Sunday, August 31, 2014

Leave it All at the Altar and Don't Take Any Leftovers Home




It's rare that we sleep well on Saturday nights. 

Nearly every weekend for the last five years, we've sung, played, led worship somewhere in this country. Together and apart from each other. We love what we do. Every time we step foot on any type of platform, be it a dirt lot or a big stage, we are acutely aware of two things: 1) we are living a big calling and 2) we don't deserve to be doing any of it. 

Maybe that's what keeps us up at night. 

It's basically an expected habit at this point, possibly a small annoying tactic of the Enemy to distract us from vision and excellence, but every weekend we push through and remember we are best at our weakest. 

Because then it's not us. It's Jesus. 
Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, 
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness. 
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." 
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
And I'm so grateful that I have a man, a co-laborer, that inspires me to leave everything I have at the altar, taking home no leftovers so that I might be filled again.

And so I encourage you, whatever you do, do it to the fullest. Leave it all at the altar. Take home no leftovers so that you might be filled again too.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30

Saturday, August 30, 2014

If We Were on a Coffee Date | No. 7


If we were on a coffee date, I'd skip the small talk and tell you I've had one of the best weeks as a worship leader and the hardest as a mother.

If we were on a coffee date, I wouldn't be wearing mascara, but instead, my faux glasses to cover up the bags under my eyes.

If we were on coffee date, with tears in my eyes, I'd describe to you the night I had with the women of my new church community. It was supernatural. And I try not to use that word lightly. 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you I know I'm exactly where God wants me at this place in time. No doubts. None.

But, if we were on a coffee date, I'd confess that I don't know how to be a mother and leader and I'm not sure how to start learning. Maybe it's a trial and error season of life, but that freaks me out because my job and my family are what I'm trial and erring through. 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask for wisdom. Maybe you have some, maybe you don't. 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd apologize for talking too much and ask how your week was.

If we were on a coffee date,  I'd hope that my mess made you feel comfortable and safe enough to share yours. Then we'd probably feel less alone. 


What would you say if we were on a coffee date?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Office Hours


I like predictability and routines. And I like adventure and irrational donut runs. But let's not get distracted. 

Every morning we do the same thing. Get up. Eat breakfast. Get ready. Head out. Drop Sym off with the nanny. Drive thru Starbucks. Go to work. 


Our work depends on the day and week of the month we're on. There are a lot of shifting variables that cause us to stay on our toes; pounding energy drinks, coffee and a whole lot of Chipotle.



What I love most about my job these days is the culture of open discussion in freedom. We openly give push back on ideas, good and bad, we ask a lot of questions, we poke fun and we still love each other at the end of the day. Mostly.


So thankful for the human and pioneering leadership of this guy. He admits when he doesn't know what he's doing and is constantly reminding us of vision and purpose. His voice is a'ight too ;)

Andy Stanley wrote, Often, stepping outside your comfort zone is not careless irresponsibility, but a necessary act of obedience.” 

Yes, he pushes us. Yes we are uncomfortable. But we are charged up and expectant to see what God might do with a band of misfits like us. 


And we have play dough. So there's that. #winning

Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Reason Why Target Has the Best Baby Wipes


In addition to 14 months of wiping some baby booty, we've entered the everything's mostly always a mess phase. This girl eats everything and by herself because well, she's her daddy's stubborn daughter. That's where she gets it from right?

Guys, I've tried almost every wipe brand there is and have come to the resounding conclusion that Target is the brand for us. I'll tell you why. 


1. PACKS ARE SELF SUSTAINING

No inserts, no extra boxes or bulk. You get the compactness of a crinkly pack but with a click seal top that makes it perfect for the diaper bag.

2. WIPES ARE LIGHT AND SOFT

When you pull it out of the pack, no moisture drips from it like other brands. It's moist enough to do the dirty work but dry enough to not leave a smudging mess. Speaking of smudging...

3. TINY GRIPS THAT GRAB POO

With a couple of high profile brands, the wipes had absolutely no grip, leaving the poo smeared rather than gone. And the other ones that did have grips, still had too much moisture to really get the job done efficiently. I like that I only have to use 2-3 wipes per poo, rather than 4-5 on other leading brands.

4. FRAGRANCE IS THE PERFECT BALANCE 

I don't like the super smelly wipes. There's a reason we all stopped using potpourri in our bathrooms. Smell what I'm stepping in? Okay. But I do like something fresh when wiping the doo. Target does have an unscented option as well. 

5. COST CAN'T BE BEAT

800 wipes for $15. Enough said. 

Try 'em out and tell me what you think! And really, who doesn't need another excuse to go to Target. #yourewelcome

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If you're new to this space, I usually reserve Mom talk for Thursdays. This isn't a mom blog. But I do blog and I am a mom. So naturally, it leaks through. 
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Please note, this post is not sponsored in any way. I didn't get a free box or money to make this list. I genuinely love this product and think more moms might too if they knew it wasn't just another generic brand flop. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How Growth is Slow, Boring, and Beautiful



Faster is not better. But it is more satisfying. 

We want to lose the weight faster. We want to get to work via the fastest route. We want to find the quickest way to make the best cup of coffee. We want our kids to be done with the diaper stage asap. We want our spouses to grow up yesterday, and dinner to take a maximum of 45 seconds. We want longer hair, thicker eyelashes, more data and for goodness sake can someone please get my Netflix to stop buffering. 

