A Girl Like Me http://agirlikeme.com Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:00:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Just Keep Walkinghttp://agirlikeme.com/just-keep-walking/ http://agirlikeme.com/just-keep-walking/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 14:00:33 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2623 cumminsfalls

One thing I love about Tennessee are the waterfalls. Tucked away in deep valleys and amongst thick forests are some of the most breathtaking waterfalls I’ve ever seen.They spill out over the mountains that hold them, a sign of their power and wonder. It doesn’t matter how many times I see one, they always take my breath away.

Most of these waterfalls can be found by taking the carefully marked and laid out trail, following the signs, and staying safely on the path. But my favorite, well, it’s a bit more dangerous than that.

You start by hiking down a trail to a riverbank. That trail, though muddy and a bit steep at times, is pretty safe and easy to maneuver through. Once you get to the rivers edge, however, the trail stops. Instincts take over, and much like the steady rush of the rivers waters, everyone begins to move upstream. climbing over rocks, wading back and forth across the stream, we have no idea how far we’ve gone and how far we have yet to go.

As you walk you can see people beginning to quit. They set up their picnic, throw down their blankets and resolve that they have gone far enough- the waterfall not being worth the work. But the brave, the determined rest of us, we keep moving on.

There’s a point on this hike that I always anticipate most. I’m walking along, and then I hear it. Faint at first, but still there. It’s the swish and woosh of the falls, and although I can’t see it, I know I’m close. Somehow, my heart always begins to race, excited over the thought that I’m almost there. That the end, the reward, is just around the corner.

You have to walk another half mile or so before the falls comes into view. Another half mile of more river wading, more slippery rock traversing, more guessing which way is the best way to move forward. It’s agonizing at times, knowing your so close, but having no idea just how close you actually are. You turn a corner, and like magic, there it is. So big a beautiful, loud and strong. Suddenly, you forget all the work it took for you to get there because you are in awe of the beauty and magnitude of the what you are seeing. In an instant, the journey becomes totally worth it.

***

Seasons of wilderness are hard. So often God puts us there with no map and no timeline on what to do. We begin to feel like we are just wandering around, hoping to stumble upon something that is going to tell us where to go and praying that just a few steps away is the freedom and answers we are hoping to find.

A pastor at church this Sunday said something that has been sitting on my heart very heavily the last few days. He said:

We must persist so that we can experience joy.

I know what you’re feeling today. You want to quit. You want to tell God He’s mean and nasty and if He really loved you He’d show you were to go or He’d get you out of this wild place he has you in. Your legs are tired and taking one more step seems like an impossibility. I get it.

But you have to keep walking.

Sisters, persisting when the answers are unclear or the path is uncertain is not a sign of weakness or stupidity- it’s quite courageous. It’s a brave thing to trust and move even when our doubt is strong and our faith is weak. It says we want more. It says we don’t want to settle for good- we want the best. It says we’re a fighter who’s not going down easily.

Sometimes the wild feels endless and those nice flat spots along the way appear to be a great place to stop and stay. But they aren’t. There is so much more that awaits you if you just keep walking.

Maybe you only have the energy to take one little step today. That’s ok. Just keep walking. Keep walking, keep moving, keep pressing and persisting and before long, you’ll see that waterfall and know that the journey, no matter how long or hard was worth every single step.

 

 

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On Doubthttp://agirlikeme.com/on-doubt/ http://agirlikeme.com/on-doubt/#comments Thu, 18 Aug 2016 15:04:23 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2620 sky

Good morning, sweet ladies!

So here’s the thing. Sometimes following devotionals are hard. You forget about the book or the download gets lost on your computer no matter how amazing the content is. But today, I want to refer you to one of the most honest and beautiful devotionals I’ve ever read written by my friend, Gabby Llewellyn.

Gabby and I met on the first tour I ever went on with Tenth Ave, Chris Tomlin, and the band her husband is in, Rend Collective. I was fresh out of college and newly married and she had already done this for a while at that point. She worked on the road gracefully and seeing her every day was reassuring. I’ve read her blog, ‘The Thin Places’ for about a year and I can remember how multiple posts have struck me in specific and helpful ways. God has used her words to remind my heart of the TRUTH and I want you to know about her 7 day devotional too. If you sign up on her website here you can download the Ebook and it will send you the daily devo to your email! Do it. Just trust me. 😉

If you decide to walk the journey of this devo on doubt, let me know by emailing us through our website! I would love to pray for you and hear how it is going!

