Hiding

Recently in church we were discussing Genesis 3, where Adam and Eve are hiding from God after eating from the tree of good and evil. The pastor touched on the first reaction to this knowledge, hiding and making excuses. And I couldn’t help but be smacked with the reality that most Christians are still hiding and making excuses for our sin. And while I don’t think it’s a conscious decision to hide from God, I do think it’s human nature and a default of sorts. Before eating from the tree, Adam and Eve were very intimate and close with God, but then there was obstruction to this connection and intimacy….and that obstruction (or sin) led to a lifestyle of pain and hiding. This got me thinking about what hiding from God looks like today.

I dove into scripture, and although there isn’t a lot that talks directly “hiding from God”, but there are plenty of words on hiding, and much of it is in Psalms and 1 Samuel as David and Saul dramatically play out on the pages. But in this story, God protects David and “did not give David into Saul’s hands”. God had purpose for David’s life and while hardship and hiding was part of that, God protected David.

As I pondered “hiding” even more, the word avoidance kept coming to mind. Because hiding from God is avoiding; avoiding God’s calling for my life, not claiming His promises and truth, choosing comfort over redeemed living, not utilizing the special talents God gave ME, and not making my thoughts obedient to Christ. It’s a way of picking and choosing the gospel we want to accept, and not claiming the totality of truth found in God’s word. It’s not waking up every morning and suiting up with the Armor of God. Because if we are living with the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the spirit and prayer all in place; there is no hiding to be done.

Ephesians 1:10 says that we were “created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do”. He has good works prepared for me and you; he has a purpose for our existence and a job for us to do. We are no accident, and the hardships and challenges life throws our way are not purposeless. David hid from Saul who was trying to kill him, and in turn experienced Gods protection and provision as he prepared David to be king. God might not be preparing you to be a king, but he sure is preparing you for the calling he has for you. A calling that is easy to avoid and even forget as we are weighed down with the busyness of life. And this is where hiding can work in our favor; not hiding from God, but intentionally “hiding” from life and running to God regularly. Running to special quiet time to meditate on scripture and connect with God. A God desperate to speak HIS truth into our lives. A God who “chose us before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:4. A God who has lavished us with his grace, wisdom and understanding. An anchor for our souls.

Distractions, idols and false heart fillers are easy imposters for connection with God, but eventually walking outside of Gods will and covering will do more harm than walking into the “hard” things God is calling you to.

What are you hiding from today?

Romans 8:38

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Dead Dreams

When it all feels undone. When it was all finally falling into place, only to crumble into a million pieces. When the dreams die, and the hope fades, and you are left with a hollow shell of what should have been. This is when you question it all, and when worry creeps in like your new best friend. This is the breaking point. But the amazing thing about breaking points, is that once its broken, there is room for new. This is when the crumbled pieces magically become a new masterpiece, something more beautiful and unexpected than ever imagined.

This week my world became undone, and dreams crumbled in the most unexpected and unfortunate way. It leaves one reeling; unsure how I even landed right here, in this insanely awkward and precarious situation.  After years of dreams dying and hopes dashed, to total a lifetime of missed chances and mistaken timings. It’s easy to look at this and feel defeated, to feel that there will never be a victory. And there may never be victory on this side of heaven, and I may spend the rest of my life missing chances and timing things all wrong. But if the saying “there is beauty in the brokenness” is truth, then there must be beauty in this moment.

To see God’s light shine through all the cracks and crevices and broken pieces in the desert of dead dreams…what if that is the Gift?! To see the glimpses of protection and purpose and principled living through those cracks. And to realize that each closed door and dead dream was pushing me closer to the calling and purpose of a God who sees far more in me than my small dream. Whether his dreams for me are big or small makes no difference, because the path and purpose He has laid out for me far exceeds anything I could dream up. And while I think we so often see this through our worldly eyes as jobs and security and power and money; God sees it as something much more meaningful, a purpose that lasts through eternity. I think it’s easy to lose sight of the calling God has placed in our lives, to fall at His feet daily and bring glory to God in all that we do.

