nostalgic. Sleepy = nostalgic. Cold snappy weather = nostalgic. Sleepy and cold in autumn = ...oh, y'all can't even imagine XD).

Am I the only one who feels like there is a difference between sleepy and tired? I mean, sometimes they are the same thing, but usually, tired is "get me to bed before I lose my temper" and sleepy is "life is good but I need to wrap up in blankets for a minute to truly enjoy it". Or something like that? Being sleepy is more content than being tired. It's the perfect state of mind to be in to dream, or look back and process in full measure to get the most out of the moments we have lived.

I remember that when I was little, I once read in a book that a train whistle signaled adventure, and just the sound of it could tranport your mind to another place. As an 8 year old, I fell in love with that way of looking at it. I remember staying awake on purpose many nights, just to be able to hear the train near our house before I fell asleep.

It didn't do me much good... I have never been an adventurous person. When I was little I thought that was because I hadn't found that "place" that I wanted to go to, and so I couldn't imagine it in detail. I would find out where that special to me place was someday and have a whole imagined adventure to go with it. But as I have grown older, I have realized that the reason I never saw *myself* on an adventure when thinking on them when I would hear that train was because, I am just not a traveling, wanderlust sort of person. I like the known, the homelike, the familiar.

So why did I always stay awake for the train whistle, when it never really made me feel those adventurous visions that it might hold for others? I really think, in large part, it was because that *became* homelike and familiar to me, after it stuck in my mind for so long. The sound never really said adventure to me, though I always thought of that quote. It usually, in my mind, turned smoothly to dreams or memories. It was a gentle, steady, rythmic sound... it's a very nostalgic to me, though I'm sure I didn't know that word at that time. To this day, a train whistle reminds me to stop and muse a bit, though not about going to places I have never seen, only heard of. I am content where I am. I don't want to travel the world. I want to remain with the familiar, I don't want to say goodbye.

But I can still dream - or remember. And it's just one of those sorts of nights, so I believe I will!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Little Town ✽ Trip to Aiken

I really wanted to visit a small town with cute shops and scenery for my birthday this year, but because the best was an hour away and the day was rainy with the coming hurricane, we decided to postpone it until after our birthday season and make a girl's day out of it <3. So today, Mama, Tori, Bethi and I took a day trip to Aiken! (And little Isaac was a very well behaved little party crasher, of course ;) <3...) It was so much fun <3! Aiken is a gorgeous little town (which was apparently awarded south's best small town of 2018!), and there was so much to enjoy.

First we stopped for coffee, which was a feat to accomplish, because everything was against that coffee... haha. But we persevered and enjoyed our drinks anyway ;), and were on the road! Our first destination was Hopeland gardens, which was a gorgeous small park. It had huge trees and lots of fountains/ponds.

Also, snow. Or the SC equivalent, Christmas lights being prepared for next month ;)...

Isaac was mesmerized by the water fountain!

This right here was some sort of gum tree... I don't remember which, because there were several variations there. But this one is supposed to be known in the south as one of the best for fall foliage, with lots of yellow leaves whrn the season turns... see how "yellow" they are? That's our fall this year, y'all ;P.

Tori said these little wood/tree whatever they ares looked like meercats sitting by the water :).

Our little buddy in the back <3. He did SO good the whole trip!

Yes, my phone camera is bad. Yes, this town is adorable anyway.

Isaac matches the horse in the art store! (And I do not, I know. Ignore me, he couldn't hold himself, hahaha! I wanted to get him "riding" it, but of course there was a sign that said do not touch :P...)

I really liked the clay sculpture art, for some reason! They were unique and fun.

We stopped at a couple of antique shops while we were there, and one of them had a whole wall of shelves... all of them ticking all together, it was such a fun sound <3!

Baby found himself in an antique mirror ;). He was adorable talking to his reflection. (A lady who passed us just could not handle how cute it was, haha, she had to tell him!)

Sadly, those books were not real, hahaha! But I thought this was gorgeous!

