Caravan Sonnet: January 2017

1/30/17

Rejection in the Single Journey

“As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious...”
-I Peter 2:4-

A couple of years ago, when I first started the blog, I shared how I moved to DC shortly after I was healed from my battle with Endometriosis. It was a temporary move as I had been accepted into a prestigious summer program at American University's Law School. My time there was truly wonderful and I shared a little bit about this experience in a post recently. What I didn't share was that during this time I experienced a heart-breaking rejection.

Since I was visiting from out of state I was staying with some friends from grad school and tagged along with them to their church. One Sunday I rode with my roommate ("K"),  her boyfriend ("M"), and her boyfriends roommate ("G") met us at church. After the service we realized that I should have driven because "K" and "M' had a meeting to attend that would last a couple of hours and I didn't have a way to get home (or so they said *smiles*). "Thankfully" "G" had driven and conveniently offered to drive me home. I agreed and as he drove me home we got talking and just seemed to "click". Pretty soon we decided to get some food and you know how it goes... girl meets boy, they go out a couple of times, girl really likes boy, and then boy admits that he is not over his ex-girlfriend... and girl feels rejected. 

I am sure that I , like many other ladies who are single (and who are married) could write a lot on this subject. We have all had to deal with rejection in one way or another, but as single women we can sometimes feel that we have been rejected from the thing that we desire most: marriage. 

Sometimes a recent, fragile, emotional, or disappointing circumstance (perhaps similar to the one that I shared above) can "encourage" these feelings to be more prevalent. At other times it is simply the struggle of being single and longing to be married and feeling "rejected" from this desire be delayed at this time in life. 

But sweet friends, let us find great encouragement in the truth that while men may reject us, God will never reject us. No matter what rejection we may feel or face with another human being, we are never rejected by God. The Lord promises us in Psalm 94:14; 

"...for the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance."

Hold onto the sweet and beautiful truth that the Lord will never reject or forsake you. We have a High Priest who can empathize and sympathize with us because He experienced everything we have. He understands our weaknesses and will never reject us. What a beautiful comfort there is in knowing that He understands our feelings of rejection. 

"He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief..."
-Isaiah 53:3-

It is a beautiful thing to know that we can rest in this beautiful love of the Lord, a person who was rejected like we could be but who will never reject us. Beyond that friends, there is also a beautiful promise that we are chosen and precious in His eyes as I Peter 2:4 so eloquently states. 

Where have you felt and faced rejection friends? Some of my precious friends have faced rejection from their earliest days with their fathers. Others have experienced it from other men in dating relationships. Others have felt it when a husband has left them or when a fiance' breaks their vows of commitment. Wherever you have faced and experienced rejection friends, release it into the Lord's hands knowing that, Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.”(Psalm 27:10) 

Years after this situation happened, I share in my book, December Caravan, that I experienced rejection again when my ex-fiance walked out of our relationship a few months before we were to be married. A verse that meant so much to me during this time (and has remained one of my favorite verses) is from Isaiah 49:16. This beautiful and profound verse has been a balm for my soul throughout different seasons of rejection. It has remained one of my favorite verses as a single lady to this day. It simply states, "You have engraved me on the palms of your hands". This beautiful truth that the Lord would engrave my name on the palm of His hands holds such hope that the Lord will never ever reject me. How absolutely amazing!!

Happy Monday sweet friends! I pray that you have a wonderful week remembering that no matter the rejection from man, God will never reject us!

1/28/17

New Valentine's Day Items in the Etsy Shop (and a coupon)!

Happy Saturday friends! I hope that you had a wonderful week! 
Today I am so excited to share just a few pictures of a bunch of new Valentine's Day items that are now available in the shop! You can find the Valentine's section HERE!
There are lots of Valentines' Day items that are perfect for yourself and your decor or for giving as a small gift to a loved one this season.
There are also lots of other new journals, buntings and fun goodies that you can find in the shop HERE! AND for one day ONLY please enjoy 10% off your order when you use the coupon code: VALENTINEJOY ! So hurry on over to the shop before the coupon code expires by clicking HERE!
If you haven't already entered my 4-year Blogiversary Giveaway make sure you do so today! Included in the prize is a $10 Giftcard to my Etsy Shop! You can enter HERE and also check out THIS Instagram post for more entries!

Happy Saturday friends! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

1/26/17

Caravan Sonnet turns 4 and a HUGE Blogiversary giveaway!

Happy Thursday friends! It is hard to believe that Saturday marked FOUR years of writing in this little space on the internet! What a blessing each of you have been as you have walked these years with me! I never could have dreamt all that the Lord had in store for me these past years and as I start my fourth year writing on the blog I am truly beyond humbled. 