You ladies are gold. Thanks for letting me be a part of your Wedensday morning!

 

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Destination: Promised Landhttp://agirlikeme.com/destination-promised-land/ http://agirlikeme.com/destination-promised-land/#comments Wed, 10 Aug 2016 12:00:18 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2607 new-mexico-desert

I hate New Mexico.

Sorry if you live there. But if ever there was an appropriate time for me to pull out the good ol “I just can’t even,” this might be it.

A few years ago I was traveling from Texas to Washington. New Mexico was part of that journey, and it felt like the absolute longest part EVER. If you’ve never driven through New Mexico, let me paint a picture for you…

…Nothing…and more nothing. Hours and hours of nothing. Just dry, dead, desolate nothing. You can see for miles and miles! And what do you see? Miles and miles of nothing. Civilization does not seem to exist and the desert does not seem to believe there could ever be a need for bathroom breaks, gas stops, or the most important road trip necessity, FOOD.

It was cool to see that part of the country for the first half hour (maybe). But then it just got old. No scenic view to watch out the window as we drove. Nothing changed for hours. It was hot and uncomfortable. And I just remember thinking we were never going to get there.

What made it worse was my impatience to reach our destination. I had never been to Washington, but I had heard it compared to the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey, beautiful and perfect in every way. I couldn’t wait to get there, to see it, to experience it.

If I could just get out of the damn desert.

Lately, life has felt a lot like that long, uneventful, uncomfortable journey through New Mexico. When people ask “what’s new?” my response is always “nothing.” I see life stretch out before me in a panorama of endless possibilities…but I can’t see squat. I know there must be something more out there, but from my seat on the ride, all I see is more of the same old, same old.

At first, something about the great unknown felt exciting…exhilarating…free. But now…now I’m waaay over it. The ride has been too long and I’m uncomfortable. I’ve been the annoying child in the back seat asking my Father for the hundredth time, “Are we there yet??” I’m ready for the view to change. I want to see my Promised Land.

But here’s the kicker…I have no idea what that is. Like Washington, I’ve heard it’s great. I believe the Lord has called me to something bigger and better and more beautiful than I have ever dreamed. He has promised a much greater passion and purpose for my life, and I know He’s leading me there. But the details are a complete mystery. So sometimes it feels like I’m just wandering aimlessly through the desert, my destination so far off.

But on that trip to the Pacific Northwest, the scenery eventually changed. The view out my window gradually transitioned to something greener and brighter. This “Promised Land” I’d been waiting for didn’t seem so far off anymore, and the desert in my rearview mirror, it turns out, wasn’t so endless after all.

In the wilderness, the journey seems long. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s only a short part of the trip. And if you only knew what waits further down the road, it wouldn’t seem so bad. Sometimes the desert is a necessary part of the journey. We may not like it. But we can be sure that God has promised more. The desert isn’t the destination; it’s just part of the route to get there.

Everyone’s wilderness looks a little different. For me, it looks a lot like New Mexico. But for someone else, it may look like the Amazon jungle, teeming with dangerous predators and easy to get lost in. For others, Mount Everest, complete with treacherous cliffs and long, hard, uphill battles. Or maybe it’s the Dead Sea, the lowest point, where life itself seems impossible. My wilderness may not be your wilderness. But we’re all searching for the same thing, our own Promised Land, a place where hope lives, and passion and purpose are in full bloom.

Once we get there, we may find that we start the cycle all over again, wandering through a whole new wilderness, discovering God’s promises and plans are never ending…there’s even more to see…more to experience. And I think somehow we will appreciate those promises all the more because of our time spent in the wilderness.