Are you with me on these? 

But what I'm realizing more and more is things that take time turn out the most beautiful. (Tweet it!

My window herbs are the most beautiful plant in my house. Probably because they're the only real ones. Their green is just the right level of bright and velvety. Their fragrance wafts when I walk by. And I prefer their flavor over my $3 jarred spices anyway. 

But these little guys did't just sprout as full grown plants. They started out as seedlings. Tiny, tiny seedlings. Tiny seedlings that grew. 

And grew.

And grew. 

Slowly. Beautifully. 

So why do we rush? If we truly want the best for ourselves and the people we love around us, why do we insist on expediting the finely tuned process we call time?

This may just be for me, but I'm learning time is on my side. It's no secret I'm an everything-now kind of girl. 

So I choose to let the monotonous and mundane change me. (Click it to tweet it!) Whatever that looks like. As the fire fortifies and brightens gold, I choose to be set a blaze, even if it's in the low embers of time. 

I choose to push through the dirt of circumstance and season, slowly, just to see the light of day as greener, bolder, and more fragrant to those around me. 

The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. "But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. LUKE 8:14-15

Saturday, August 16, 2014

If We Were On a Coffee Date | No. 6




If we were on a coffee date, it would look a lot different than our dates in the past. We'd be sitting inside because it's currently 102 degrees outside. And the humidity is at one-large-wet-cat-sitting-on-my-head percentage.

If we were on a coffee date, we'd definitely be at a Starbucks because I have yet to find one of those super cute hipsters cozy coffee shops. I know they exist, I just haven't found one close yet. So two skinny vanilla lattes for us! (Unless you'd prefer something else.)

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how you week was and if anything exciting or out of the ordinary happened. And let's not skimp on the details please. We got time.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you my daughter is a genius. Not a prodigy or anything, but I think she's playing us. From walking, or not walking, to food choices and books to be read, she's figured out we're wrapped around her finger. It's bad. I'm not going to rat anyone out but Tyson one of us fed her a milkshake for dinner last night.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you I've been on an unspoken social media hiatus. Mostly because I realized I couldn't handle the fighting and bickering and badgering that's been flooding in; all in the name of "speaking out." I understand opinions and conversation, but the gloves have come off and mud is flying and none of it sits well with me.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how I can pray for you. It's a little churchy. Ok, a lot churchy. But I'm learning a ton of prayer and intercession and community and sisterhood. So I want to pray for you, in the least cheesy way possible :)



Original photo via | Edited by JM

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

On Singing, Songwriting, and Living Out Dreams

My favorite feeling right now is when people ask me what my new job in Austin entails and I get to reply with, "Writing songs and leading worship."

Will someone please pinch me?

Of course there is so much more to that type of job than sipping lattes at Starbucks and writing cool melodies and piercing lyrics on a clean silver Mac Book Pro. (Okay, we all know my Mac isn't clean. I have a toddler. Okay, we know it's not all my toddler's fault.) 

The Singer/Songwriter life is actually less glamorous than most people think it is. I know Instagram puts a hazy glam cam on it all, but it's just that. A cam for glam. 

Unless you're one of the gifted few who can sit and pop out songs like a toaster oven, writing music can be grueling, discouraging, and tedious.

But whose job isn't at one point or another?

If, ten years ago, someone would have told me what my life would look like in June of 2014, I would have laughed in their face.

Me? Songwriting and leading worship for a living? No. I'm going to be a psychologist. 

Yea, okay.

No seriously. I want to be a psychologist. Or maybe an English teacher. I don't know, I haven't made up my mind yet. Or a whale trainer. The jury's still out, but there's no way I'm going to make a living singing and writing. 

Oh little Jules of little faith. 

Deep down I knew, if someone handed me a singer/songwriter contract, I would have taken it in a millisecond. It was my dream job. But dream jobs are hard to come by. And as a 16 year old, thinking about college degrees, "Bachelor in Singer/Songwriter-dom" was laughable. 

Until June 2014. When this guy handed me a singer/songwriter contract and said, "Welcome to the team."

But here's a secret: This "dream job" of mine, came with a lot of hard work and patience, but not in the ways we usually suspect.

I didn't work to be a songwriter. I just wrote songs.

I didn't work to be a singer. I just sang, wherever I was, with whoever would let me and sing along with me. 

Dreams don't happen in a moment. They happen over thousands of moments stacked on top of one another. (Tweet it!) They happen by sewing one stitch at a time, in the direction the fabric leads. 

My favorite author sums this concept up of living our dream lives this way:
“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we're not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. 
It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we've barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. 
Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we've said we'll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.”   
- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

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What dream do you feel is unattainable, laughable even, yet it burns in your heart to do? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mo's Love Bows | Enchanted Bow Shop


Baby bows have been my obsession since day one with Baby Girl Mo. Luckily, she doesn't mind them either. Every time a package came to our door, Ty thought it was his. He'd open it and say, "Seriously? Another one?!" Yup. We Mo's love bows!

These adorable felt and fabric bows were gifted from Enchanted Bow Shop. Amy is a friend of mine and I'm so excited for her new shop venture

She's offering ya'll a special discount for the weekend (and her bows are already reasonably priced...)! Use MOBOWS at check out and get 15% off your whole order!

ETSY SHOP     |      INSTAGRAM SHOP

^^^Opinions, two-cents, questions and ramblings are welcome. And go above. Go ahead. Try it.

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