Caravan Sonnet: February 2016

2/29/16

10 Things to Pray for Myself As A (Future) Wife

picture found HERE, altered by Caravan Sonnet
Several years ago on the blog I mentioned that I pray for my future husband (and frequently write him notes, cards, and prayers) on a daily basis. I shared 10 Things to Pray for your (future) Husband in a post on the blog which you can find HERE

For the first couple of years of writing on this blog and I didn't write as much about singleness as I thought I would. There were a couple of different reasons for this but if I am completely honest it was because it is such a tender subject to my little heart. I think that there was a small part of me that didn't want to hear criticism from those whom I didn't know as I explored this very vulnerable subject. But, as I kept praying about this and my blog, I felt the Lord's gentle nudging to start to write more about this topic. I kept interacting with more and more singles who were struggling and I wanted to encourage them in this difficult season of waiting and life.

Last year, with the release of my new book, "Prayers for the Single Journey -for women" I made the decision to start sharing more of my heart for single gals on Monday's on my blog. As an "older" single lady my prayer is that I can offer some encouragement in this season for the difficult days and rejoice with y'all as we see the Lord work in different ways in our lives. (If you are looking for all of the posts on singleness that I have written you can find them all HERE.) I also hope and pray that we can encourage each other, no matter the waiting season that we each are in.  

Today I wanted 10 things I pray for myself as a future wife: 

One- I pray that I bring my future husband "good, not harm, all the days of my life". (Proverbs 31:12) One of the ways that I can do this is to recognize that my husband (no matter how special and wonderful he may be) will never be able to fulfill or be "everything". Only the Lord can do that. 

Two- I pray that I will release any and all expectations of what I hope my marriage will look like, and pray that the Lord will give me a vision for marriage that is based on His word alone. 

Three- I pray that I would be obedient to the ways of the Lord and that I would follow the Lord in all of His ways. (Psalm 25:4-5)

Four- I pray that the Lord will take away all of my selfish nature and replace with the fruits of the spirit which include, "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23) Along with this, I specifically pray that I would always have life-giving and redeeming words that I would speak to my husband.

Five- I pray that I would be set free from fears that I may have- and that I would find complete deliverance from my fears in the Lord's love (I John 4:18). I pray that I would be "clothed in strength and dignity so that I can laugh at the days to come". (Proverbs 31:25)

Six- I pray that I would remain pure and would be free in forgiveness from any past decisions (Isaiah 43:18-19). I also pray that I would be free from temptation (current and in the future). (Romans 12:9)

Seven- I pray that I will live a life of forgiveness and repentance "so that my sins are wiped out, and that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19). The last thing that I want to do is to be a bitter and unforgiving wife. 

Eight- I pray that my heart would be sensitive to the things of the Lord and that my talk would reflect my heart. (Proverbs 4:23 and Psalm 34:12-13) I pray that I would know my purpose clearly and where the Lord is calling me. (Psalm 20:4) I pray that even now the Lord would bless my future marriage with clear direction (Amos 3:3) and that the Lord would "perfectly join together in the same mind and same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10) my husband and I so that we are completely united in the Lord.

Nine- I pray that the Lord would help me develop a life that develops trust in all of my relationships so that my husband may develop complete trust in me one day so that I may "greatly enrich his life" (Proverbs 31:11)

Ten- I pray that I will develop into a virtuous and capable wife (Proverbs 31:10).

Are there any specific prayers that you pray for your (future) or current spouse? I would love to know! Happy Monday sweet friends!

2/27/16

New Additions at December Caravan (and a coupon!!)

Happy Saturday friends! I hope that you had a wonderful week and that you are having a delightful weekend! It has been such an exciting and busy time for me with my little shop!! December Caravan has been seeing such an increase in orders every single day and I am so thankful to each of you who have been supporting my shop with your orders! What a blessing you are!!
I am so excited to share with y'all new items that have been added to the shop this past week!  
One new section that I have added to the shop are the "altered planners". These custom and pre-made altered planners were inspired by the sweet love and encouragement I received after sharing about my personal altered calendar from last year
Y'all know how I love making things pretty and this is one exciting way to do that and encourage joy in our everyday lives! You can click HERE to check out this new section and keep your eyes out as there are some great deals going on in that section and new items will be added to it in the upcoming days and weeks! 
Y'all know that one of December Caravan's main staples is the buntings that the shop offers and I am so excited to share that there have been lots of adorable birthday buntings that have been added to the shop!
These adorable buntings are an affordable way to decorate for a loved ones birthday or to simply send as a little present to someone!
There are different options with the birthday buntings that range from gender specific to options that are available that would work well for anyone.
In addition to the birthday buntings there are also new buntings available for St.Patrick's Day!
There are a couple of different St. Patrick's Day buntings that are available and they are all approximately 4 feet long. 
These sweet buntings feature adorable St. Patrick's Day themed paper along with two of St. Patrick's famous quotes. They are a sweet and perfect addition of decor for this time of the year!
There has also been additions of this beautiful altered journal and a London Altered City journal plus many other items! Thank you so much for your continued support of my shop! As a small thank you please use the coupon code "thanks" to receive 10% off your purchase this weekend! 

