Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend Links // Are you sure it's almost May?

Black eyeliner has always been my makeup nemesis. It took me my whole makeup wearing life (from 8th grade) to find one what didn't smudge off my easily oiled eyelids. Thanks to Amber, MAC's Black Track is my new BFF. (MISS)

I've been inspired by a number of cleanse-receipes, but not sure what I think of them yet. Have you tried or found a cleanse successful? (Well in LA) 

I love this look! Seriously going to find a long maxi skirt today. (The Daybook)

Here is an awesome take on the Elmo Documentary. Talk about inspiring. Have you seen it? (Jeremy and Kathleen)

"Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it." So good. This article is soooooo good. (The Achiever)

Do you get stuck in your writing? Need some prompt ideas? Here you go! (Mama's Losin It)

And today I leave you with my current favorite band: The Civil Wars. How they met, my favorite song, Ty's favorite song, and my favorite outfit she wears.  

And don't forget to write your favorite memory of/with your mama and post it here this week! (Love Feast Fancy Friday)

Happy Weekend. Doing anything fun?

Are you on Pinterest or Twitter or Facebook

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Mother Made My Life Full of Beauty // Fancy Friday

Are you coming to the Fancy Party?? It's easy access: 1) See the prompt here, 2) Post your entry here, 3) Leave a comment on my blog to tell me you did it!~ 

I adore my mother. That is no secret.
I adore everything about her, not because she is perfect, but she is perfect for me. She makes my life beautiful, not just by her presence or her laugh or her wisdom, but because she chose to invest in her children. She lived in the moment, taking chances and risks, but even more than that, she invested in the future. Our future. 

She impressed upon us to cling tightly to our faith, knowing she was limited in her mothering. She loved and cared for my Dad first, teaching us what it took to have a thriving marriage. She gleaned wisdom from those with more experience and insight, and in turn became the one from whom others glean. And she prayed. A lot. 

I think the most Beauty Full moments I will always remember about my mother are those late nights in high school. My siblings and I would file in, one by one, from the busyness of the day, and gather at the foot of our parents bed. It was informal, unintentional, and wonderful. We'd go over the events of the day and ask advice about friendships and love interested. We were usually exhausted, but not enough that we couldn't hang out with mom and dad for the last hour of the day. 

It's weird and uncommon but for us, it was natural and necessary. We cried, laughed, whined, rejoiced, and created together.

I remember one night in particular, it was just mom and the girls on the bed, probably talking about the tall tales of high school romance. Dad came in, ready for bed, and began giving us  hints that it was time to shut the talking time down. We started wrapping up the discussion when my brother got home and joined us, all twitterpated, which, naturally, instigated an innumerable amount of questions about "The Girl." 

By midnight, Dad (who had also gotten wrapped up in our convo) realized his slumber hours were pretty much gone, and officially kicked us out. We reluctantly picked up our purses and keys and shoes and walked to our rooms, but not without turning to remind him, "When we all get older and move out, you're gonna be sad these midnight conversations are over." And guess what he is. She is. We all are. 

That was a time when life was Beauty Full. Though we're all grown now, creating lives and beginning families of our own, the investment of those midnight's will last us a lifetime. 

So thank you Mom, for praying for the unity and strength of our family. Thank you Dad, for really caring about what boys we liked and what clothes we wore. And thank you both for investing and making our lives so very full of beauty. 

Don't forget to post your Life is Beauty Full post here!
Fancy Friday 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Memory with Mom // Fancy Friday Writing Prompt

Remember this post I did with the prompt from the Love Feast Table? Well this month I've signed up to be a hostess! Which really means I tell you about it and your write this time too! 

This month's Fancy Friday theme is:

Share a time with or memory of your mom, where life was Beauty Full.
*Feel free to use the above JM prompt photo.

The link up date is this Friday, April 27

On Friday, come back here and I will direct you to the page where you share your post link.  
Oh, and as if this wasn't fun enough, they're giving away this super cute pillow
Questions? Comment or email me!
Have fun writing!
- - - - - - - - - - -

Here's the breakdown from Love Feast's site:**

What:   Every last Friday of the month, we will host a Fancy Friday Link Up. The theme for each month will be posted by the 15th. Once you get the theme, we want you to be as creative as possible! You can write a post, a poem, a song, (on your blog) create a Pinterest board or even write a post on your facebook page around the theme. We want these Fancy Friday Link Ups to be used as a Creative Prompt to get your juices flowing! Then come here, on the last Friday of the month and link up your post. For fun, we will be hosting Fancy Giveaways, from our LoveFeast Shop,  for those who participate!
How:   To break it down…

Step 1 — Write your post including your Fancy Friday Creative Prompt and make sure to  use "Fancy Friday" in the title of your post.

