“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine…
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored,
and I love you, I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.”

Isaiah 43:1, 4 ESV

God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, loves me.  He loves me so much that he would give men in return for me.  And you.  And not just any men–the only perfect Man to ever walk the earth.  His Son.  The Way, the Truth, and the Life.  And in turn, we are to love others with this same love.


“That’s what jolts me, right there on the sidewalk: Grace isn’t a mere Pollyanna feeling.  It’s a force.  It’s a powerful force.  As startling as the power of electricity.  Grace is the power of God pulsating with this passionate love of God, this jolting, blazing, dangerous love that pierces all of humanity’s pitch-black.
Grace always shocks.
Grace always stuns.
Grace is always what we need.

Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional

God is good.  His grace is sufficient.  Enough.  His mercies are new every morning.  You just have to look.

Don’t let the setbacks of your day, fear, worry, the need to control–don’t let them change your perspective or steal your eyes to see His grace.

Rest in Him.

Support Your Local Farmer

If you’ve read some of my early posts, like this one and this one, then you know a little bit about how we got started eating real food.  It’s been a good, but slow-moving journey.  Since we are still living in an apartment, we are unable to have our own animals.  We’ve been able to plant a few gardens, but due to the lack of sunlight, they haven’t done well.

When we initially moved to North Carolina, we connected with a co-op to buy our raw milk and grass-fed meat.  While we have been thankful for the co-op, it is expensive and the food comes from out-of-state.  There is a one-time membership fee and a monthly shipping fee, with additional boxes costing extra.  It’s been a great thing to have access to, but we’ve been hoping to find something local and more affordable.

Last summer, we found out about a farmers’ market less than 10 minutes from us.  We started going every Saturday to get eggs, meat, and produce.  We’ve formed relationships with two farms and cut back on what we buy from the grocery store and started only purchasing our milk from the co-op.

One of the best ways to find out about local farmers is through word of mouth.  I love that.

Some friends that we’ve been blessed to meet since moving here, who also share our desire to eat real, local, sustainably grown food, found out about a local dairy that does weekly drops of dairy, meat, and eggs, as well as a few other items, like nut butters and honey.  There is no membership fee and no shipping fee (since it’s local).  When I called the farm, the lady I spoke with was super friendly and helpful.  Plus, she called me “Sug” as in “Sugar,” sooo… what’s not to love?!  We picked up our first order this past Saturday… raw cream, grass-fed ground beef, pastured eggs, and grass-fed beef liver.  I’m thankful that we’re able to support this local farm and get one step closer to our goals.


local grass-fed raw cream

So, you’re reading this and thinking, “Okay, this is great for y’all… but why do I need to buy locally?”

Although there are many economic benefits to buying locally, what I find the most value in is accountability.  When I purchase my food from local producers, I know and they know that if I am dissatisfied with their product, I can speak to them about it directly, face-to-face, and either resolve the issue or choose to buy my food from someone else.  Many of us find value in having local insurance agents, car mechanics, pastors, physicians, etc.  Why not the person who supplies the food that you put in your body three times a day and could potentially determine the course of your health and your family’s health for years to come?

Joel Salatin, the self-proclaimed “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer” of Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia, said this in an interview with Dr. Mercola:

“As we know, artisanal anything must be small-scale.  The difference between a pot made on a potter’s wheel as an individual craft, as an extension of a person’s soul if you will, compared to a pot made in a mass-produced factory—the difference is that this one has character, integrity, and often has nuances that this one over here won’t have.

And certainly the same thing is true in food.”

He also discussed the effects that choosing or not choosing to eat locally will have on our children and grandchildren:

“That’s why our slogan is, ‘We’re healing the land one bite at a time.’  We want people to understand that when you eat, that is a decision that affects the landscape our children will inherit.  You can make that decision independent of politics and everything else.  You could make that decision three times a day.  And there are thousands of farmers like us (many of them smaller than us) around the country and around the world, that are waiting to serve that clientele.”

In his book Holy Cows and Hog Heaven, Salatin talks about the negative effects of not eating locally.

“…lack of accountability, transportation costs, exporting food dollars out of the community, volume requirements for economies of scale, inhumane production models, concentrated volumes of byproducts like manure and processing waste.”

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good to me.  I personally like having the chance to be called “Sug” by my food supplier. 😉

Maybe you want to eat locally, but you don’t know how to get started.  Here are some resources for you to find local food in your area:

Local Harvest
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals
Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA)

Happy eating!

How To {Easily} Sell Your Unwanted Clothing

There’s something about becoming a mom that has really magnified how much STUFF I’ve accumulated over the years.  And I’ve purged.  And purged some more.  And I still find that I have TOO much.  Especially in the clothing department.  Most of last winter was spent in maternity clothing and then for the last 10 months, I’ve only been able to wear clothes that I can breastfeed in.

