the friday five // 5 reasons to start your Christmas shopping in september

hey friends!

you’re probably tired of hearing me talk about autumn this and autumn that and pumpkin spice and all that jazz. so we’ll switch things up a little bit today and talk about something else… Christmas! (how do you feel about that? 😉 )

we all know I have a crazy Christmas bug! I have to stop myself from playing Christmas music until at least the middle of november, but after Thanksgiving, all bets are off!! I can’t sleep on Christmas Eve, and I’m always up at the crack of dawn (or shortly thereafter) on the morning of. everything about Christmas makes me tingle with excitement over the wonderful traditions and gasp breathless in awe at God’s great grace!

I know, I know, my (and everyone else’s!) favorite holiday is still a good 3 1/2 months away. but I think that you’ll appreciate the few pointers and ideas I have for you in this post!

so, without further to do…
friday five

5 reasons to start your Christmas shopping in september

  1. to save money!
    that’s right! right now, dozens of stores are having end-of-summer sales! and even though some of the merchandise is very much summery, lots of things are totally Christmas-present-worthy! charming charlie, target, and the christmas tree shops are just a few places that I’ve hit this month and found incredible deals (50% off the 70% off clearance? yes please!) I mean, who would want to miss that? sure it takes a bit of planning ahead of time, but that’s small potatoes when you realize just how much you’re saving!
  2. to avoid the stress!
    Christmas should be a peaceful time, but too often we’re scrambling around for last-minute gifts and panicking that we don’t know what to get for the in-laws. planning ahead of time and getting things sorted out now helps to minimize all that crazy so you can truly enjoy the holiday season and focus on what really matters… the God of the universe putting on human skin because He loves us so ❤
  3. to get better presents!
    when you’re not pinched for time, you’re able to actually put some thoughtfulness and care into the gifts you select. spending time on each person you’re buying for inevitably results in more well-thought-out gifts and happier recipients. and it really puts you in the spirit of giving!
  4. to get out of the same-old rut!
    going along with the previous thought… you’re not being bombarded with Christmas this and Christmas that, so you can actually slow down and think about what the people you’re shopping for really want and need… as opposed to what the tv add and  hundred thousand store signs are insisting they want.
  5. to bless others!
    with all the money and time you’re saving, you’ll likely be able to give gifts not just to your family, friends, and the “required” people, but to others as well. use that extra cash to give to those in need, give a missionary a Christmas bonus, purchase a cow or chickens for a family in another country (through companies like Samaritan’s purse!), feed the homeless, or whatever God puts on your heart!

are you going to start your Christmas shopping this month?
have you already started?
what’s your Christmas-shopping game plan? 🙂

happy shopping!!



the friday five / 5 reasons you might need a mini retreat day

it’s FRIDAY.
don’t you just love it?

fridays are great! and on this particular friday, as school is looming its hectic head and the stores are already filling with halloween candy (seriously, people, what is up with that?), I’d like to let you in on a little secret that has proven to be very valuable to me over the years.

mini retreat days.


what is a mini retreat day, you might ask. and I would say, “oh it’s just the most wonderful thing! you mark a day on your calendar, turn off all your social media, grab all your creative goodies and relaxation stuff and take a whole day for yourself to recharge and renew.

because it is!
it’s amazing, and from time to time, it’s 100% necessary!! there are seasons of life that are generally overwhelming and crazy, and sometimes, in order to preserve your sanity, you’ve just got to escape for a bit. either in your own home or in a cute little coffee shop a couple towns over.

(With donuts, naturally, because delish!)

here are a few ways you might be sneakily telling yourself you need one of these: Continue reading “the friday five / 5 reasons you might need a mini retreat day”

The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people

In our church, we’ve really been practicing that whole weeping with those who weep thing lately. Yeah guys. It’s been rough. We’ve been hit hard.

In the span of a year we’ve held two particularly shocking funerals… Two funerals that were held for those who made the heart-wrenching decision to end their lives prematurely.

Our church has survived two suicides this year.

We are broken people, like any other community. But here’s the thing… I can’t help but think we might be holding fewer funerals if we had simply done our job.

If we had loved as Christ loved. Cared as he cared. Walked in humility as he walked.

If we had spread our arms wide with Jesus-love, speaking authentically, baring even the ugly doubts and reeking losses… When will we bulldoze through the society of singularity we’ve caved to and create a safety net of untidy grace where people are free to struggle with those hard and holy things that make life so damn hard. 

How many more will die before we wake up and realize that authenticity is what will heal our churches?

In the wake of the grief and shock that suicide unleashed upon those left behind, I have found true and authentic community with some of those who have been starving as desperately as I for it. I have bared it all and bathed in the relief it washes over those who plunge themselves into the tidal wave of vulnerability and grace that always follows authenticity. Precious authenticity

I have never experienced true authenticity as clearly as I have as of late.

I’m never going back.

My sweet friend and dear fellow blogger, Simone of The Adventures of Everygirl, and I have been making this our theme lately.
We’ve realized that this is what we’ve been craving, what’s been missing from our souls. After lots of thought, passionate discussion, and epiphanies numbering in the dozens (because, duh), we finally seemed to grasp what it was that made authenticity so enticing, so addicting.