Step 2 — Insert the Fancy Friday badge into your post. 

Step 3 — Click the inlinkz frog button at the bottom of the current Fancy Friday post and follow the instructions. (*Make sure you add the link that links directly to your Fancy Friday post.)
Step 4 — Come back and join again every last Friday!

Fancy Friday
*Flowers in picture above are courtesy of Tyson Morlet Apology Agency. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Advertise on The Girl That Sings

I love writing. I love people. I love designing and singing and creating and talking and sharing and coffee. I've tried my very best to let you see that and create something worth valuing here.

May is already shaping up to be one of a kind. We'll have a new series on Loving and Leaving Well, with pieces from some well known collaborators.

If you have a shop, blog, business or story that you think might interest my readers or a product they would benefit from, I would love to have you as an advertiser here! 

If you're interested, check out the stats and prices and send me an email

(FYI: To ensure your shop/blog/business gets prime traffic, there are only 15 spots available/month.)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sundays are for Worship // Suffering Well // Speaking Notes

Speaking Notes | Rancho Community Murrieta

This weekend we're starting our series on the book of Job, and we thought this next song would be the perfect theme song for us to proclaim throughout the series.

What I never realized about this story was that Job's life crumbles around him within the first chapter. For some reason I thought the tragedies happened throughout the entirety of the book, but everything falls apart within the first 17 verses.

His servants come to him, one after another, with news that his money, livestock, home, and children are all gone in an instant.

But, Jobs immediate response is the lord gives and the lord takes away. BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.

And today as I've looked over the timeline of my story, which is less of a story more of a soap opera, I can count on 2 fingers when my reaction to disaster has been the same as Job's: 
     -When my sister got cancer (2003) and when I had our second miscarriage (2012).

That's it. But why? Why is it that a girl who was raised by godly parents and has known Jesus for most of her life, doesn't react the same way as Job more often? 

Because its not natural to the human condition. 
We want answers and when we don't get them, the idea of surrender and praising anything or anyone is crazy!

But as this song proclaims, let this be our prayer in the battles,
When triumph is still on its way
Why? Because I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on his promise we'll stand 

Church there is always a reason to worship God.
In every single season, there is always a reason.

And I want to acknowledge to that maybe you're in that disaster of a place and you're thinking,
There is no way I can worship God right now, I'm too broken
Too weary, I'm too angry.
That's ok too because we, your church family are here for you.
We will stand in your place and gently remind you just how great our God is.

So church, will you sing this with me... 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekend Links

We spent all day Monday in Santa Monica. Taking pictures, eating way too much, shopping at Whole Foods, and eating tiny cheese burgers. I can't wait to move to this gorgeous place. 

I love this. Probably before all the safety issues got in the way of roller coasters ;) (Inspired 71)

I can't help it. I'm drawn to short-overalls. Judge me. Go ahead. And please note, I do see the irony between the title of this blog and my desire to wear short overalls. (The Man Repeller)

For my friends who are searching for their writing niche, this post was handcrafted for you. Everything I've been fumbling to encourage you with, she says it perfectly. Make her your new BFF. (Alume)

The "What No One Ever Told Me About My 20's" series went so ridiculously well! Catch up on it here

Yup. We're downsizing too, even from our quaint one bedroom. (Made By Girl)

These pictures make me ache for Summer nights. Crazy to think this Summer I'll be at a whole new beach. (Flower Child Dwelling)

I confess that I'm having a barely love/mostly hate relationship with the Facebook 

For my creative planner-aheader friends. This list maker is clean and super cute. (Pair of Pears)

And I leave you with this beautiful piece to ponder the things of community and conversation that happens around food. Life happens around Sunday's Supper.  (Martha Stewart)

Enjoy your weekend!
PS. May is right around the corner. Do you have a blog|shop|business you want to advertise on The Girl that Sings? 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Places to Eat in LA | Moving Days

Santa Monica Countdown | 2 Months

I just recently told some friends that one of the things I cannot wait for in LA is how late the  restaurants stay open. Currently, we live in a family town, so everything closes up shop about 9PM. McD's and Taco Bell are pretty much our only late night options. And those have consistently been bad choices. 

Also, I love to eat food. I love the taste of crepes with dark chocolate chips, pasta with secret family recipes, little chinese-hole-in-the-walls, and sugar free pastries with rich bold coffee that melts in my mouth. But the problem is that I don't know where a lot of those places are.

Tell me! I need your help!