Happy Saturday sweet friends!

2/23/16

9/11 Memorial Visit

Back in September before we left on the cruise, my friend and I had the opportunity to spend a few hours in New York City. I was excited to return back to the city that I have a deep love affair with and one of the things that I wanted to do was have a chance to visit the 9/11 Memorial. As a lady who has ties to the city I knew people who had been lost on 9/11 and as a (former) History teacher it has been extremely important to me to support the work of those who are helping to preserve the memory of that fateful day. I became a 9/11 Memorial Supporter for many reasons, but most of all I saw this as a way to help support the mission of the museum to honor the memories of those killed on 9/11 and also to help educate future generations.

I will be honest. It was an extremely emotional visit for me. It had been 14 years since I had been back to that area of New York City. When September 11th happened I was studying abroad in Europe and was on the first international flight back into the United States. In a haze of grief I made my way down to ground zero getting as close as we could on September 16th and cried with all of those who had lost so many loved ones. Returning back to this site- the site of so much loss- was an experience beyond words. I truly was amazed, humbled, and incredibly impressed with all of the details that went into the layout and design of the museum. 

As you arrive at the museum you immediately see the Memorials twin reflecting pools as they are extremely large in size. An interesting fact is that the memorials pools are almost an acre in size and are the largest man made waterfalls to exist in the United States. 
Surrounding the reflecting pools is written every single person who died (including those at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA) not only on 9/11 but also in the 1993 attacks. 
The names are inscribed into bronze panels and as the museum's website states this is "a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American History."
Inside the museum there are several main exhibitions including the historical exhibition, the memorial exhibition, and foundation hall
The historical exhibition is what you walk through first and has three different parts to it. You see the time before 9/11, the day of 9/11 and then after 9/11. This part of the exhibition tells the story of what happened on the entire day, not just the events that took place in NYC, although the artifacts are just from NYC (as the other 9/11 memorials have their own artifacts pertaining to their sites if you visit them). 
The artifacts that the museum has included are varied and give a very good layout of different parts of the WTC before the attack and then in the aftermath of the destruction. One example is the set of concrete stairs that are shown above. These stairs were used by many people to run down to safety before the collapse of the towers.
There were items that left you speechless as you realized the implications of where they had been before (at the very top of the towers) and the conditions that they were in now.
Around each item was pictures of before 9/11, the function that it performed, and typically it shared where the object had been located and found.
Seeing the firetruck and remembering the bravery of all the firemen and rescue personnel who gave their lives to try to help was a sobering reminder of the extreme bravery they showed on that day.
Photography in the memorial exhibition is prohibited out of respect to the families of those who lost loved ones. This picture is taken from the 9/11 Memorial website.
After walking through the historical exhibition you come to the memorial exhibition. This exhibition is absolutely haunting as it commemorates the lives of those who perished in the two attacks on February 1993 and September 11th, 2001. 

As you enter the exhibition you walk along a corridor in which there are nearly 3,000 victims faces (that form what is known as the "wall of faces") and you immediately feel extremely small as you consider the scale of human loss. In this room are touchscreen screens that "allow visitors to discover additional information about each person, including photographs, images of objects, and audio remembrances by family, friends, and coworkers." Inside the exhibition there is an inner chamber that presents the individual victims on a large screen (in alphabetical order) with their loved ones talking about each individual.
The final exhibition is known as foundation hall. The foundation hall is huge. Honestly the massive scale and height is unbeliebable and it hosts the "slurry wall". The "slurry wall" (seen in the picture above) is a surviving wall of the original World Trade Center. 
Also located in the foundation hall is the "last column". This column is 36 feet high and is covered with a variety of different inscriptions, mementos, missing posters, writings, and signatures placed there by the ironworkers, rescue personnel, and others who served to help at ground zero. "Removed during a ceremony to mark the close of the recovery effort at Ground Zero, the coumn, the laid prone, was draped with an American flag and escorted by honor guard. Standing tall once again, the Last column will encourage reflection on the foundations of resilience, hope, and community..."