I shared last year how I have set aside my Sundays as a time for prayer, reflection, and connecting more deeply with those whom the Lord has placed in front of me. Each Sunday I look forward to gathering with the body of Christ and then spending the day truly immersed in the present. Because I spend so much time on the internet due to my health issues, connecting with others, book projects, work projects, etc. these hours are preciously guarded and very special to me. 

But this Sunday I did something a bit different. I decided that in honor of Caravan Sonnet turning 4 I would read back through all of my old posts that I have written and shared in this space that holds so much of my heart. As I started at the beginning and read my very first post  and smiled deeply. The girl that wrote that post had no idea what the next months and years would bring and as I ponder the past I marvel at the Lord's intricate hand weaving a unique story. One that is different than I could have ever imagined. One that has seen a lot of pain and messiness and yet has fought to find a way to have joy in the midst of the difficult. One that never would have suspected that I would become an author, start speaking and sharing my story, travel and see so many beautiful thingsstart an Etsy shop, become the founder of Grace Engaged, and so many other things that are absolutely beautiful. 

I never could have imagined the lovely ways that this space would help me grow as I have processed through so much about myself, life, and God. Thank you so much for your sweet support, love, and prayers through the difficult days and your love and excitement through the milestones and joys of this journey. 

I receive so many different emails asking for "blogging advice". I am so humbled and while I don't think of myself as an expert I have shared in the past some thoughts and tips. If you are looking for blogging advice, please check out the posts below:

 Six Tips to Help Your Blog Make and Impact and a Difference in this World
 Six Ways to Stop the Comparison Game and Love Your Blog
 the 12 Unwritten and Important Etiquette Rules of Blogging
blogging advice: three years later
blogging advice: two years later
blogging advice: 1 year later
blogging advice from the nine month newbie
blogging advice from the six month newbie
 blogging advice from the three month newbie

But beyond the advice I want to share something that is deeply on my heart for this coming year with this blog and my personal life. There is a reason that I knew the word for the year was "rachat". The Lord is doing beautiful redemptive and restorative things in my health and in my life. I look forward to sharing more things and plans and goals for this year, but please know that I look forward to continuing to walk this beautiful journey of faith with each of you. 

I want to say thank you so much to each of you for taking the time to read, comment, and connect. I pray that you leave here encouraged to grow in your relationship with the Lord, that you are inspired to life fully and beautifully, and that you leave here inspired to the time to delight in the beauty of the days that the Lord has given. 

As a small thank you for being apart of this community I wanted to host a special giveaway of items that are dear to my heart for one lucky winner:
(1) ESV Interleaved Journaling Bible (Retails for $139)
(2) 1 Quarter of winner's choice of crate from The Novel Garden (Retails for $49.99-$109.00)
(3) Signed Copy of December Caravan (Retails for $13.99)
(4) "I am Thine" Wissmann Family CD (Retails for $12.00)
(5) $10 Giftcard to December Caravan Etsy Shop
(5) $5 Starbucks Giftcard

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO CALLIE FROM THROUGH CLOUDED GLASS FOR WINNING!!! 

(GIVEAWAY CLOSED) This giveaway will be hosted here on the blog and on my IG page with ONE winner being picked. To receive entries to win enter through Rafflecopter below and head on over to my IG page to find out how you can earn additional entries! (Giveaway starts today and ends on Tuesday, January 31st- 11:59pm EST)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 Thank you again for living life with me this year! 
With lots of love, 

1/25/17

Embrace Grace Ministry- Love in a Box Program

Today I am so excited to share with y'all a little bit about an amazing program from Embrace Grace - their Love in a Box initiative. Love in a Box is a pro-love initiative launched to help save babies and help moms get plugged into local churches for spiritual, emotional, and physical support through an Embrace Grace group. 
Boxes are distributed to pregnancy centers nation-wide and are given to young, single women who test positive to pregnancy tests. The box is full of gifts that will inspire hope and impart love to a mom that may be scared or fearful of her future.
Each of the boxes consist of a fearless journal and pen, a Bump in Life book, a baby onesie, testimonial letters of girls that chose adoption and chose to parent, an invitation to join an Embrace Grace group and a Brave Girl Letter (that can even be written by YOU!)
Y'all- I love this. Each of us has the opportunity to speak into the life of a mom that could possibly contemplating a life and death decision. We have the amazing opportunity to speak into her life, to encourage, uplift, and inspire her to choose life and to get plugged into an Embrace Grace support group at a local church.
These moms are brave. Seriously, each of them are beyond courageous. Embrace Grace wants to come alongside them and help them choose life and get plugged into a support system that will love them and model the love that Jesus gives.
And guess what? Embrace Grace is giving away one of these beautiful necklaces and journals. Y'all I love mine. No matter what stage of life you are in- I think that we can all agree that we want to be "pro-love" in our society. There is enough hate and anger. I want to be "pro-love". Want to enter? Click HERE to enter the giveaway! 
Want to get more involved with this beautiful ministry? Here are three important ways you can connect:
1. Partner with the national organization through prayer and support at www.EmbraceGrace.com.
2. Start an Embrace Grace at their local church so young women with unplanned pregnancies have a support group.
3. Download and print our brave girl letter (http://egrace.co/brave) and mail to the below for us to place inside a Love in a Box: 

Embrace Grace, Inc.
Attn: Love in a Box
700 W. Bedford Euless Rd., Ste. G
Hurst, TX 76053

Isn't this a beautiful ministry? I am so excited to share it with y'all! Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

I received these product from Embrace Grace in exchange for reviewing this item. This post is part of the FrontGate Blogger Network. Images are property of Embrace Grace Ministry. All opinions are my own.