Have you eaten or drunken at an amazing place in Los Angeles?
What do you recommend?
Any quickies on your "Go-To" list? Date night ideas??

Post a link or the name of the restaurant and city in the comments!  

My only current Go-To is Elysee's Cafe in Westwood. This chocolate croissant (picture above) is to die for. 

Thanks mucho!

What No One Told Me About My 20's // Wrap Up Vlog

Click video to play~

>>>Check out the posts below
What No One Told Me About My 20's | Blog Series
In My 20's, I Realized It Wasn't All About Me
In My 20's, My Identity Ran Away On Auto-Pilot
In My 20's, I Got Lost in the Comparison Game
In My 20's, I Wasn't Prepared for My Son's Autism
In My 20's, I Didn't Know I'd Feel Discontent With My Dreams
In My 20's, Life Sped Up and When I Needed to Slow Down
In My 20's, I Have Complete Freedom and a Tremendous Amount of Pressure
In My 20's, I Involuntarily Broke the Mold

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In My 20's, I Was Afraid I Was Too Young to Influence

I was 21 when I had the biggest faith crisis of my life.

My father, a pastor of one of those mega churches lots of people like, was embroiled in a scandal that would eventually take him down, temporarily out of the game.

And I was left to wonder things I’d never wondered before. 

Did God really care about me?

Did He see me, know my struggle to make sense of something hard?

Did He truly have a plan for my life or was I just the daughter of the pastor of things that went terribly wrong?

No one ever told me that I would one day question such things.  Not when I was sitting like a lady in my pretty Easter dress on Sunday.  Not when I was singing rhythmic VBS songs or running in the hallway of my beloved haven with a steeple.

Sweet little Jesus girls don’t grow up to be gritty grapplers...that is what I thought.
Some months later and with the help of a really intimidating shrink and {undoubtedly} the closet prayers of my mother, I reconciled such things and decided, in a new way, I would follow hard after God.  {Mainly, I admit, because He was the only One who hadn’t bailed…which now I find a really good reason.}

But my struggle didn’t stop there.  Because no one ever told me that in my 20’s, after I made such a dogged decision, that I would want to serve God but feel as though my age did not give me a real shot at influence.  It was this noise, constantly in my head:
Who wants to listen to a 20-something without the life experience, the marriage, the kids, the years that people say help you know yourself, know God, and really just…grow up?

What I did not know was that God didn’t need me to be any older for me to be radical.  Nor did He need me to disqualify myself or buy into what anyone might say about me being too young to really know anything about God.

He just wanted me.  My heart.  My desire.  My gifts to be used for someone other than me.  And He would insert the rest.

I needed to know this, as much as I needed to know months before that God was ok for me to question Him -- because a searching heart meant an inner hunger He would always be able to fill. And as I write this post, many years later, I am grateful, still, to know such things.

And so I say to you, my friend, 20-something or not, that is reading these words…
Search on.  Ask Him the tough questions.  And know that never are you too anything to do good Jesus work.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In My 20's, I Involuntarily Broke the Mold

I am still in my 20’s, early 20’s to be exact. As I reflected back and thought about the last few years I realized they weren’t what I thought they would be. I certainly don’t mean that in a negative way but they haven’t been like that picture in my mind I had when I graduated high school, was getting ready for college, and getting ready for my twenties.

Let me explain. My married life is synonymous with my 20’s. I got married to my a-maz-ing husband 10 days after I turned 20. This was definitely not what I expected. I love my husband to death and would not have it any other way but I definitely did not expect to get married 2 years out of high school.

Here is the picture I had in mind when I graduated high school:

Graduate College à Get a Great Job à Get Married à Start a Family

I think that is what a lot of people generally expect because they are not necessarily told otherwise. First your go to college, after college get your good job, then your get married and then start your family. Life is all good.

Here is what my timeline actually looks like:

College for 2 years à Get Married à Wish I could finish school à Jobish… à
Stilling figuring out my career à Back to School?? à Family someday, but hey who really knows

Things don’t always turn out how they are “suppose” to but that is ok. I have had to let go of “the mold” of how things are suppose to be and my expectations to be able to embrace this bigger journey (and joy!) that God had planned for me. One with a path that has had some crazy curves and is defiantly not lit all the way. Everyone will take a different path. It is not always direct and the whole path is not always visible in the moment.

People also don’t always tell you that on your path you will fail. But again, it is totally a good thing. I look at each failure as just a try again moment. I have “failed” at quite a few things, ideas, career choices, etc. But God has brought each circumstance into my life to teach me more and more the direction I need to go. 