If you have been around this blog for a little while you may have seen this picture:
on the side of my blog. I hope that after reading about this amazing museum and the way that they are working to preserve the memory of those lost that day, the courageous acts of those who helped, and the memorial of such an important historical event that should never be forgotten you will consider becoming a 9/11 Memorial Supporter also. If you are interested in becoming a member you can find out more information by clicking HERE. If you live in New York City and would like to volunteer you can find out more information about opportunities to do so by clicking HERE. I have not been asked to promote this or am being compensated in anyway for this, I am just extremely passionate as an American citizen for the work that they are doing. 

Have you visited the 9/11 memorial? What was your experience like?

2/22/16

Weeping in the Single Journey

“…for the Lord has heard my weeping.”
-Psalm 6:8-

One of the real aspects of Singleness is the heartbreaking reality of weeping in this journey. Weeping can strike has at all different times due to the searing pain and longing in our hearts. To me weeping is going beyond tears. Weeping is completely soulful in the sense that it comes from the deepest part of our hearts. 

Weeping is defined as: "to express grief, sorrow, or any overpowering emotion by shedding tears".  In my experience there are so many times where weeping has taken place in this journey. Like many women who are single, I long to share my life with someone. I long to "live life together" and serve God with someone in our everyday lives. I long to share the celebrations and holidays with someone but even more so I long to share everyday life with someone. I long to be a mama ... I long to serve the Lord as a married woman. All of these things are natural and important, and because these longing and ache is so deep, there are times where it seems like on this journey that I just can not stop the tears from falling and I weep. 

Singleness for me at many times is such a profoundly heart-wrenching area for me that often times the tears are so close to the surface that they start falling with little warning or little encouragement. I am worn out from sobbing. All night I flood my bed with weeping, drenching it with my tears. (Psalm 6:6) I find such comfort in this verse from the Psalms as it shows me that the psalmist understood my pain (even though our circumstances have been different). 

There are times where I relate so well with the Psalmist when he says, “my tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42:3). There are times where it seems the tears over being single just can’t stop. The grief is that great. “My eyes fail because of tears…” (Lamentations 2:11) Some singles don't struggle in this way, but for me I have found great comfort in the fact that scripture shows us that the Lord understands deep pain and even wept when He was here on earth. He understood tears. “Jesus Wept.” (John 11:35) The smallest verse in the Bible shouts to my hurting heart as I know that the Lord is near to our broken hearts in these times of weeping. He understands our longings and tears. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses…” (Hebrews 4:15) 

But even though times of weeping happen in this journey, we do not cry or grieve like someone who has no hope. Our hope is in the Lord. Our trust is in Him, for every situation and season in life.  And our precious Lord doesn't just understand, He listens and hears our cries. “…for the Lord has heard my weeping.” (Psalm 6:8) He comforts us and hears our prayers and our weeping and answers us. “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he has inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2) 

Dear hurting and brokenhearted single friends, hold onto the hope and truth that the Lord hears our weeping and is near. God is always with us friends... may His tender mercy comfort you in this difficult season of longing. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalm 34:18) 

2/19/16

When Mercy Beckons (Releasing Spring 2017)

I am so excited to share about the release of my upcoming new book, "When Mercy Beckons" (Embracing Hope and Grace When Life Turns Out Differently Than You Imagined) will be released in the spring of 2017!!!


This book, is a book that is from my heart. This book shares different stories from my life (specifically from the past 8 years of my life, starting when my ex-fiance walked out of our relationship shortly before our wedding through the journey of loosing my independence and health when I was diagnosed with Advanced Late Stage Lyme Disease and Cancer) and the way that the Lord has been so merciful despite very difficult circumstances. My hope and prayer of this very personal book is that it will encourage those going through unimaginably difficult times to see that God is still good despite our circumstances and encourage the reader to embrace hope and grace each day. 

It has been a ton of hard work and thousands of hours and it has been the Lord's grace and goodness each step of the way to see this project coming to fruition. Would you pray for me as I finish up the final edits in the coming weeks? My deepest prayer for this project is that people would know of the Lord's bountiful mercy and goodness and that there is hope and grace despite any circumstances they are facing. Specifically I have been praying the words of Isaiah for myself and each person who reads this book:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor... to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."
-Isaiah 61:1-3-

Would you pray this too? Thank you so much sweet friends! I hope that you have a wonderful Friday and weekend!!