And as I’ve grown and matured in my faith, I continually see life’s experiences through these special God shaped lenses…the ones that see eternity in all that we do.

Friday Finds Pool Edition

It’s finally Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week has been something. With end of school activities and a day off of school thrown in there, it’s been a crawl to Friday. But it’s here!! Do you have big weekend plans? We are dreaming of lots of chlorine and flamingo floaties. The neighborhood pool is open and pool time definitely tops our weekend to do’s, although with major rain in the forecast it might not happen.  🙁

The kids have made it clear that pool time is THE thing to do this summer, and here are a few must haves that will be in my pool arsenal this summer.

 

The SUN PROTECTION

It’s no secret that I adore Beautycounter products, and their new Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist is no different. Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and antioxidant –rich California poppy for UVA, UVB and blue light protection; I can confidently use it on my littles without worrying about what’s in it. And as a mom of three, anything that makes my life easier is a must, so bring on the SAFE spray sunscreen. And lets not forget that its reef friendly, as it doesn’t include oxybenzone, a sun filter known to contribute to the collapse of the worlds coral reefs. This will be a staple for my family all summer long. Snag a bottle (or 5!) for your family here.If you don’t already have a great Beautycounter Rep, search for Rachel Anderson when you shop.

 

The CORKCICLE

I have the unicorn magic print, with all of its sparkly awesomeness. These are amazing! The Canteen fits an entire bottle of wine and keeps it cold. Now I’m not saying you have to bring wine to the pool this summer, but if you do, this is the way to do it. It also will fit 25 ounces of water if wine isn’t your thing…or margaritas, or vodka lemonade, or cucumber water…whatever quenches your thirst best.

They also make a stemless Corkcicle, which is to die for and so darn useful. Keeps the wine cold, protects from spillage and looks darn pretty while doing it. And again, if wine isn’t your thang, fill it with your happy beverage of choice. And let’s not forget the tumbler, there to make all your drink dreams come true. Absolute necessities for poolside fun.

 

The PERFECT COVER

This pool cover is the best! Lightweight with the perfect colors to compliment all swimsuit options, and on trend. I wore this last weekend with a turquoise one piece swimsuit, and it was good stuff. I love the cute stitching details, and it so dang comfortable. Airy, flowy, gauzy fabric that feels like butter on the body and stays comfy even when wet. We are in the South where its HOT during the summer, and something that looks cute but also breathes and covers, that’s the million dollar product…for me, this is the one. This cutie is currently sold out, big bummer.  But now worries…in the meantime add one of these to my rotation, cuz we all know you can never have too many perfect covers.

Celeste Cover Up

Elan Cover Up Slipdress

 

The POOL FLOAT

Flamingos are my life! Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but still, I love flamingos. In my life, the flamingo represents friends and community, all the great things. So, I’ve amassed a small(ish) collection of flamingo pool floats, and I intend to enjoy every single one of them. Snag a similar float here and float your summer away flamingo style.

 

The BAG

I love bags, and my bag collection shows it. A girl can only own so many tote bags, canvas bags, pool bags, reusable shopping bags and so on. But this pool bag from Scout has been my go to season after season. It fits everything, and that’s a lot for this family of five…think five beach towels, pool toys, sunscreen, sunglasses and whatever else the fam can’t live without, its a load.  Plus waterproof and so many cute patterns to choose from, you are sure to find one you love. The pattern I own is retired, but I’m digging the Urchin Care pattern this season. This bag has held up going on seven years and was definitely money well spent.

 

The COOLER

In the south, I have learned that the heat is REAL. And keeping anything cool in this heat, it requires the right stuff. So, this rolling cooler bag will be getting a workout this summer. I snagged this baby a few years ago in Marshalls, but you can find one kinda like it here and be rolling in style. And today use code SUNSHINE for an extra 20% off.

 

There you have it, my fav summer essentials! What will be in your pool bag this summer?!

 

 

Kate Spade Sale?! Yes Please!

Kate Spade sale online and in stores today! Use code GREATFIND for an additional 30% off already reduced sale prices. Woohoo!