Before we moved in 2013, I worked in a physical therapy office that required a certain level of professionalism in my dress, so I have a lot of “work” clothing.  It’s relatively nice stuff.  Banana Republic.  Ann Taylor LOFT.  Gap.  I’ve tried selling this stuff at Plato’s Closet, but they only buy clothes that they can sell to a typical teenager.  I’ve considered higher end consignment shops, but just haven’t found the time to box everything up, drive over there, leave the box for them to go through, and then go back and pick it up later for them to tell me what they do, or most likely don’t, want.  Especially trying to juggle all the other errands I have to fit between baby girl’s naps.  And then I only get paid if it’s purchased.  Honestly, I’ve ended up taking most of it to the local thrift store.

There has to be a better way, right?

Enter Twice.

Twice accepts brands like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor LOFT, Gap, and even higher end stuff like Anthropologie.  They have a list of brands they accept and what condition they expect, so you have a good idea ahead of time what to send.  They will send you a “Seller Kit” for FREE.  All you have to do is fill it up and put it in the mail.  They even pay for the shipping.  Once they receive your bag and sort through your goodies, they’ll send you an offer.  If you accept the offer, you can choose how you’d like to receive your payout: PayPal, paper check, Target gift card, Venmo, or store credit.  If you choose store credit, you get 25% more for your payout!  If you are wanting to change it up without losing closet space, this is a great option!  Personally, I’ve opted for the cash, since I’m going for less overall.  Whatever they don’t want, they send to Goodwill.  If you decide that the offer isn’t what you’re looking for, or they rejected too many items and you’d like them back, you just have to pay $5.99 and they’ll send everything back.

So far, I’ve sold two bags of clothes.  Here’s the breakdown:

29 items sent
26 items accepted
3 items rejected (for overall wear)
Payout: $86.50

Not bad.

And if I had chosen store credit, my payout would’ve been $108.12.

They don’t currently accept children’s or maternity clothing, but they did just start buying and selling menswear.

So… what are you waiting for?  Get selling!

Psstt… If you use this link to start buying and selling, Twice will credit your account $10 when you sell + $10 when you buy and I’ll get $10, too!  Help a girl out!  Plus, once you create your own account, you can share your own personal referral link on Facebook,Twitter, email, or your own blog and get another $10!  Happy shopping!

That time I put coconut oil in my hair…

So, I’ve been a coconut oil-believer for some time now. I  cook with it all the time.  It has worked wonders for diaper rash.  Chris used it on a wooden wheel to make it stop squeaking.  I oil pulled for a while (not long enough to vouch for its benefits).  I haven’t been disappointed yet.  The next natural thing to do is try it in my hair, of course.

I have very thick, wavy hair.  It’s not the kind of wavy that says “natural,” it’s the kind that says, “Oooh, she woke up late.”  So if I’m going out and need to look relatively presentable, there’s going to be a blow-dryer and flat iron involved, which means that there’s going to be heat damage.  I don’t like damaging my hair, but I also don’t like parabens and phlalates.  So what’s a girl to do?

I looked up how to use coconut oil as a heat protectant and there’s not a lot of specifics.  Just do it.  It’s awesome.  Okay, I can do this.  On a Sunday morning, before church, when I’m waiting on my child to wake from her morning nap so we can do a lightning fast diaper change and a supersonic nursing session and get out the door in time.  Perfect time to try something new, right?

Let me just put it this way — if your hair is even remotely on the oily side — don’t do it.  I ended up having to completely rewash my hair.  Thankfully, we made it to church on time and I didn’t look like I’d forgotten to shower for a week.

Disclaimer: This post is not to be so much informative as funny… I love coconut oil and if you have dry hair or know of a better way to use it on not-so-dry hair, go for it, sister!  And feel free to share your knowledge. 🙂


It’s not trite, this waking to wonder, giving thanks for all this.

Thanks isn’t shallow Pollyanna-ism.  Didn’t Chesterton suggest that?

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

And I wonder if this is why thanks is the highest form of thought–because this is always the right order of things: Us laid low.  Before God on High.

Ann Voskamp

“Thanks isn’t shallow Pollyanna-ism.”

My dear, sweet husband occasionally points out to me my tendency toward negativity.  I call it realism.  You know the bit.  I’m not a Pollyanna.  I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, I say.  Naive.  That’s what it is.

A few weeks ago, we were sitting in our living room on a Saturday.  My favorite day–when we’re all together.  Chris looked out the window and said, “Is it snowing?!”  You have to understand that I keep up with my weather app like it’s my job.  For it to be snowing and me to not know it was coming is rare.  Sure enough, it was snowing.  I got so excited.  I love snow.  “It’s going to stick, I know it!”  Chris wasn’t so sure.  “Why do you always have to be so negative about snow?” I asked in frustration.  Then it hits me.  And him.  I’m more than willing to be overly and unrealistically positive when it comes to snow.  Why only snow?

When I started Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” daily devotional book, I was excited, but skeptical.  Ann writes in a way that my brain doesn’t usually operate.  It was right after I had been explaining to Chris this disconnect with her writing that I opened the book and was blown away.  Oh, sweet Jesus.  He works that way, you know.  My brain can operate that way–it just hasn’t in a while.

Ann challenges us to be thankful.  To find joy and grace and beauty in the mundane.  To recognize that being thankful in the little things isn’t being a Pollyanna–it’s being like a child–ever filled with wonder.

And the Kingdom belongs to such as these.