The one with the bone

Lately life has been something hasn’t it?! I’ve been attempting to work from home as much as possible since virtual school is our current reality. Earlier this week I was sprawled out across the dining room table, notes for upcoming events and ministries covering every surface. Trying to manage details, think creatively and respond to the barrage of incoming emails and texts, only to look up and see our little brown shitzu Ollie galavanting around the front yard. Last week he escaped to chase deer into the woods behind our home. He came scampering back with an animal leg bone considerably larger than him; femur, kneecap and tibia all still perfectly attached. So gross. Ever since, he’s been eager to find more bones and Houdini’s his way out of the yard on the regular. So…in the middle of work demands, juggling chrome book issues and virtual schooling, I was now out in the yard corralling a dog back home. I can laugh at the craziness of my life, three kids and three dogs and constant chaos, but I also know that it can be exhausting, distracting and overwhelming. 

Most of us are in the middle of seasons the feel overwhelming and exhausting. So much noise and chaos coming at us from all directions, much of it filled with fear and issues that hurt our hearts. All of this is enough to take down even the strongest of people, and a stark reminder that we need something more. We need respite from the storm raging around us, and something to hope in. We need Christ. The enemy seeks to kill and destroy, and finds any means necessary to do so. Overwhelmed. Distracted. Unfocused. Busy. Noisy. 

The enemy is doing everything in his power to keep you off your game and too off kilter to speak to the one that can rebalance it all. 

But Jesus says he came so that we may have life, and have it abundantly. While truly abundant life won’t be fully experienced until heaven, we can find abundance in Christ while here on earth. No, it doesn’t require hours of commentary study of God’s word, digging into timelines and deeper meanings and biblical depth. It starts with talking to God. Intentional prayer time. We need study, and we need to be rooted in the word of God and his truths; but without the relationship, none of that matters. We need to be talking to God. Praying without ceasing. Taking the busy and overwhelmed and distracted to him. The enemy is doing everything in his power to keep you off your game and too off kilter to speak to the one that can rebalance it all. 

In Romans we are told that the Spirit is interceding on behalf of the saints, and Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us. As children of God, we have the amazing gift of access to the one that is everything. So take the exhaustion, the chaos, the busy, the overwhelm, and lay them at the feet of Christ. Pray to the one who holds it all in his hands. Pray and then pray some more. Be intentional in carving out quiet time to sit with God. Communicate openly with your heavenly father, allow him to meet you in the chaos, and see firsthand the power of Christ. If God is for us, who can be against us!?

Romans 8:27

And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 

Romans 8:34

Christ Jesus who died – more than that – who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God is also interceding for us.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds Christ Jesus. 

Romans 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced 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.

Boldy Tired

I am so darn tired. Deep down in my bones weary. It’s hard to admit that to myself, much less publicly. I’ve struggled to process why as I tend to be an optimist who can push through just about anything, but there is great value in experiencing the seasons that God has us in. Even the ones that leave us feeling tired and inadequate. We all know that life right now is all sorts of upside down and different, which in and of itself can lead to a weariness. But God has been impressing on my heart in a big way where he wants me in this season, and quite simply, it’s stretching me. 

I know that so much good comes from God pulling us out of what’s comfortable and into new and uncomfortable. Much like a fish out of water, although the fish will eventually die without the water. God isn’t calling me to the uncomfortable to die, he is calling me to the uncomfortable to shine. 

“These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine, and may result in praise, glory and honor when Christ Jesus is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:7. 

We have an unwavering God wanting to take us boldly into the beautiful unknown, we need only trust in the one that is our everything.

When God calls us to the uncomfortable, he’s calling us to a bigger faith. So I can fight it, avoid the uncomfortable and ignore where he has me; or I can lean into it with all of my being, and trust that he will use it for his glory. We all have some level of uncomfortable right now, but I see how God is moving in his people in ways that are new and different, and it’s exciting. I choose to believe that God is preparing his people to have huge impact in what’s to come, whatever life post quarantine looks like, and my goodness, what an amazing time to be alive! 

I was in God’s word yesterday, struggling to find encouragement and just a little ounce of anything to keep me going, and I was reminded that prayer is so monumental in the Christian life. It is our lifeline to Christ, and a source of power and encouragement. 

“Pray without ceasing…” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 

So often we want the answers and a map of what’s to come, but God just wants us to pray, and walk boldly to where he has called. No roadmap, no clear path, just a faith that is solid in the knowledge of our God. A God who throughout my tumultuous faith life has never abandoned me, and has never called me to a space where he isn’t providing all that I need. So I will put one foot in front of the other and jump headfirst into this new space, trusting that he’s got it.

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

What is stretching you in this season? Where are you finding comfort and peace? I pray it’s at the feet of our heavenly father. And I pray that you are able to walk boldly into the unknown he’s calling you to.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

We have an unwavering God wanting to take us  boldly into the beautiful unknown, we need only trust in the one that is our everything. 

We Just Need to Claim It

Earlier today I was running around doing all of the normal busy things my Saturdays involve. You know, the real glamorous stuff, like cooking, cleaning and laundry. Somewhere in the mundane of these activities, I found my thoughts running and unsteady, feeling unworthy and not enough. I started praying, as that tends to be my immediate posture when things leave me feeling undone. And immediately, God struck me with his truth….you may not FEEL like you are enough, but you ARE enough. I chose you. I paid the price for you. You are my daughter and abundantly loved.

Even on the days we don’t feel it, all we have to do is claim it.

It’s easy to find ourselves off kilter when we only focus on feelings. They are the emotions of the moment, so we tend to roll with them, but they aren’t truth. We can choose to be swayed by the feelings of the day and moments, or we can realize a feeling is false, and run to the one who offers truth. We are CHOSEN. We are LOVED. We are HIS DAUGHTERS. We don’t ever have to question that, even on the days we don’t feel it, all we have to do is claim it. You my friend, are abundantly loved and more than enough for him, your heavenly father. Rest in His love.

For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith – this is not from ourselves but is a gift from God – not by works so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

You didn’t choose me, but I chose you… John 15:16

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved… Colossians 3:12

I will be Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18

...rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him… 1 Peter 2:4

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession… 1 Peter 2:9

TRUTH Nuggets

A few months ago, God provided me with the opportunity to help create something wonderful that will in turn bless many women. I’m thrilled for the opportunity, but by now I’ve learned that walking into anything with this kind of impact means I’m going experience some opposition. Over the years, this has taken on many different forms and I’ve learned to prepare for it rather than fear or avoid it.

“In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Although I was slightly surprised that this time much of the opposition has come in the form of lies affecting my self-esteem and competencies. I’m typically not someone who struggles in this area, so it did catch me a little off guard. But thankfully I have the tools to fight back, and standing firm in Gods truth is so crucial.

“If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Let’s not forget who we are and whose we are. My Monday morning needed some truth nuggets, and I’m sharing here should you need the same.

I am a CHILD of GOD, John 1:12

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of GOD.”

I am tenderly LOVED by GOD, Jeremiah 31:3

“The Lord appears to us in the past saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”

I am CHOSEN by GOD, Colossians 3:12

“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…”

I am completely FORGIVEN, Colossians 1:14

“For he rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.”

I am a SWEET fragrance to GOD, 2 Corinthians 2:15

“For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

I am SANCTIFIED (set apart or declared HOLY), Hebrews 2:11

“Both the one who makes men holy and those are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.”

I have PEACE with GOD, Romans 5:1

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13

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