Here are a few of my favorites…

I love a great neutral bag with classic lines, this has Celine-esq feel to it, gorgeously classic. Shop the bag here.

The classic Sam (my first Kate Spade, she was something of beauty) with a floral twist. I’m loving florals this season, especially in accessories, and this one is pretty awesome. Shop Sam here.

Sputnik Earrings!?! Yes please. Fun, sparkly and will go with everything. And for under $30, grab a pair here.

The Snowy Nights earrings. While the name makes it clear these were a part of the winter collection, the floral feel to these earrings will work well into the summer. I’m personally loving the pink and blue. These are a bit more of a splurge, but still a great deal for KS earrings, and the perfect statement earrings for summer. Check them out here.

Do you have a sale favorite? Let me know what awesome sale finds make it into your closet!

Happy Wednesday flamingo friends!

 

 

 

Friday Finds Southern Style

Welcome to the newest edition of Friday Favorites!! I’m so excited to share my latest favorite finds with you. This past weekend was extra special because some of my Iowa girlfriends visited me. We had the perfect weather, sunny and warm, and had a blast eating and shopping our way through town.

There is an amazing new restaurant in downtown Waxhaw that we had to visit, Emmet’s Social Table! It’s an old cotton mill turned restaurant…the ambiance is wonderful, the food to die for and the drinks beyond delicious. Their patio seating was perfect for our night out, and the fire pit is one of the coolest I’ve seen. It was an awesome night out laughing and catching up with old friends.

The girls and I stopped by the cutest little boutique called Southern Style; because when the girls visit, you make sure the cute boutiques are on the list. I’ve been there a few times since moving here, Ryan has even been dragged through their doors, and I was thrilled to go back. Southern Style is full of great finds, and my favorite Friday find is from here, it’s a brand called Katie Loxton. It’s a London based brand that focuses on great designer looking finds at affordable prices. So. Darn. Cute.

I have a major obsession with clutches, so her clutch bags with sayings are a definite favorite! And at $24 they are a steal! I might know a few teachers who received “One in a Million” as part of their teacher gift, because great teachers are one in a million. Love. These.

And if we hadn’t just returned from the Kate Spade Outlet, I would own this bamboo handled handbag, the perfect summer bag. I might be using Birthday money to snag one yet, and at $80 it’s a great deal for something so stylish and cute.

The boutique ladies helping me raved about the scalloped tote bag and adore it. And be sure to check out her accessories…I loved her bracelets and key chains. And the product that started this all?! Her stationary, I picked out this card for the teachers and then it spiraled from there. A heart pin on a card for teachers with a heart of gold, for real. You can be sure that Katie Loxton will be finding her way into my closet.

What was your favorite find this week?!? Do share.

Because it REALLY does MATTER

As an advocate for safe beauty, I’ve spent the past four years with Beautycounter, focused on the mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. And I’ve loved my time with the company and sharing their products and mission with others. But somewhere in those four years, life took over and I got tired…so darn tired. Between personal and family challenges, the daily grind, school, sports, kids and their stuff, and then packing and moving cross-country, so I could unpack and attempt to settle into this strange new home…I lost my fire for the mission.

And then I stumbled upon a new line of products with a different company, the promised amazing results and I was tired, so I gave in. I was supporting a friend and figured, why not. They delivered as promised and I was happy; and they claimed to be clean and safe, so I took their word and left it at that. I was still weary and had grown lazy when it came to products and ingredients. This gal who touted all the great safe beauty lingo, who believed it with all her heart, she gave in and didn’t even research the products or ingredients. Sometimes it’s exhausting having to explain that not all “safe” is created equal, and all natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe, and that the skin is our largest organ, absorbing over 60% of what we put on it. Think about that (60%!!), so if you are putting estrogen disruptors on your skin, it will get into your body and it will mess with your hormones. Think about those products that are covering most of your body; the body washes, lotions, shampoos and conditioners…they seep into ALL of that skin. Anyway, even the staunchest believers can fall, and I fell.