We stopped by a little sweet shop, and we had to pick up some taffy and other candies ;). We enjoyed some chocolate covered caramels on the way home, they were delicious! I overheard another lady in the shop saying that no small town was complete without a candy shop, and I whispered to Mama, "truth", haha. This particular candy shop sold popcorn - on the cob! I had never seen that before!

That window display <3. Decorating with candy - and so beautifully! I loved it!

I loved these flowers!

We stayed pretty much until the the shops we wanted to window shop through closed - and we didn't even make it to a couple, because they weren't open on Mondays! The town has a thing for horses (hence the horse Isaac matched ;)...), and it was cute to see the "yield to horses" signs with the traffic signals. (There were also signs to "please do not park for the health of our trees" around what looked like a dirt parking lot?) There was so much beautiful architecture, and cute items in all the local/handcraft/art areas, it was definitely everything I was hoping it would be!

As everything closed, we stopped to grab some snacks and head home, bringing home a pizza party so the rest of the family could help us finish up our amazing day!

Do you like small towns? What is your favorite thing about them/to do while you are there :)?!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"Snap Shots" from My First Week at Work

Okay, before I get into my post, can some one please explain stick chickens to me? I genuinely do not understand. But I laughed, lol! (And, no, these aren't found at Chick-fil-a. I ducked into Tractor Supply to get out of the rain after work, haha.) I have so many questions. But Tractor Supply has cute layering shirts for somewhere that I didn't even realize sold clothes, hahaha. (And I promise my hand is as cold as it looks in that picture... lol.)

As of last week, I am officially a part-time cashier at Chick-fil-a, and while the transition felt rather intense (especially the first morning I was on my own), I also feel like after just one week I already have a good understanding of the rhythm and am already settled in a good bit - I was ready for this. (And learned much faster than I expected, which has been such a relief to my perfectionistic self... haha!) I know several of you have shown interest in what I am doing, and so I thought you'd enjoy hearing a little bit about the highlights of my first week :).

  • First off, major thanks to my Mama, who rescued me the first morning as I tried to iron my uniform and 1. it wouldn't iron and 2. instead the iron was leaking water all over it. I had about 12 minutes to get out the door and was already past the anxious crying stage and at the resigned despair stage when I called on her, but she turned things around so fast and so well. It was honestly amazing.
  • Soooo, I briefly considered a job at a coffee shop before applying to Chick-fil-a, but decided against it for several reasons. But get this, the first thing I was trained on at Chick-fil-A... was making iced coffees. Y'all do not know how funny I find this.
  • My trainer also showed me how to make shakes quite early on, and she was in shock at how well she thought I did. And the very first strawberry shake I made went to a sweet older lady who popped up at my elbow thirty minutes later just to tell me that it was the best shake she'd ever had (I then admitted to her that it was my first strawberry one, haha!). Coffee, ice cream, and people. If this job description doesn't fit me, I don't know what does. Haha!
  • I work with some really great people! I feel like I've already made a few friends. Especially one of the girls who took me "under her wing" if you will, during my first solo day, just to encourage me and fill in some of the gaps, she was so sweet.
  • The highlight of my morning shift was when an elderly gentleman heard about the discount for his senior coffee and he was so excited and touched like I had just made his morning with a gift. It definitely paid me back for the panic I felt not knowing how to do the discount the first time it had been ordered, haha!
  • The little kids that come up for refills and trading in their toys for ice cream cones are definitely some of my favorite customers, I love all the smiles!
  • Yesterday, I had to stay at work just a few minutes late. After I gathered up my belongings to leave, I was heading back to the front of the store when I saw a familiar face. "Mr Robert?!?!" I asked, as I came out the door. My uniform threw him off for about ten seconds, and then his face just totally made my day as he recognized me! Mr Robert was our fill in choir director in Virginia (yes, I said Virginia!), and it had been years since I had seen him! He's moved here to be near his brother, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see him... but I was excited!
It's definitely been a change that we're all getting adjusted to, I think. While my hours aren't long, I was gone last week four days in a row, and the 3rd day, Joey looked at my uniform and asked me, "Why do you always leave?" His little voice made me so sad <3. But now this week he wants me to work as soon as possible, because Mama told him that one morning when I work, she'll take him shopping, sooo, I believe I may have a fair weather friend on my hands, haha ;).