P.S. If you would like to keep up with updates specific to this book please follow along at the When Mercy Beckons Instagram page which you can find HERE!

2/15/16

10 things to Pray for Your {future} Husband

picture found here, altered by Caravan Sonnet
 I have mentioned many times here on the blog that I pray for my future husband on a regular basis. I try to spend time each day praying for him. I started this practice years and years ago because even though I don't know who my future husband is or when we will marry I do know that when I am married I will want prayer to be a regular part of my life with my husband and for my husband so I have tried to develop this area of my prayer life as a single gal.

One of the things things I have been asked is exactly what I pray for my future husband so I wanted to share today just a few of the things that I pray for him (in no particular order). If you are married I highly encourage you to pray for your husband and if you are single or engaged, I encourage you to start praying for your future husband starting now!

(One) I pray that if he does not know the Lord that he would surrender his life to the Lord and if he does know the Lord as his personal savior that he would grow in his relationship with the Lord daily.(John 3:16)

(Two) I pray that I would begin to even now prepare to be a good wife for my husband and would treat him with loving actions- in my words and deeds, and that I would give him the respect, love, and graciousness that is due to him everyday.(Proverbs 31:10-31) (If you are looking for specific things I pray for myself as a wife you can check out this post HERE entitled, 10 Things to Pray for Myself as a (Future) Wife.)

(Three) I pray that his self-image and identity would be found in Christ alone and I also pray for the work that he does. (This may seem strange to tie these two together but I have know so many men that struggle with making work their identity.)

(Four) I pray that he would remain pure and would be free from any past decisions. (Isaiah 43:18-19) I also pray that he would be  free from temptation (current and in the future). (Romans 12:9)

(Five) I pray that he would be obedient to the ways of the Lord and that he would follow the Lord in all of his ways. (Psalm 25:4,5)

(Six) I pray that he would be set free from fears that he may have: of his career, future, present, past, etc. I pray that he would find deliverance from his fears in the Lord's love. (I John 4:18)

(Seven) I pray that his heart would be sensitive to the things of the Lord and that his talk would reflect his heart. (Proverbs 4:23 and Psalms 34:12-13)I pray that he would know his purpose clearly and where the Lord is calling him. (Psalm 20:4) 

(Eight) I pray that he would have good health. (3 John 1:2)

(Nine) I pray that the Lord would comfort him and sustain him during any trials that he is dealing with currently. (Psalm 46:1)

(Ten) I pray that the Lord would bless him with amazing godly friends. I pray that he will also have good relationships with everyone that is in his life. 

Are there any specific prayers that you pray for your future spouse about? I would love to hear what things you pray for! Please share with us in the comments!

2/13/16

Florence Altered City Journal and Small Altered Journal Combo

Happy Saturday sweet friends! I hope that you are having a lovely weekend! 
I am so excited to share with y'all today a custom order from a couple of weeks ago! This Florence Altered City Journal and Small Altered Journal were a delight to create!


As I have mentioned before here on the blog, some of my favorite items to create in the shop are the "altered travel journals". There are different options available including, the altered city travel journal, the altered state travel journal,the  altered country travel journal,  the altered 1,000 Places to See Before you Die Altered travel journaland the most recent addition to the shop is the altered city travel journal and small altered travel journal combo!
This custom order was from Nicole who wanted me to create an altered travel journal for her daughter who was going to study abroad in Italy. She also wanted to have her daughter have a journal for where she could do some more in depth writing to remember her once in a life time trip.
As we chatted about her daughter, the idea behind her vision and her hopes for her daughters trip I suggested the idea of the altered city journal plus the small altered journal combo.
The combination of these two books (both being "smaller") seemed like the perfect fit for her daughter that she obviously loves very much.
Nicole was so lovely to work with. She gave me some guidelines, things that she hoped to see in the journal (i.e. some Bible verses) but continued to encourage me to be "creative".
It was a delight to create an altered city journal for one of my dream cities that I hope to visit in the future!
It also brought back so many memories of my own study abroad program in college that I loved so much!
This order was such a blessing and I was THRILLED with the final results!!
I loved the tones of blues and golds and whites with touches of reds that all came together for these journals!
 
 
Thank you so much for the opportunity to create this for you Nicole!
 
If you are interested in a altered journal or a custom order feel free to check out my shop or email me for details!

Happy Saturday friends! I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend!