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chosen (thoughts + free art prints)

chosen-free-artprints

My parents divorced when I was 20.

I know they say that adult children deal with divorce better than younger ones – and that probably is true to a point – but it sure doesn’t feel good or easy or right even when you’re grown and out of the house.

Let me back up for a second …

My childhood was just about as good as I could have ever asked for. I am the middle of three girls, our parents were young and fun, we lived in family-friendly neighborhoods with good schools and activities nearby. We grew up close to our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins spending a lot of time with them for holidays, sleepovers, every chance we could. We had traditions and memories, vacations and love. Truly, I could not have asked for a better childhood.

Which I think is what made the break-up of our family even more difficult to deal with.

A handful of factors led to that devastating moment when my dad made the choice to leave us.  It never made sense to me – maybe it still doesn’t – how a man who adored his family and did everything he could to protect and provide for us could make the choice to walk away. I don’t think he knew what the true consequences were going to be. Maybe if he did, he would have chosen differently. I’d like to think so.

It still stings all these years later. I’ve healed a ton, but gosh my heart is still fragile. I miss him and feel sad and let down and even though I know their divorce was not my fault, I still can’t get over the feeling that maybe we just weren’t worth enough for him to choose us.

I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I guess I’ve just been struggling with some of the long-lasting issues that come with feeling not-chosen and it seems like something I should confess. Maybe you feel rejection in your life, too?

There is a whole string of moments throughout my life when I’ve felt rejected. Some are big ones (like my dad leaving) others more insignificant (not getting an invite to a party, feeling like a tag-along) and over the course of this year, they have all flooded back into my memory. WHY? Why now? What am I to do with these ugly-feeling memories and how am I supposed to grow from them?

It hit a low-point in Rwanda this summer when my soul nearly broken in two because nobody sat next to me on the bus. I know! I’m 35 years old and crying because the seat next to me was not taken?!! It felt ridiculous and yet, it felt real. That little moment broke me (well, the whole week was filled with every emotion, so I was already pretty broken, this just made the final crack). Thankfully, I had a dream-team of new friends there who spoke truth and honesty back into me and helped me see that:

1. even though I do have some decent-sized rejection issues to deal with

2. I am chosen

If I only look for all the times I’ve felt rejected, I’ll find plenty. And the truth is, it will continue for always. Over and over again I will not be chosen – that is just part of this life. I can surround myself with people who love and accept me, but even they will let me down at some point. It’s not something I want to fear and dwell on, but if I put all of my hope in my husband or kids or parents or blog readers always choosing me, I will have set myself up for disappointment.

I’m still working through my rejection issues. I don’t know why they have tumbled into my memory this year or what exactly I am to do with them. All I’ve been able to figure out is that I get to choose what I believe. If I linger too long in these memories playing over and over the hurt, the words, the feelings, I’ll almost always come to the conclusion that I’m not worth choosing.

If instead, I take my eyes off of myself and focus on Jesus, I’ll see this most gracious God who himself took on the highest form of rejection in order to set me free. He gave up his life so that I could be deemed worthy. It blows my mind and doesn’t make sense and this fragile heart of mine is still trying to let it soak in.

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” 1 peter 2:9-10 (the message)

free-chosen-artprints

So this is what I’ll do. I’ll stand in his promise and tell others of the ways He has redeemed my story, our family, our hearts.

Life can be so hard, can’t it? It just hurts sometimes. But God’s grace offers us acceptance and peace and I’m so grateful for it.

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I was so encouraged by the Message version of this verse – especially that last line – that I made up an artprint to hang on my wall. You are welcome to download and print these 5×7 prints as well. May the words encourage you today, my friends, wherever you are.

xo, emily

free-chosen-download
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coffee chat no. 18

Every once in a while I just have all these random things to say and nowhere to fit them in, so they get all smushed together in a post series I like to call coffee chats.

coffee-and-soccer

Pretend we’re sitting across from each other (or standing on a soccer field) sipping our drinks (decaf, tall, extra hot, one pump mocha for me, please) and enjoying a few moments to just catch up and talk about all the things floating around in our minds.

Here are a few things I might chat about:

First, I would share about my excitement that tonight is the start of the next season of Survivor. What season are we on?! I don’t even know. But I still love it.