I’ve taken a few moments to jot down what I believe are the five most important characteristics of habitually authentic people. If you want true community, take note, dear ones.  Continue reading “The Friday five / 5 characteristics of habitually authentic people”

the friday 5 / five FREE apps every 20-something girl needs

it’s true.
smartphones have overtaken the world. 😉

I love love love my iphone, guys. I mean, with social media like facebook, pinterest, and instagram at my fingertips, what’s not to love? ( I so ❤ insta ) although, if I’m honest I probably abuse the privilege as much as the next gal. oops.

BUT! aside from the time-wasting social media apps we all love and use constantly, there are some pretty great apps, too, that can really come in handy in your day-to-day activities! I mean, we all have our phone on us all the time, so why not take advantage of it, right?

so I’ve compiled 5 life-saving apps that I love for you today. plus, since I’m pinching pennies, each of these is totally, 100% FREE!! that’s right 🙂

(and a quick fyi, these are all for my iphone-owning ladies.) Continue reading “the friday 5 / five FREE apps every 20-something girl needs”

the friday five // why your summer bucket list only needs 5 items




and it’s t-minus 8 days until VACAY ❤
I cannot even express in words how utterly thrilled I am for this.

if you’ve followed my blog for very long at all, you’ll know it’s been a very wild spring for my little family.
between having to leave our apartment, to a fallen-through job, to my anxiety rearing its’ ugly head, to living in my parents’ basement, it’s been quite the three months.
all in all, J and I are worn out, exhausted, and have been ready for a vacation since april!

and FINALLY we’re getting one!

we’re heading down to myrtle beach with his fam next weekend, and we’re all basically bursting at the seams trying to contain our excitement. 🙂

that said, I really got into the spirit of things and decided to compose a summer bucket list.
after scribbling down a bajillion things I knew I wouldn’t really be able to accomplish and trying to make it look just so, I decided to scrap it and make the perfect mini-bucket-list of things I really, truly want to do, and think I’ll be able to do if I really put my mind to it and make sure they happen!

that’s when I realized this summer was going to be waaaay more fun.
and that I’m a fan of mini bucket lists.

when your bucket list is small, you can make sure you include only the most important, inspirational, personally stretching, and most exciting items.
you’ll have a little compilation of happy to-do’s… all of which you actually want to do!
you’ll be able to really zone in and figure out who you want to be and what you want to accomplish as a person over the next few months.
you’ll truly embrace each item on your list for all its worth, instead of wondering which thing comes next.
you’ll be able to make those fewer things bigger, better, and, if the budget allows, more expensive, because you have fewer items to accommodate! skydiving? why not! 😉

so who’s ready to make a mini bucket list this summer?!

here’s mine:

1. sunrise yoga on the beach
yoga sunrise

I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time. now that I’ve really started embracing my practice and working hard to stretch and grow myself, I think I’ll be able to really enjoy this in a way I wouldn’t have been able to a year ago! 🙂 plus, as someone who’s not a morning person, this will definitely be a challenge 😉 maybe a nice breakfast and lots of coffee after, eh? Continue reading “the friday five // why your summer bucket list only needs 5 items”

the friday five | 5 ways christians should NOT respond to the supreme court marriage ruling

it’s official, ladies and gents.
what some of you have wished for and others of you have prayed against has happened.

same-sex marriage has been declared by the supreme court to be a fundamental right in the united states.

already I’ve seen both parties taking to facebook and instagram in displays of joy or worried-ness or relief or fury.

and already I’m seeing my fellow brothers and sisters do what they seem to do best in the world lately.


now I’m with you guys.
I define marriage the same way you do, brothers and sisters.
I’m married to the most splendid man in the world
and I believe it’s holy and lovely because of how God defines it.
Moriah + Joey_314
I believe that the Bible is always right.
I believe that God is always good.

but I think that in going on our little Christian soapbox, we’re leaving out a bunch of the Bible in pursuit of being right.

before you respond to this ruling publicly, before you unfollow your gay facebook friends, before you share a bunch of angry articles or take to the streets in protest, before you do something unwise… read this.

5 ways you should NOT respond to the supreme court marriage ruling
and yeah… I’ve seen ’em all. Continue reading “the friday five | 5 ways christians should NOT respond to the supreme court marriage ruling”

the friday 5 // five bad habits to break by the time you’re 21 OR adulting, in 5 easy steps

ah, here we are.
you made it through another week, and I think that’s pretty spectacular!
a round of applause for you!! 🙂

oh, friday, how we love thee.
the promise of a whole 48 hours of sheer chill time.
yeah, you can cry with joy. I won’t tell 😉

what will you be doing?
grilling in this splendiforous weather?
hitting the beach to get some color and have some fun?
gluing your face to the netflix?
a little of all of the above? 🙂

well, here’s what I’m doing on this happy friday:
writing the first ever FRIDAY FIVE, y’all!!
YEAH!! 😀
the friday five

Continue reading “the friday 5 // five bad habits to break by the time you’re 21 OR adulting, in 5 easy steps”