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Lead Me To The Deserthttp://agirlikeme.com/lead-me-to-the-desert/ http://agirlikeme.com/lead-me-to-the-desert/#comments Wed, 03 Aug 2016 17:19:52 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2603

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“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.”  -Hosea 2:14

I never thought the desert was pretty. Growing up in Arizona, I’m not sure I knew the color green existed in nature until I was somewhere in middle school. Even now, as an adult, every time I fly into Phoenix for a visit I look out the window and all I see is a landscape that looks like someone took a brown crayon and just scribbled everywhere. It’s hot, rocky, full of cacti (which I have fallen into several times in my life) and did I mention brown?

To me, the desert was a place where things went to die, not come alive…..or so I thought.

> > >

Three years ago my world was shattered. Coming to the realization that I had been sexually abused by an old boyfriend sent my life into a whirlwind. Everything I felt I had known of myself from those past thirteen years felt like a lie. I felt like I was a lie. The world I was living in, so rich with color and joy and life… all of the sudden…. felt bland and desolate.

> > >

“Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.” – Antonio Machado

I had had “desert seasons” before. Moments in life where God felt far and life felt like trudging through hot sandy terrain. But this one was different. Those other wilderness ventures felt like I was just there on a visit. Like God was asking me to just take a quick pit stop, get a little sunburnt and then it was back to the cool comforts of every day life. But this time, this time felt like He wanted me to stay a while, and the thought of that scared the hell out of me.

I didn’t know how to exist in this new place God had put me. How does one live life in a place where they don’t feel alive? How can you move ahead when the road in front of you feels so unfamiliar? I was lost and looking for an oasis, a place to breathe, and all I saw was sand.

For two years I wallowed. I was mad at God for making me be in this place. For sticking me the desert and leaving me to die. Sure, there were moments where I was given a drink of water and the hope of that “better and familiar place” but it quickly passed. As days turned to weeks and then months, I slowly moved from annoyed to pissed. I had no idea who I was, who my friends were, where my life was going and if I was ever going to feel true joy again. My home was now in the desert and my spirit was dying.

> > >

Did you know that cacti are actually the smartest plants around? Because of the climate in which they live, they are the most adaptive to surviving any type of weather. In seasons of rain, they swell and store up moisture holding in as much as they can so, in seasons of great drought, they can draw from that stored well and survive. The spikes, though painful and not always pretty are actually how they pull moisture from the air to get nutrients and fend off those that wish to attack and destroy it. The great plant of the desert is the greatest survivor. And I wanted to be just like it.

So often God asks us to come to the wilderness with Him. To the place where there is no path and the chances of survival seem slim. He brings us here not to punish us or to crush our spirits- He does it to make us come alive. Because in the desert, we have nothing but Him. He is the manna we feast on and the dew we drink. In the desert is where he shows us how strong we really are, and better yet, how strong He really is. It’s the place of no distraction except the quiet, gentle whispers of Him saying, “I love you. You can do this. I’m right here.” The desert is where I fell in love with Jesus and learned to feel alive right where I was at.

Joseph, in Genesis, was given a vision of his life at age seventeen. It took thirteen years of betrayal, slavery, jail, hatred and belittling before that vision came to pass. When that day finally arrived, Joseph didn’t raise his fist in anger at God. He didn’t say, “Screw you, why did you leave me in this place for so long?” No, instead, Joseph said that all these things had to come to pass so that he could fulfill the plan God had for him. He learned, much like myself, that the desert can be the place God uses to lead you to your dreams.

I know the wilderness can feel scary. It can seem like God has chosen to forget you and leave you for dead. But as someone who has lived here a little while longer than you, believe me when I say that is the furthest from the truth. If you let it, if you surrender yourselves to this place and the process, this desert wilderness can be the greatest gift you’ve ever been given. It can become the time you truly come alive.

Don’t be afraid my sister if you feel a bit lost. If you find yourself wandering in this strange new land uncertain of where to go and what to do next. Just take a deep breath and listen as he begins to woo you back to His heart and sets you free. And if you ever get lonely, just remember, I’m right there with you.