On the whole, I am enjoying it. I definitely feel like it was the right decision and that the Lord is going to use this chapter of my life to grow me and bless me, even though it's one I didn't see when I "skimmed the pages" before. And so I am grateful :)!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Journey of Rest, and a Task Unexpected

"There is no end to the choices we must make daily, nor a limit to how weighty these decisions can seem at times. Even small decisions sometimes have large implications - and we fear we lack the ability to choose wisely... but today's crossroads aren't meant to highlight our own wisdom or ability to stay on course, but rather to reveal where we place our confidence." - "GraceLaced"

"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you." -Psalm 9:10

"God assures His people, promising, 'I am with you.' He doesn't promise victory on their terms, safety according to their ideas of comfort, or a timeline that makes sense, but the Lord is faithful to tell His children that He is near, ever present, and carrying them." - "GraceLaced"

I've talked many times this year about how the Lord has been taking me through a journey of learning to rest, and what that has meant. How it didn't mean working less, but trusting more - working less through myself and more to follow Christ, even if where He led me didn't make "sense" or appear to be my first choice of where to be.

One way that this journey has taken me around a previously unexpected bend, was my decision to apply for a job. I have never been opposed to having a job - I believe we can serve God wherever we are, as long as we do it with a heart grounded in his word and eager for His glory. I have run my own small business, and done several volunteer "jobs" outside of the home, and I have been seeking out an opportunity to become a caregiver for the disabled for several years now.

It wasn't applying to a job that caused me to have to really trust that God had a plan for my life, but the fact that it wasn't the job I had in mind. I have hoped, for years, to have that very certain job of respite care giving. Over the past couple of years, as I dig further into the requirements for this field, I find more and more that it's not something I can just begin. I need experience working with the disabled in a professional setting, I need RNA certification, I possibly need to have worked with children professionally, as well, among other things. The problem is, I couldn't just jump into those things, either. They will require money and prepration. And, though I fought for a long time - at first, subconsciously, and then, as I realized what was really going on in my mind, back and forth with myself - because, in a way, I think I felt like taking any other job was giving up on my dreams, failing my calling.

But slowly I began to realize that it wasn't at all. If I took this step, I wouldn't be giving up. I would be preparing. Investing. Moving closer and growing into who I am meant to be.

And so, with a lot of wise encouragement from my Mama, and a lot of wise counsel from my Daddy, I prayed that I was taking the right step. I looked at my options. I weighed the pros and cons. I made a decision. And I applied. And then I prayed even harder - prayed that I had made the right choice, that God would close the door if I hadn't, and prayed that I would serve Him well by serving others, even if it was not where I wanted to serve long-term.

And after two long days of wondering if I had done the right thing, not because I thought I was wrong, but because it was the biggest, most life-changing decision I had ever made, the ball started rolling - and fast. It was so neat to watch God at work, showing me again and again that He just wanted me to be willing to follow where He was leading, even if it wasn't easy, wasn't where I expected to be. All He asked of me was a willing heart, and He would provide all that was needed to do the work.

In ways that I would never have designed on my own, but which have already blessed me in so many ways!

Rejoicing in Christ,

Friday, October 26, 2018

Season of the Soul ✽ Poetry in the Air

AUTUMN IS BEGINNING TO COME IN EARNEST HERE. Just if case you were wondering. I mean, sure, it rained all morning, so it wasn't the perfect fall day, haha... But, I am 98% sure the trees outside the shopping center near our home turned red overnight, and I noticed a tree in our own yard going yellow this afternoon. Plus, Mama stopped at the dollar store for fall decor this afternoon, and I'm cold. Why do I always forget that this is an evil that this time of year always brings with it? Haha...

And basically, it has me in the mood for all the fall quotes, and I think I'm just going to share these beauties instead of writing much today <3...

All pictures via Pinterest.


Rejoicing in Hope,

Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Penny Parcel ✽ Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign

A friend wrote me a few months ago and told me about a book she had just read that she thought I would love, which I put on my "to get sometime list"... and then received for my birthday, after Mama begged this list off of me, haha ;).