I am thankful for the things I have tried and the dreams that I have had that have not worked out because they have brought me to the direction I am going today. It may not be on that straight path I assumed I would be taking but the path I am on is the path of growth and that is even better.

The moral of the story is people don’t tell you, as you enter your twenties, that your path will be uniquely yours. It will not be the same as your best friend’s and it will probably not work out the way you plan for it to work out, you may even fail a few times. But good news! This is ok and even good! God is all about leading you and growing you into an amazing person for His purpose.


Monday, April 16, 2012

In My 20's, I Have Complete Freedom and a Tremendous Amount of Pressure

There are two major things I've learned in my 20's. Things no one really prepares you for, but once you're on the other side you think, Hmm, I guess that makes sense. 

1. It's going to take time and hard work to find and work a job and career you truly love. In other words, you may not "love" your job right away.
This is a big one for me. I'm such a future-oriented person and I remember being in college and longing for the days after graduation where I would no longer have homework and suddenly my life would be wonderful as a young professional. I'd work a challenging job that I enjoyed and came home to pursue fun hobbies, read books (for fun!), and spend time with friends. I'm not sure how I formed that idea, and while I do enjoy some of those things, I've learned that the stress and growing to-do list will be always be there nagging at me; it's just the list changes along the way. It's no longer homework and exams, but now it's being a good wife, starting my business and career. We may now have more control over stressors but they are also more ambiguous and require self-discipline. 

Which brings me to my next point...

2. You will have complete freedom yet feel a tremendous amount of pressure.

This one could just be specific to me as I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, but I've noticed that in my 20's I'm feeling the pressure. While I am thrilled to have complete freedom in how I spend my time, I'm also feeling intense pressure. Pressure (from who knows where) to be productive, to follow a path, choose my career, and not look back. What if I'm not sure? What if I don't see myself working the same job for decades? What if I want to set my own schedule? I know this is all partly generational and due to my entrepreneurial spirit, but I think it is important to be open minded and flexible, take the pressure off of ourselves, try new things (and not be afraid to fail), and only work according to our own pace, no one else's. We will find our passion in our own time and own way; rather, it's more beneficial to focus on the present.

What do you think? Do you feel these things too? I'd love to hear. Thanks so much Julianna for having me! xoxo


Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My 20's, Life Sped Up and When I Needed to Slow Down

Life Skills 101
My life as a wife started on July 12, 2008. I was 21 when my husband slipped a ring on my finger. Only a year before that had I been welcomed into my twenties, becoming more independent and starting to assume a few of my own personal responsibilities.

I have always said I wish there were required classes along the path to adulthood that would teach the basics of life. Instead of wasting my time on a semester of calculus I would have greatly benefited from a class that teaches life skills.

Like, HOW on earth do you shop for a place to live and what exactly is in that 500 page book you are signing when you buy a house? How do I build and maintain a good credit score? How do I shop for car insurance? What are the pros and cons of buying and leasing a car? How on earth do I fill out my taxes? Dave Ramsey? Suze Orman, who?

I hit my twenties and found myself whacked with a mountain of nonsense and decisions I had no idea how to make. Deductables? 401K? Retirement? Income taxes? Property taxes? Portfolios? Roth IRA? What? Toooo many acronyms! I had no preparation on how to handle everyday-life details. Thankfully I at least knew how to balance a checkbook and make a budget. However, I would have gladly skipped college algebra for a Dave Ramsey class to learn to stay out of debt!

Now, having dealt with these issues, I'm more knowledgable. But shouldn't you have some idea about this junk before you're forced into it? Shouldn't you be forced to learn these concepts? They'll teach you geometry formulas but not about the details of financing? It has never made sense to me.

Slow Your Roll
Those are all practical things and can be overwhelming but there are more important things I wish I had realized.

This past September I turned 25 and almost had a complete breakdown over the event. Okay “breakdown” may be a little dramatic, but it really got to me. I couldn’t believe that five years had passed since I had entered my twenties. Those five years had flown by and in retrospect I felt like I had wished those five years away, wanting to be a grownup. I wish I had focused on living in the “now," learning and living in where I was at the moment. I wished I had absorbed every detail. It’s cliché, but the older you get the faster time goes by.

Having long-term dreams and goals is important, but we have a lifetime to work on obtaining those. It can get frustrating waiting in that desert that is "In the Meantime" - that phase of our lives where we feel like we are stagnant. But there are times in our lives where we need to practice stillness and simply live in the moment, even if it's not where we want to be. It's a pit stop.