What's Up Wednesday (January Edition)

Happy Wednesday friends! I am excited to link up with MelShaeffer, and Shay for the "What's Up Wednesday" Link up! I have so enjoyed reading these ladies posts and am excited to join in! It has been so fun to connect with so many other ladies who are doing this each month over last year and I am looking forward to connecting more in 2017. Here are all of my "What's up Wednesday" posts from 2016: 


 If you would like to join in and have a blog, just answer the questions above!

What We're Eating this Week... 
So everyday I work to get approximately 8 cups of greens into me. To me this is just as much a part of my healing process as all of the medicine and supplements that I take. I eat a non-gluten and dairy lifestyle and am also low-sugar (my sugar comes from my fruit smoothie every morning). But this winter I am kicking it up even more and working to get 10 cups of greens into me. I don't currently juice for a variety of personal physical reasons and have read about all of the health benefits of actually chewing the greens so this is what I am currently eating. Honestly I am so sick with this treatment plan it is a bit rough but I know the healing properties will help so I am pushing through. What is your favorite green to eat? I am currently munching on Spinach as I type this. *smiles*

Interested to find out the benefits of Kale or Basil? You can find a post I wrote about the benefits of Kale HERE, and find another post on the benefits of Basil HERE

What I'm Reminiscing About... 
The Hearties Family reunion that my mom and I attended in December. It was really a very sweet time and I have been sharing about the Hearties Reunion (which you can read about HERE) and yesterday I shared about the opportunity to meet the cast of When Calls the Heart (which you can read about HERE)

What I'm Loving... 
Stay tuned TOMORROW to find out what I am loving and how YOU can win it! *hahaha* how cryptic and yet exciting is that?


What I've Been Up To...
Working on lots of orders for my Etsy shop and re-stocking the shop with tons of new journals, buntings, and Valentine's Day goodies. 
One of my goals for the month of January had been to re-stock the shop with 100 new items and I was so excited to reach that goal yesterday BUT I am still adding things because I have such sweet new things to add. 
So head on over to the shop to see all of the new additions! (You can find the shop by clicking HERE!)

What I'm Dreading... 
I shared with my Instagram community that on Monday I had a complete breakdown crying session. This new treatment session is hard. I am holding fast to the promise of Psalm 126:5, yet there are tears. Yet, I am fully believing that the Lord is redeeming and restoring. Here is what I shared:

This new week has dawned and today arrived much more quickly than I had hoped. Last Thursday, after talking with my main medical team and seeing some bloodwork results, the decision was made to dig deeper into a more intensive treatment regime. With kind and gracious words (and even a joke about a new cute doctor intended to make me laugh *smiles*), my amazing doctor encouraged me to have courage. 
So this morning I wrapped this scarf that has deep personal significance to me and broke down and wept at the start of this new week and treatment. My health this past weekend crashed some ...most likely a herx in relation to some new treatment, combined with stress over the last couple of weeks, and an infection that is continuing to hold on. So this morning I cried. Cried for the strength to have courage. Cried for a new phase that may be filled with sickness and a few fears. Cried because this is a phase that the Lord will meet me in. He is not put off by our tears, but instead lovingly carries us in grace. He supplies our courage when we have no strength. He is redeeming and restoring even when the road twists and turns. "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 125:6)


What I'm Working on... 
An EXCITING new project that I can not wait to share with y'all more about in the next few days!!! Stay tuned y'all!! Seriously... I am BEYOND excited!

What I'm Excited About... 
What I shared above with The Novel Garden! I can't wait to share more!!

What I'm Watching/Reading... 
I am wanting to try Victoria from PBS. Has anyone else tried this yet?? I loved the movie The Young Victoria and I love this entire time period of History so I am hoping that this will be really good?! Any thoughts?

What I'm Listening to... 
So my dear friends, the Wissmann Family, released a new project back in the fall that is absolutely beautiful. I seriously have this playing for most of the day. It is absolutely gorgeous. My favorite song from the project is probably #11- Glacier, but the whole thing is so good. If you want to listen to a preview of the songs you can do so HERE. (They are also currently having a sale on their site that if you use the coupon 15OFF you can receive 15% off your entire order!