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Lou, Smell the Flowershttp://agirlikeme.com/lou-smell-the-flowers/ http://agirlikeme.com/lou-smell-the-flowers/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2016 12:00:31 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2596 flowers

When I opened the door, the refrigerated air and the intense smell of flowers filled up my lungs. I immediately became obsessed with this tiny warehouse. As I stepped out of the bright sunlight and into this cement room full of buckets, I saw Lou. We had just talked on the phone for an hour while he taught me about growing dahlia tubers and how to harvest flowers to make them last. When I went to shake his hand, I could feel the years of making arrangements and working in the soil in his grip. There was passion in his eyes but his wrinkled skin gave it away-the sun had beaten him up. Growing flowers is no joke. He said he would buy any product I could grow as long as it was quality and to call him again with any questions. I was curious about this little warehouse so full of life. I asked an annoying amount of questions and only some were about the wedding I was helping prepare flowers for. On my way out, I took one more deep breath of the rose-lily-peony-lavender-eucalyptus goodness and asked him if he ever got tired of that smell and I’ll never forget his response.

 

“I wish I could still smell these flowers.”

 

Over the years, he had just gotten used to the smell. His senses were completely dulled. Man, to be surrounded by such beauty every single day and not be able to fully enjoy it anymore? Not gonna lie, it broke my heart in a little way.

And it made me think.

How many times do I complain about dumb crap instead of enjoying the blessing that is so plain to see?

How many times do I wish time away just to get to the next thing?

How many times do I drive the country roads to work and not realize the changing of the seasons in the color of the wildflowers?

How many times do I hear “I love you” from my husband and take it for granted?

How many times do I forget to be completely amazed at the ability to talk to God in prayer?

How many times do I panic about the future when I know the reality of heaven?

So many times.

 

I wish I could still smell these flowers.

 

So this changes things. Desiring the perspective of being aware of what’s around me has been changing my life. From decluttering my house to decluttering my schedule (these things are still in the beginning stages), I’ve been ever so slightly able to see more clearly.

These few uncomfortable things may change your life like they’re changing mine:

Eye contact. More than what’s usual or expected. With my husband and with the woman who is at the bus stop I drive by every morning. I want to say “I see you and I care” with my eyes.

Silence. I force myself to turn off the podcasts and not call people to leave ridiculous 4-minute voicemails (sorry, Heather). Sometimes it’s almost painful to turn talk radio off and listen to the hum of the road or the drone of the air conditioner at home. When is the last time you truly sat still and stopped your brain from running 100 miles an hour?

Get out! I have been sitting with my baby chickens (this is a whole other post… I’m obsessed with them) every night in the backyard in the quiet as a practice of slowing down. They wander around pecking the dirt and flying at each other and staring at me with their scruffy adolescent feathers and beady eyes like alien babies. And before I know it, I have sweat dripping off my face and bug bites on my legs. But man, something about the fresh air is like plugging my batteries in for a good charge.

 

I wish I could still smell these flowers, said old man Lou.

 

I want to smell the flowers every day.

 

Fight to smell the flowers.

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Don’t Go Therehttp://agirlikeme.com/dont-go-there/ http://agirlikeme.com/dont-go-there/#comments Wed, 20 Jul 2016 12:00:20 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2591 talk-to-the-hand-1

“I want you to make a collage.”

After a couple months of counseling, I had my first assignment. I was given a big piece of paper and told to draw a circle. Inside the circle I would put pictures that represent things I know to be true of myself. On the outside, things I think other people believe to be true of me.

I thought the assignment was pretty easy. I went home and mindlessly cut words and images from magazines and organized them on the paper. I didn’t think too deeply about what each piece meant as I glued it down. I just described myself the best I could in a visual representation of the me I put on display and allow people to see, and the me I keep carefully hidden.

A week later I brought it back. I unrolled it. We talked about it. She asked questions. I answered. And the past month has mostly looked like that.

This week, however, she asked a question I wasn’t ready to answer.

“Is there anything on here that you want to talk about?”

And that’s where I shut down. I could handle direct questions. “Tell me about the quote inside the circle…What does the smiling girl outside the circle represent?…Why did you put the wedding picture inside the circle instead of outside?” I was ok with that. I’m a pretty open book when people show that they are curious about my life – asking deep, intentional questions because they’re genuinely interested in my struggles, my victories, my day-to-day and the condition of my heart. But I won’t volunteer insight into my life if I’m not absolutely certain it’s wanted or welcomed, if I don’t feel 100% safe.

Of course, there’s no reason I shouldn’t feel safe with my counselor. I trust her and actually love going to my appointments, talking to her for an hour and knowing that she’s listening. But I think that’s where the road block lies for me. “If I tell her about _____, will she be interested and truly care? Or will she just be listening to me because that’s her job?” To willingly invite her to the deepest parts of my heart, without being prompted, feels terrifyingly vulnerable…and I’m not sure I’m ready to go there yet with her.

Or, for that matter, to even go there at all.

You may have noticed by now that pursuing and fighting for vulnerability has become a theme for us at AGLM. It’s something we each have learned to value and truly crave. Personally, it has a lot to do with my choice to seek counseling in the first place. I want to dive in and dig deep. I want to visit every dark, dusty, neglected corner of my heart. I want to face my demons, attack my struggles head on, connect all of the dots and understand the things that have shaped me into who I am.

Or at least in theory, I do. Once I actually start to go there, to that really tender place where my deepest wounds and most personal secrets are kept, it becomes a different story.

And that’s exactly where that question went.

So I pumped the breaks. Hard. Harder than I expected, actually. I tried to find a nonchalant way to change the subject. I smiled too much and laughed nervously, because that’s what I do when talking about something that makes me feel incredibly vulnerable and uncomfortable. I’ve always been that way. It’s my automatic defense against breaking. When something strikes a chord and tears feel imminent (and in that moment, they did), I instantly fight them with a happy face. It’s like I somehow think that if I can outwardly appear to be fine, I can trick my emotions into thinking it’s true.

I will not cry. I will not fall apart.

Because if I do, if I let one tear fall, the whole dam will break. And to crumble in a mess of emotions because something about my life is hard or hurts…that, to me, is the most raw, vulnerable state I can be in, and I am not ready to go there. Not alone, and certainly not in front of someone else.

It seems verbal vulnerability is much easier for me than letting my guard all the way down and getting my feelings involved…to say “I feel hurt/sad/angry/disappointed/etc” is one thing, but to provide evidence of that is too much for me. That’s where my boundary lies. That’s where the resistance kicks in.
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So as I sat there on that couch, knowing she was waiting for a response, I decided the only thing I could do was be honest. Not about the pictures glued on that paper. But about the conflict I was feeling. About the part of me that really wants to go there, to that place, to see what more there is to learn from a simple collage…but also the other part of me – the stronger part – that was suddenly struck by a fear that paralyzed me and said, “This is too much…you think you’re ready, but you’re not…vulnerability is just not safe today.”

And she said, “Ok.” She didn’t push. My walls and defenses fell. And I felt safe again.

But it scares me to know that I have to go back there. That moment revealed that there’s a level of hurt I didn’t fully know existed. I didn’t realize I’ve been ignoring it…avoiding it. But now that I do, it’s just another dark, dusty corner of my heart that I know I need to visit. Maybe not all at once. But a little bit at a time I will start to let myself feel whatever lives there.

Maybe I will cry tears that need to be cried. Maybe I will find forgiveness that has been begging to be found. Maybe I will heal in a way I didn’t know I needed to heal. And maybe – just maybe – I will find a way to feel ready to invite someone to go there with me.

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Little Voicehttp://agirlikeme.com/little-voice/ http://agirlikeme.com/little-voice/#comments Wed, 13 Jul 2016 14:00:22 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2581 voice

 

The moment just before I wake up is my favorite part of every day. In this simple and quiet moment the world feels still, as if I’ve somehow found the key to push pause on my life, and for a second I can breathe. Like really breathe. I’m obsessed with this moment simply because I know that as soon as I allow myself to really wake up, she’ll be right there waiting for me.

Who is she? She’s the voice inside my head.

No, she’s not some literal voice, but she is very real and VERY persuasive. She’s the unwelcome visitor into my world who always has an opinion and is never EVER nice. The worst thing about her though? She never goes away and she never shuts up.

Look how fat you look today, Heather. 

You really think those two things look good together? 

You yelled at the kids AGAIN. Seriously, don’t you have any patience?

I wonder if Jeff is bored with you. 

I wonder if he still thinks you’re pretty

Looking at your phone AGAIN? You’re such a bad mom. 

You haven’t read your bible in like a month. What kind of Christian are you?

No one has texted you to hang out this week, probably because you’re a bad friend. 