For the past three years I've been working at a job that has absolutely nothing to do with my overall goals. It's a job I got in order to pay the bills. I would beg God to please open a door for me to walk through that would lead me to a more creative path and get me on my way to getting my book published, or my big screen debut, or starting my successful business. So many times I would feel a sense of peace that he was working behind the scenes on my behalf. I felt it was my job to stay faithful to where he had me at that moment in my life. 

We are where we are in life for a reason - to learn lessons, to build character, to form relationships, and to be a light in the lives of others. When we focus on being faithful to where we are, at some point in life that effort will be rewarded. We just need to be patient.

One more thing...
Teenager beware. No matter how skinny you are your entire life, be aware of your metabolism. It exists and it really does slow down. Just listen to my 25 yr. old size 8 pants warn my 13-21 yr. old size 2 pants. They'll let you know. Exercise and eat right.

And one more thing I'd like to add...
Ladies, wear a bra because those puppies can't hold themselves up forever.

You can take that one to the bank.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

In My 20's, I Didn't Know I'd Feel Discontent With My Dreams

When I entered my 20's, no one ever really told me that you don’t have to take the typical route! Fortunately, I have parents who have always been super supportive of me, allowing me to try five gazillion different activities as a kid until I found my niche. Turns out I am still doing that through my 20’s. I am 27 now and so far, the 20’s for me has been one crazy roller coaster. 

In high school, everybody tells you, “Reach for the Stars!” “You can do whatever you put your mind to.” You know, the usual inspirational comments teachers give their students. But, I couldn’t help but notice I was no more a student then I was a cow being corralled along with my peers into the “College” meadow. So I followed. I even declared a major and played intramural sports, but halfway through my freshman year I realized this was so not me. 

Some of my professors tried to talk me out of it, but I had my mind set. I applied to do a missions school in Brisbane, Australia the following Fall. My parents supported me under the condition I pay off my college debt before I went (GOD BLESS THEIR SOULS! I am so thankful for that condition!). About six months later I was on the start of my counter-culture education track. I traveled as a missionary. 

I started a local music festival. I volunteered A LOT, whether at a TV station or as an event manager for dance crews, artists or musicians. I took courses of interest, like Leadership or Organization Resource development, at schools that were field focused. I did this for about four years and all while being single. 

Then came the haze. In walked this adorable guy and after almost a year as friends, we were totally hooked! I spent another year abroad, dating via Skype and letter writing. Nearing marriage, I decided to move back to the states, living in Pennsylvania and then finally moving out west to be in the same town as Dustin. In the three years I lived there, I married Dustin, volunteered two of my summers to train and take college students overseas on missions and worked as a youth coach as well as working at a non-profit organization, Light Gives Heat. 

Then, this past October, my husband got a career opportunity in Nashville and so it once again became time to move, this being move #9 since graduating high school

This leads me to my second thing that nobody told me about my twenties: You have to choose to live with contentment in any route you take. I chose the unconventional road of schooling. Instead of sitting in a classroom, the world became my classroom. I learned soo much during those years and so much beyond just education. I loved learning this way. 

But as I lived my dreams, I became envious of others. With every move, my “dream route” was getting super tiring. You know that John Mayer song, “All we ever do is say Goodbye”? That song could be about my life! My "home" was spread around the world and I didn’t have access to it as often as I liked. My friends were now scattered all over and I missed them dearly. But you're not supposed to have discontentment in your dream life, right? Wrong. My biggest lesson in my 20's is learning how to be content right where I am.
There are going to be sacrifices either way you go. The grass is not always greener on the other side. I remember talking to someone, who had gone the college to marriage route, about how they thought my life was so exciting. I remember distinctly thinking that, to me, their life actually seemed way more appealing as they had stability. They had friends and family around them all the time. They had a consistent paycheck and could afford little luxuries. 

I wouldn’t trade the route I chose to take, but I have learned that what seems glamorous at first isn’t always the case. No matter what path you choose to take in your 20’s, you can’t escape hardships.

So allow me to be be someone who told you that the 20’s can be super exciting! 
You can achieve things that don’t seem possible as a teen, but you also have to be prepared to sacrifice. If you want to work at a non-profit, be prepared to work harder then you are compensated for. If you want to have a job that travels all around the world, it will be incredible but don’t be surprised when you miss your friends and family and eating out loses its luster. 

As pessimistic as this sounds, I actually say this so that you can prepare to be optimistic when these hardships come your way, because they will! Optimism is part of what has gotten me this far with no signs of stopping! Move #9 has been dream turned reality, but not without it’s own set of struggles to overcome! 

Stay positive, be humble, work hard and go for it!

-MK, From the Guest Room
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