I hadn't picked it up yet, just because I don't start a book without the perfect atmosphere (#perfectinistprocrastinatorproblems), but last Monday I woke up a little earlier, and I knew that the rest of my week was going to be rather busy, so after catching up in my bible reading I decided to read the first chapter... and ended up reading a few ;). 

I'm not even half way through the book yet, but I am already admiring the unusually open style of this book in dealing with hard things. While a book about a little girl finding a family, it is NOT all sunshine and roses - especially when she finds her family. I'm eager to see where this book goes as I continue reading (and hopeful that one of my favorite characters so far might show up again, ha...). 

While I have been reading through this book, in little snatches of time (after I start the book, I don't have to wait for the perfect time, as long as the chapters are short ;) ), I have been finding myself thinking of the Miracle Of Adoption Christmas Campaign, held annually by Reece's Rainbow.

The truth is, a lot of the components of this story remind me of the blog posts that I read every year by families who have adopted through Reece's Rainbow's agency. Fear. Trauma. The inability to emotionally except love after how these children have felt hurt for so long. How hard it is for the parents to know what is right in their plans to enable their children to move on from the past's hurts of all kinds. Not all of the families have found it as difficult as others. Some families find the physical disabilities of their children more daunting than the emotional. Sometimes they bring their children home and are amazed by how much less they are dealing with then they were told they would be required to when committing to their child.

Yes, in many ways, these adoptions are different than the one described in "A Penny Parcel". Many times, it's nothing like what Ashley and her adopted family go through. But in other cases, in other ways, it's very similar. Emotional and hard.

But you know something else? Every year, as I read these blogs, I notice something else. All these blogging families who take part in the MACC after their own adoptions all agree on two things.

Yes, it's hard.

But it's worth it.

THEY are worth it. 

And no matter how hard it is, they encourage all those they can to get involved in helping these little ones to find their forever family, and to help grow their adoption funds, as fast as they can. So that no more pain and hurt and neglect/inability to get proper care causes them to suffer any more. 

The MACC runs from November through December every year, and there are several ways we can help, no matter how "little" we feel we have to gives. Prayers, time, advocacy, and yes, money if possible. As we are about to head into November, can I ask that you would pray about whether you should help this ministry in some way this Christmas season? If you could help even one child this year? Could possibly help one precious little one like Scott this Christmas?

We never know how our little may be used by God to change the course of one of these lives <3!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

His Strength in our Weakness

"And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my speech and message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." -1 Corinthians 2:1-5

One thing that I love about bible journaling is that I can be reminded later of things that I was struck by before. While I can/did/do use a journal as well, it's so much nicer to have it with the text where I can read the context, as well <3. I was struck again by the passage above last night, as I was getting my post together.

Paul, admitting fear. And trembling. His own weakness.

Paul, the author of almost half of the New Testament books. The author of Romans, specifically, who openly rebuked Peter the apostle. Weak, fearful, trembling.

And what a beautiful reminder this is for us. For Paul goes on to say that this was for the people's own good... so that God might be glorified more in their lives. Paul's setbacks were for God's power to shine through instead of his own efforts. And he didn't let them stop him in discouragement from doing what he was called to do.

They just caused him to lean into Christ more.

Paul knew what it was to say "Christ must increase, but I must decrease"; "let the one who boast, boast in the Lord." He had seen God take his own humble efforts, and use them within God's plan for the spreading of the gospel, and he *knew* it wasn't of his own doing.

But he also knew something else; God had called him to this path of ministry, and he couldn't stop just because it was hard. Because God uses *people* to bring His hope to those around them, and He knows that we are not righteous enough, strong enough, or even, for some of us, bold enough - on our own. But He has given us the gift of having a part in the spreading of His gospel, anyway. He uses us, in our weakness, to show His strength. We are given the joy of planting, and of watering seeds of truth.

"But only God gives the growth." (1 Corinthians 3:7)

And that's as it should be.