Well, long story longer, the fancy new “safe” products weren’t safe, and I realized that the health issue I was experiencing had to be connected to using the products. So, I stopped using them, but it’s what happened after that gave me an “aha” moment. Because other health issues I had been experiencing improved, and I mean REALLY improved. I had foolishly assumed that stress was causing those issues, but causation leads me to believe otherwise. I found Beautycounter years ago because my son’s health needed the safest products out there, and I KNEW the importance, but sometimes we forget just HOW important it really is.

This lazy Beautycounter rep, who grew weary of sharing the mission and feeling like the crazy lady rambling on about product and ingredient safety is here to say that yes, it DOES matter. What you put on your body matters A LOT. And no one can police that for you or me, I am ultimately responsible for what I put on my body. With a little education, you and I can greatly impact our health for the better. Education is power. And that power is transformative. So, use what you know, use what I’ve told you, use what you’ve read and take control of the products in your home.

I would love to see all of you run to my Beautycounter website and buy like crazy (wouldn’t that be nice!), but I know that’s not realistic. So, I urge you to check out www.ewg.org and research the products and ingredients in your home. Become educated and don’t become lazy like this gal. And if in your research you find a burning passion to share safe beauty with others, I would love to link arms with you and do so together. Because together, we can make a difference. And if you’ve never tried Beautycounter but want to, shoot me a message and I would love to get samples in your hands. Like it or not, Beautycounter is my standard for safe and effective products (think Chanel meets Whole Foods); with their tireless research and the over 1,500 ingredients banned with the Never List, I have yet to find a company that I love and believe in so wholeheartedly. SO be like the new and improved Rachel, and shop informed.

FUN FACT: Your skin is the largest organ in your body and because it’s so porous, it absorbs anything you put on it. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health determined that the skin absorbs an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage.

www.beautycounter.com/rachelanderson

Just Open the Door

 

I had the privilege of reading Jen Schmidt’s (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam) new book Just Open the Door before it was available for sale. And what a privilege it was. Opening the doors of our home and building community have long been passions of mine, so I relished the opportunity to read this book about biblical hospitality. When hearing the words biblical hospitality, it doesn’t necessarily evoke warm and fuzzy feelings for me, but this book did. The stories, the insight; it reads as if you are sitting down with Jen herself, sipping tea and chatting about life.

Since moving and settling into our new life in North Carolina, my door hasn’t opened nearly as much as it used to, and while that’s ok, this book was a good reminder that I’m at my best when the door is swinging open regularly. And I love that as you read, it’s clear that an open-door policy isn’t just about the physical door of your home, but that mentality moves with you everywhere you go, whether that be the soccer field or the grocery store. And at a time when we still don’t have our people and our place here, that is crucial. But I hope to live that way even after we’ve settled here, because imagine if we  embraced all opportunities to connect and engage those around us, never saying enough.

 

 

Looking back at our life in Iowa, it’s clear that by “just opening the door”, we found a richness of community and relationships that is unmatched. From all the baby showers and wedding showers and dinners with friends and dinners with acquaintances that became friends, to the day we placed a flamingo in our front yard and nervously waited for neighbors we’d never met to show up; our door was swinging wide all the time. And even as I look back at my childhood, the door was always open, always. So, at a time when we are still waiting for that richness and abundance in North Carolina, we will move forward and open the door as we have in the past, because we want to live with an open heart.

 

 

This book is truly for everyone, and I recommend it to all my friends; but if you are wanting to learn about simple,  practical and heartfelt hospitality, then this is definitely the book for you.  The kind of hospitality that works with what you have and where you are, not a Martha Stewart Pinterest perfect kind of hospitality, but the kind of hospitality that leaves others filled up. “When we use our lives exactly as they are, desiring only to create a sacred space for our guests, mixing it with the countercultural truth of loving Jesus and loving others, we turn entertaining upside down, and it becomes radical hospitality.” JS And as you read on and hear stories of people’s lives affected by the Schmidt’s open door living, it becomes abundantly clear that this kind of living truly can change a generation.