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My kids are currently into cooking shows. I fully support it because I like cooking shows, too. The one they mostly like is Rachael vs. Guy: kid cook-off. To watch these 10, 11 and 12 year olds make fancier food than I could ever hope to cook is so inspiring and entertaining and great motivation for my kids. My oldest son is especially enamored.

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Speaking of which … he and I were watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman and she made these fabulous chocolate-covered s’mores. With nutella and peanut butter. I know. She had us at nutella. We decided right then and there that we would make them for No.2′s birthday party that weekend.

chocolate-covered-smores

His party was pushed back a week (long story) and so we made them this past weekend and they were a.maz.ing. We followed the recipe, but used mini marshmallows and toasted them under the broiler instead of roasting regular-sized ones. It worked out well, but next time I’ll add even more for extra gooey centers. By the way, they make really good on-the-way-to-pick-up-the-kids snacks, too.

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I’m generally a year or two behind on fashion trends, so just now I’m thinking about getting a pair of booties. The problem is, I don’t know how to wear them. Thankfully, stylish ladies like this cutie show us how to style them.

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(The fact that this article was posted a year ago just proves the point that I’m behind the times on fashion trends.) Do you like booties? Are they worth trying? How do you like to wear them? Do tell …

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On the opposite end of the shoe spectrum are these cute tennies I just bought. They are super comfy and sporty which is not necessarily a normal look for me, but I’m trying.

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I posted this photo on instagram with caption pretending to be a hipster mom. The conversation after was fun.

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My friend Lindsay just came out with her new fall line. It’s gorgeous, as usual. I especially love these gold foil index cards.

lindsay-letters-gold-index-cards

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Also gold and shiny is this week’s giveway (have you entered?! You can do it here). We haven’t figured out the best way/place to announce previous winners (winners are emailed privately, but I know it’s fun to see who the winners are), so I’ll just do it here:

Week One: Tracy Kaufman

Week Two: Beverly Maynor

I have only won one giveway in my whole life and it was magical. Even though it was only a piece of jewelry, it made me feel super special. Giveaways are fun.

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Last thing then I’ll wrap this up.

This summer a group of us traveled with Noonday and International Justice Mission to Rwanda. Half of our time was spent with the artisans who create products for noonday, the other half was spent with IJM and their in-country staff. I knew nothing of IJM before going, and came home a full-fledged supporter. They are doing hard and good and honorable work offering hope to people through tackling issues of injustice.

In Rwanda, IJM works exclusively on cases of child sexual abuse. Their clients are almost always women or girls who are poor and without IJM would have no way to stand up to their perpetrators. Not only does IJM provide legal representation, but also offers family therapy, medical resources, and community education. I wish I were more eloquent with my words to portray how important this organization is (you can read this post by Jen Hatmaker, who has a way with words), but my friends, please hear my heart: if you are looking for an organization to support, this is it.

When we asked the staff in the Rwandan IJM office what they most need, their answer was first, prayer and second, money. They have amazingly talented and generous lawyers, investigators and social workers in place and making huge strides in freeing slaves, ending sex-trafficking, transforming justice systems world-wide. In order to keep their progress going and to expand their reach, they need our financial support.

You can become a freedom partner for $24 per month and be part of what IJM is doing. AND, during the month of September, all donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar for an entire year.

IJM FP 350x350

You can learn much more about International Justice Mission and the Freedom Partner program here. Please do take a second to click through. I just adore the men and women I met who work at headquarters in DC (hi Ed and Melissa & Jan!) and can’t stop thinking about Baraka and Norbert (among others) from Rwanda. Gosh, I miss it there.

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Alright, friends. That was random, yes? Fashion, food, gold foil and freedom partners. That about sums up my brain right about now. Thanks for listening to my ramblings. Anything you want to chat about?

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q & a day

q&a For the next day or so, let’s have a Q & A. Feel free to ask me any question in the comments and I’ll respond back as a reply to your comment.

Let’s imagine we’re sitting together over a cup of something delicious watching our rambunctious children and having a real life conversation (except without the inevitable interruptions from said children). No topic is off limits and I’m a fairly open and honest girl … so … ask away!

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