So that faith might rest in God, and Go alone <3.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A Peek into my Journaling Bible

I have been asked about my bible journaling, what it is, what I do, and if I would mind sharing some of that with you all a couple of times, and I thought that would be fun to do for my post today :)!

Mama and Daddy gifted me my journaling bible for Christmas a few years ago <3. I had seen this new thing called "bible journaling" going around the internet (especially Pinterest) for several months, and when Mama sneakily asked it I thought Tori would be interested in this, I said I didn't see why not - that I would love one, if I wasn't afraid I wouldn't use it (because I have a bad habit of not starting things that I don't know I'll get perfect). Well, I ended up with this gorgeous bible, and I have loved it! While the perfectionist in me still often creates my design in pencil before making it permanent with ink, really, there are no rules! Bible journaling is a great way to gather prayers, scripture memorization, creativity, notes, and questions all in one place, and it's so nice!

I admit that, though I love to use my journaling bible for "bible journaling" (more word art/artwork to illustrate verses), that's not always my favorite part. You know what is? Journaling bibles come with so much SPACE. I can scribble notes all over the page, or underline words without other words getting lost. For someone who takes as many notes as I do, it's still not enough and I also keep a "sermon journal" (also used for personal study) in my bible case, but for those little notes or extra-special notes, the room in this bible is amazing!

A lot of the time, it's just simple little things that I will do in my bible while reading or right after church, but just taking two or three minutes to work on a visual to go with a thought/sermon helps it stick so much better for me, and I love that!

But when I sit down to my personal bible study, I like to do something a little bigger, when I have time, with the verses that stand out to me, and usually that is some word art of one of my favorite verses from my reading :). 

While I'm not much of an artist, and I prefer word art, I have done artwork a couple of times. 


Or I combine the two :)! Typically if I am doing something more detailed, I lay a paper under the page I am working on, and place another sheet over it when I finish, for about 24 hours, so that there is no ink rubbing off/leaking through on the other pages :).

I know that this might seem like a somewhat boring page to others, but I poured over this genealogy visual for about an hour, and it is honestly one of my favorite things I have done so far. I also did the other major genealogy list from after the flood, and it is just so neat to be able to see these while I read through the chapters <3!!!

This is another of my favorite ways to use my journaling bible! I drew this partial map on Ephesians' cover page. It has all the main map details on it from wikipedia, but then I am able to add in notes as to where in the bible those surrounding places are mentioned, and things like that :)!

I love to use gel pens because the colors are gorgeous <3! But I also have a thin line black ink pen that I am obsessed with because I can fit twice as many notes using it as opposed to a regular one ;). There is truly no right or wrong way to go about bble journaling (I mean, I just showed you a small sample of my own here, you can't get a full grasp of how different the pages in mine can look from each other!), and I love how it helps me stop and digest, if you will, what I am reading!

Do you have a journaling bible, or are you interested in getting one :)?

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Monday, October 22, 2018

Tiny Peek Into My Day ✽ Let's Chat!

Picture of baby brother to share his adorableness, because he's amazingly cute all the time, but especially in that sleeper. It has nothing to do with this post, because it's actually from yesterday ;). I wanted a picture of his face, but he was actually playing with that teddy bear, it was adorable <3.

Accomplishments of the day:
  • Doing my bible reading early enough in the day to do (last week's) optional reading as well.
  • Starting a new book that I have been looking forward to for over a month, just because I could.
  • Picking up my uniform for my new job (and yes, more details on that unexpected-to-some-of-you announcement will be coming some time soon, I promise).
  • Finally answering all the comments on my blog from the past two weeks.
I am sorry, y'all, I really am, haha. I usually answer comments before I post my new post, but posting every day, I just didn't get to it a couple posts in a row... and then I let them pile up because once I start failing it's 3 x easier to keep failing than to fix the problem? This sounds like a metaphor for sin, so insert something really deep and thought out here, if you will. Thank you. But, all things aside, I have answered all your sweet notes, and I am thankful for each of my readers <3. Thank you for your comments even when you must wonder if I am reading them <3!