 

 

Today is the last day to preorder with perks, so head on over to www.dayspring.com and order yours now. Preorder perks include the first 7 CHAPTERS digitally, a beautiful PRINTABLE to download and $10 OFF any Dayspring order.

Perfect Love

 

Life these past few weeks has been so disheartening, everywhere you turn there are stories full of destruction, heartache and pain. It’s enough to down even the strongest of us. Just this morning I was reading about a teenager who was tortured to death and spent years in a home full of abuse and pain. I couldn’t help but weep as I read about this poor child’s life and demise. And just a few weeks ago the headlines read about a large family with many children that experienced similar torture and horror on a regular basis. And last week, multiple teachers and students lost their lives in a school shooting. The evil around us can feel so strong at times.

With such atrocities, many are struggling to make sense of what we hear, and desperate to find solutions. We can’t fathom losing a child in such a horrific way, and we can’t grasp that a parent would treat their own child with such hate. Evil has existed since the beginning, and will continue until the end of time. We live in a country where that evil hasn’t trampled our daily living like in other countries, so it’s sometimes hard to grasp what evil really “looks” like, and then it smacks us in the face and we struggle to understand it.

While I have many thoughts, opinions and feelings about the “issues” being discussed post tragedy, it’s clear to me that as a society we have lost our way with handling such tragedies. One minute on social media and you can’t help but feel bombarded with opinions and causes. Just today my computer time included gun debates, food assistance debates, pleas to care more about third world countries, and stories of human trafficking and road rage attacks. It’s a lot, especially considering that was intended to be an enjoyable experience, one where I pop on and see what people I care about are up to, not what they feel about this or that issue.

I try not to be too “in your face” or forceful with my thoughts, because I believe we all have something to offer the conversation, but the conversation is happening in the wrong place. It’s time we all turn off our phones and computers, and actually talk to people. Nobody is gaining anything from the painful social media posts and debates, so just stop it. Rather than engage on a platform that eliminates the fullness of human interaction; go have coffee with a friend, invite a neighbor to dinner, volunteer at the food bank or career closet, bring a basket of cookies to the neighbor or teacher or coworker who is making your life difficult, or simply smile at strangers. Engage people. This is where the conversations should happen, and this is where people coming together can make a real difference.

The one constant in all of the stories consuming the media right now, broken and isolated people. While there are many forms of brokenness and many needs in our society right now, it’s safe to say that community is lacking. We’ve become so connected to the digital world, we’ve forgotten we live in a real world with real people. So, while many will be on social media creating enemies and causing division with senseless debates, I will be pursuing real people and hoping to bring a little bit of light to a broken world. People loving people will always be a more effective tool of change, and that is where one can truly change the world.

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God…”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”

Change

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At the start of every year, so many of us focus on goals and dreams for the upcoming year, and some will embrace a word or verse or saying as their mantra for the year. I personally entered 2016 with the goal to focus on me, to focus on the change that I needed personally. I’ve spent nine years of my life investing in my kids and husband and home; and while those are all wonderful investments and of the utmost importance to me, I knew that me needed a bit more attention this year. So as 2015 neared its close, I chose the word CHANGE as my word for 2016, not realizing just how fitting that would be. Two months into 2016 and I can assure you that change is beyond accurate, so much more so than even I had planned. But life is funny that way, I think we sometimes feel the wind shifting before it changes directions.

My intention was to spend this year pursuing new to me things, stretching myself and finding renewed confidence as I pursued new passions and interests; but today, for the first time in many many years, I interviewed to rejoin the corporate working world. That was not on my 2016 plan for change. Life has thrown me many curve balls over the years, and sometimes I’m shocked by all I have lived in my 35 years; but this one was out of left field. I had a great career prior to leaving to focus on family; a blessing I all too often took for granted. I never really planned to rejoin the corporate world I once knew, I just figured that I would fall into something worth doing when my youngest entered kindergarten; but life detoured and here I am. The saying “you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone” is so fitting. I have, more than I care to admit, loathed my time at home with littles. It’s the most selfless, busy, never-ending, down-in-the-trenches work that one can do. And coming off years with a grouchy, sick child, one would think that rushing to a corporate adult world would be the end all be all, but truthfully, I’m realizing how much I have treasured my time at home. Raising little people is truly some of the most important work that I will ever do.