What I'm Wearing... 
Lots and lots of scarves. I love scarves and in the frigid weather that we have been having they are the perfect thing to wear and they are so cute! This one has a lot of personal significance to me, but I love all scarves, especially cozy and big ones to wrap up in! *smiles*

What Else is New..
SO last week I shared that this project was not going to print due to some private reasons. BUT I am really excited to share that it will be going to this blog! So starting February 1st, every Wednesday I will be posting one of the 45-devotional pieces!! YEA!! If you are interested in following along more for updates and the fan page you can connect with the IG community HERE!

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month... 
Again, not to be all cryptic but I can't wait to share more with y'all tomorrow SO stay tuned because I am sharing some BIG announcements!

I would love to know your answers to these questions friends! Share your thoughts below in the comments!!

 Happy Wednesday!

1/24/17

Hearties Family Reunion: Meeting the Cast and Crew

As I shared a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I had the special opportunity to attend the Hearties Family Reunion that took place in early December in Vancouver. If you missed it you can read more about the Hearties Family Reunion HERE. Today I am so excited to share with y'all about what took place on Saturday - as we were able to hear from the producers and Hallmark executives and the crew of When Calls the Heart and meet the cast! 
Each person that we interacted with from the cast and crew were absolutely delightful. I was absolutely impressed with the way that they were incredibly kind to each of us and made us feel like the stars of the day. Each of the stars took the time to chat with us individually and it was an absolutely wonderful day filled with lots of precious memories.
The day started out with us having the opportunity to hear from the crew and some of the When Calls the Heart producers and Janette Oke about the work that they do on set. It was so fun and amazing to hear about all of the different components that go into making this very special show.
Brian Bird asked the panel different questions and each answer helped us understand and see different parts of the show.
After this panel we had a short break before the first set of actors came out. The room held such excitement as we anxiously awaited their arrival!
When the cast came out it was precious to see how excited and surprised they were at how many of us were there! It seemed like they were a bit overwhelmed and so excited and it was neat to be able to show them how much we appreciate all of their hard work!
Erin Krakow was absolutely adorable! Her excitement for life clearly showed throughout the day!
Daniel Lissing is even more cuter in person ladies. *smiles*
Phones and cameras were out everywhere that day! I started joking around that we were the "Hearties Paparazzi". *hahaha*
Two of my favorite people from the show, Pascale Hutton and Kavan Smith were so fun. They were laughing and having a great time!
Lori Loughlin is even more stunning in person if that is possible. She was so precious and so wonderful to chat with.
Hearing fun stories about how they were cast and the fun times on set!
While we were at the Hearties Family Reunion we had the opportunity to see a little bit of the Christmas movie that aired on Christmas Day. (If you haven't seen it, it is adorable and you can purchase it off Amazon HERE.) Pascale shared about her fun entrance that she got to make when she arrives home from her honeymoon. 
I have adored Pascale's character since the first day and have loved her incredibly fun and outlandish antics. To see these two interact and Pascale talk made me appreciate her character even more. Seriously she is absolutely so fun!
Paul Greene is new to When Calls the Heart this year and we will be introduced to his character in Season 4. He was so incredibly nice and so sweet to talk with and let's be real. Absolutely gorgeous. *smiles*
After the morning panel and Q & A session we were divided into groups and we had the opportunity to meet this part of the cast and take pictures with them. Disclaimer: The pictures which I am in in this post with cast members are not my photos but are photos taken from the day from various photographers. One of the main photographers for the day was Ardra Morse. 
After we took our pictures we ate lunch and then we had a second panel with more of the cast from When Calls the Heart.
Gracyn Shinyei, who plays Emily (along with every other child star from When Calls the Heart) was so well-spoken and so sweet. She was absolutely delightful to meet!
One of the funniest things of the afternoon was sharing about the "Pastor Frank Doll" that had been in one of the prize baskets. 
It was a huge hit with not only the attendees but the cast! *smiles*
It was delightful to hear all of the cast share about their experiences and answer questions about their characters! Here are two the of the precious ladies sharing about their hopes of finding love in Hope Valley! We are all rooting for the single ladies of Hope Valley to find love! 
After this panel we again were split up into groups and had the opportunity to meet the second group of actors and actresses. Again a Disclaimer: The pictures which I am in in this post with cast members are not my photos but are photos taken from the day from various photographers. One of the main photographers for the day was Ardra Morse. 
It was such a beautiful day of meeting the cast and crew and such a delightful opportunity to interact with such beautiful humans. Again, a huge thank you to everyone who made this Hearties Family Reunion possible and to each of the cast and crew for taking your time to come. (One of the cast had even became a brand new father the night before and was still there!) I can't wait to share with y'all next week about the visit to Hope Valley (the set of When Calls the Heart)!

Happy Tuesday friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful week!