I should probably add that:
  • I did not get to journal, or schedule posts today, like I wanted to to catch up/stay caught up.
  • This is not the more helpful/themed/thought out post I was going to do, after compiling post ideas on one of my to-do lists the other day.
  • And I didn't work on an etsy shop to-do that I am hoping to have done by Saturday...
But, you know. We'll look at the positives, and I have a whole new day to work on those things tomorrow, right ;)?

Also. I finally made myself an admin of my own blog.

Because. Yeah. I am really on top of things, hahahaaa...

So, now I can post without my permission! Yay!!! *laughing emojis*


Today, I would love to hear what is going on in your life <3. Hey... now that I am caught up on comments is the perfect time to leave me one ;). I want to know what you are most looking forward to in the coming holidays, what amazing things have happened in your life lately, what new things you tried this past week, what prayer requests you may have, which jelly bean flavor is your favorite... whatever you want to share ;)! I have been posting every day, but it's meant I haven't been able to keep up in other ways with all you amazing bloggers, and I would love to chat <3!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Marshmallow Roast ✽ Sunday Evening

Daddy comes in from chopping wood with some nuts he found in the back, and starts cracking them.
Bethi and me: "What kind are they?"
Daddy: "I don't know." *nut isn't cracking*
Me: "Whatever kind it is, it's not worth it if they are that hard to open." (Can you imagine the time it would take to shell enough for all of us?!)
*the nut cracks*
And then this little red-faced grub just pokes up his head to look at Daddy, like, "Excuse me, there had better be a good reason that you took the roof off?"
Apparently there were two others inside as well, but I ran, so I'm just taking Daddy's word for it, haha...


His marshmallow nose, haha <3.

Daddy set up a marshmallow roast this evening, and we had a delightful time <3. We meant to do it all summer, haha, but it never happened. But today was so nice out! And there were far less bugs! So I think it worked out for the best ;). Mama got Daddy a metal fire pit a couple years ago for Christmas, and it's been so nice to have for things like this! And Andrew has been getting quite capable of use it (and the grill!) himself. Tori asked tonight when Peter would start grilling hamburgers, and Mama asked what Andrew would do when Peter started grilling. Andrew replied that he'd just do the gross parts Peter wouldn't like, and Josiah pipes up, "And *I'll* eat the hamburgers!" Haha!

It's always interesting to see the variety of marshmallows called "toasted". Peter literally wanted his warmed, NOT browned (which is hilarious, given the fact that he's actually eating a burnt one in the picture, haha - it was an extra ;)...). Josiah, when asked how done he wanted his done, answered, "For one minute." Tori said she was trying to toast her's done until it had "warts"... lol! Isaac just slept through the whole thing ;).

It was a nice way to end up our Sunday! Now another week is ahead of us to make use of and to live to the fullest... what are your plans for the week :)?!

Rejoicing in the Hope of Salvation,
Bri <3

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Post that... Isn't?

Once there was a girl who knew exactly how the rest of her life was going to go, and she could do literally everything that should be done, all the time, and she wouldn't stop until she had.

Except... not really. Even if she thought so.

Fast forward 3 or 4 years, and I remember Tori sitting at the desktop one day, reading an "Oh My Disney" article, when she called out to me, "I don't know what a "Type A" person is," (which, by the way, is the first clue that this was a few years ago... she doesn't have to ask me what things mean now, and, in fact, I ask her quite frequently ;)), "but you're one of them."

Fast forward 3 or 4 years more, and not much has changed.

Via Pinterest

Mama: "Bri, this is soooooo you and me." ^

Yes, yes it is. Mama has never let me forget the time that we had a clog in our kitchen sink that we weren't able to clear out until the wee sma's of the night, and I promptly started washing the weekend baking, lunch, and supper dishes, at 3 a.m., as Mama and Tori begged me to go to bed so we could all work on them together the next morning when we were rested and more efficient. Does the logic make sense? Of course. Did I listen? Of course not. I was started. Now I HAD to finish.

And that's always how it is. Just a few weeks ago, my Aunt and I were texting each other about our busy Saturday, and I challenged her to see who could have the most done by 8, with one requirement to win; When 8 p.m. got here, we were supposed to stop and rest so we would be awake and alert and refreshed for church the next day, whether we were done or not. I texted her at 8:03 to let her know that not under any circumstances was I stopping when I was so close to done. (After jokingly texting her at about 5 in the evening to ask, "WHO'S IDEA WAS THIS?"... haha ;)...)

All that is to say, I had good intentions to not worry about posting this month, to just do it when I wanted to/could - to be inspired to post but not forced.

And now we've hit day 20, and I only have 11 more days to go, and I literally can't let myself fail now. I'm tired and I don't feel like I have anything to share tonight. I am reminding myself that now would be the perfect time to practice that "resting" I have been talking about a bit. But have I mentioned that I'm still on that journey of learning to do that? And here is proof.

Because basically... here is a post saying I won't be posting today. Oh, the irony of being a Type A.

But hey, this is the last thing I'm going to do today, even though I hoped to vacuum, so maybe I am making a tiny bit of progress ;)?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Homemade Chocolate Chip Frappes

Homemade Starbucks copycat chocolate chip frappe recipe

I have a confession to make. I don't even like chocolate chip frappes that much.


But, I started trying new "fun" coffee recipes, and Tori loves the chocolate chip frappes, so obviously I made it anyway when I was shown a recipe online.

And then I had to make it a couple more times because I wasn't going to serve mediocre treats and call it good, I had to make it right ;). And I do like them better now then I did the first time Tori let me try a sip of hers ;). For those of you who want to try this for the first time, the taste is great; I just like my drinks to have a smooth texture, and these frappes are purposefully made with chocolate shavings ;). They are so easy! And they don't have any coffee in them, a fact that disappointed me (but, honestly, didn't surprise me since Tori likes it ;)), since they are served from a coffee menu, haha!

Chocolate Chip Frappe Recipe

2 cups ice
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons chocolate sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup ice cream (or heavy whipping cream, but the ice cream made a slightly thicker drink)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup large chocolate chips

Blend until ice is smooth and chocolate is shaved (we have a ninja blender and I let it go for about 25 seconds).

Makes two small frappes or one large.

Serve with whipped cream, if desired!

Next up on my "try-to-perfect" list; Caramel Frappes!!! That's what I usually get, and the one I tried to make was a worse disappointment than these were the first time, haha! But I think I identified all the issues with those, too, and I want to incorporate some of the changes I made to this recipe ;).

I hope y'all have had a great day. Tell me, what is one thing that you are excited about this week :)?!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things Tag

"Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that cling to my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into spring - these are a few of my favorite things!"

For my 16th birthday, one of my out-of-state friends took to pinterest and found a picture of each of Maria's favorite things and emailed it to me as a fun little "extra" birthday greeting, and it was such a pretty email, haha! So I think of that every time I hear this song now :). This little tag looks like so much fun!

Tag rules:
♥ Thank and link back to the persons blog who tagged you! That would be Alyssa from Here is Love! Thanks girl!
♥ Thank and link back to the persons blog who started the tag! Thank you, Beth in Boots! I love your tags!
♥ Write about seven of your favorite things in your post!  Add at least one picture of everything!
♥ Tag seven  people at least! (If you don't know seven blogs to tag just tag as many as you can.)
♥ Put the seven rules in your blog post!
♥ Include the picture above for the beginning of your post! 
♥ Have fun!!! 

"These are a few of my favorite things!"...

-Soft fabrics. And the color blue, yes. That has been proven ;). 

-Plants. I mean, plants just make me happy, especially if they need taken care of, haha :).

-Bible study. (And my journaling bible <3!)

-Pretty things. I know that that sounds kind of "obvious", but really. Can you imagine if all the world was "bare minimum"? I am so glad that we have a God who appreciates beauty and slipped it into His creation in so many ways!

-Books, words, writing, letters, one-on-one conversations with close friends... all those wonderful, wonderful things!

-Making memories of all kinds with my family <3! (These pictures are from the solar eclipse last year, which was also amazing :)!)

-The little things in life that make each moment richer <3. The little things that end up not being so little. It seems the simple things in life are always the best!

I am going to tag...
-And feel free to snag this tag yourself if you like :)!

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3