 

As I look back over the past nine years, I’m overcome with how special all of that time was…and that’s saying a lot considering my kids pulled some crazy antics. What I wouldn’t have given on those messy, trench-filled days to be anywhere else, to be dressed in real clothes, talking to real adults about “important” things; but what I overlooked on those painful days, was that the important work was right in front of me. And many days, just keeping the kids fed and alive was all I could handle; but the lie that I needed to be accomplishing more was always there. The lie that if I could keep the house cleaner, make a better dinner, play more with my kids, be more attentive, more involved, less this, less that, more this, more that….all the lies, distractions from the important work I was doing. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, and spending countless hours alone with these little people, well, its just exhausting; they have this way of taking you from “exhausted” to “can’t even function anymore” in no time flat. They are the worst and the best, all tied up in these sticky little packages.

 

My parenting work isn’t even remotely over yet, and I will still have the joy of experiencing so many “can’t even function anymore” moments, but the way things are, that’s changing. And change is one of those things I’ve grown to love and hate, the perfect dichotomy. My family will find its new “groove” and I will experience more adult interaction throughout my days; but the sweet days of me desperately wanting to run away, as I invest hours upon hours, cleaning up mess after mess, and argue incessantly with little people; those days are coming to an end. And I guess my dream of sending all the kids off to school and drinking wine all day with my girlfriends will have to wait until another day…

Chocolates

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“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”Forrest Gump. Isn’t that the truth. Have you ever looked back at your life dreams and compared that to reality, so often they are vastly different. My life right now is in a bit of upheaval, and it has me reflecting on the past, present and future. As humans we have this great capacity and need for dreaming, its so much of our life…dreaming about what we will do, how our families will be, what our homes will be like, the next amazing vacation; for some, life is already a dream come true, but of others, its not been so dreamlike. And context is so crucial here too, because my reality could  be your dream, or vice-versa.

My husband, and our sole provider,  is between jobs right now, not exactly a dreamlike place to be. And we were here a few years ago when the economy tanked and his whole division was shut down, that time it took two years to find solid employment again. Two whole years of dreaming and hoping and struggling to get through. We were blessed by so many during those years, and looking back, I don’t get warm fuzzy’s, but I don’t want to erase them either. Because life is fluid, and those years are full of lessons and memories and people and good stuff despite the valley

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Having lived through this before, I can compare this time to last time, and I can work at doing it better. And this time, the fear is different, the impact feels less extreme and the reality is, I get to dream again. Dream about what he will do, dream about what I will do, dream about the possibilities. It’s just a job, but wouldn’t it be great if he loved his job. Would’t it be great if this was a redirect to something even better…that’s what we all hope for when big changes like this happen, better, because we dream.

I hope to never lose the ability to dream, because I think that is the charm and sparkle that keeps like moving forward, the catalyst to change.What are your deep down dreams? As adults, life and kids and responsibilities take over and sometimes we forget that deep down dream that once was so vibrant. I sometimes wonder what the world would look like if we all gave those dreams a little more attention, a little more space  to exist; and then what if we pursued them? What if complacency and fear took the backseat, and fervently chasing that dream became a priority?!

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The past few years I have been solely focused on my family, specifically the health of my son and his struggles. It consumed all of me, and the more I invested in him and fought for him, the less alive I felt. It was hard and all-consuming and required me to be completely selfless, the dreaming had died. But then he started to improve, and it didn’t consume all of me anymore, and the little dreams started to surface again, and pretty soon I wondered if the little dreams could be the big dreams…so here I am, diving into waters that make me feel a little uncomfortable and out of my element, but you know what, I’m chasing my dreams. And with each step closer to the dream, my spirit lifts, my heart feels freer and life feels a bit more magical. So do me a favor, take a few minutes today and just dream…dream about your future, those deep heart desires, and the possibilities, because life is full of them. Dream on my friend.

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