Why can’t you look like that girl? 

You know, if you just ate less you’d probably have an easier time getting that body you want. 

Don’t let them see how sad you are, if you do, they won’t be your friend anymore. 

You want to have sex? You’re a girl, you shouldn’t want that. Only guys want that. 

I wonder how much a nose job costs.

I can’t believe you don’t have a job. Seriously, you’re going to make this family broke. 

Here you go again, screwing up the kids. 

Just quit this day and go to bed. Maybe you won’t be such a screw up tomorrow. 

This voice, well she’s a bitch. And the sad thing is, I believe what she says most of the time. I remind myself that no one knows me better than me so if I’m saying these things about myself then they have to be true.  In a world where everywhere I turn someone or something is telling me I need to be more than what I am, it doesn’t help that the one screaming the loudest is my own self. And no matter how hard I try, that little voice, she never leaves me.

For a long time I beat myself up for believing the little voice inside my head. I kept saying that if I read my Bible more or prayed more or thought of myself less then she’d go away and I’d be better. And where those things all helped for sure, they never fully silenced her completely. Truth is, they never will.

CS Lewis once said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

I’m always going to feel like I’m never enough and too much at the same time. I’ll never pray enough or read my Bible enough or go to enough Church services to fill the ache inside me that makes that little voice so loud and so powerful. Because at the end of the day, the only cure is Jesus and to be reunited with him fully.

As depressing and hopeless as this all sounds, it’s granted me a freedom I never knew I could have. I’m broken. Nothing this side of heaven can fix that. There will never be a level of holiness or happiness or positive self talk that will satisfy. When I embrace that, the little voice and the lies she tells, I can welcome in a grace and mercy that renews my spirit and gives me great hope. What hope is that?

The hope that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be broken. 

When I make myself and what I can do the way to silence the voice inside, I unknowingly put myself on the throne instead of God. I’m saying that I can do it myself, and if I try hard enough, I can make me better. But that’s not how it works dear friends.

In embracing and accepting the little voice that lives inside, we are making room for Jesus. We are admitting that life is hard and trying to navigate it feels impossible. Brokenness means grace. Brokenness means mercy. Brokenness means an awareness of just how much I need the love of God and just how grateful I am that he cares for the mess of a person I am. And brokenness…it also gives me a place to see Jesus take the ugly things and craft it into a tapestry of loveliness. Because that little voice, she can only be silenced when we acknowledge that she is just another extension of our our mess and a representation of just how desperately we need Jesus.

This morning, I woke up and the voice came calling. But today, today I’m hopeful. Because when her words gets louder and feel overwhelming, I can whisper a prayer of thanks that I don’t have to face her alone. And just like that, my world starts to feel a little bit quieter.

 

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Our “Hot” Listhttp://agirlikeme.com/our-hot-list/ http://agirlikeme.com/our-hot-list/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2016 15:00:56 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2576 29222ffd5e6cf8b2bec26310088899a2

Summer is here and it is NASTY. Not sure where you guys live, but in Nashville, it’s gross. Humidity and heat…..gah… it feels like your sweat is sweating. But despite the fact that it feels like we are living in hell’s oven, summer somehow gives off this feeling of opportunity. Like if there was ever a time to take that trip or try that new outfit or binge watch that tv show, summer is that time.

In case summer isn;t your jam and you find yourself in a midseason slump, we have provided a list for you of some of our favorite things that helping us beat the heat and make the most of this time. So here’s our current AGLM “Hot” list:

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: YOU GUYS…this book is earth shattering good. If you’ve read any of our posts over the last few months, there is some reference or hint to Brene and her wisdom from this book. All three of us have read it, and it’s totally changed how we love each other, ourselves, and those around us. Total must read for sure.

The Bachelorette: Yes, we know it’s bad tv. Yes we know it’s not uplifting. Yes, we know the guys are ridiculous and that these kind of relationships never work out. But ladies…..WE. CANNOT. STOP. WATCHING. It’s like a car wreck; you know it’s awful but something makes it impossible for you to look away. We have our favorites (Sweet James) and our least favorites (ahem…Robby) and we can not wait to see which one Jo-Jo ends up with.

– Scarves: Listen, scarves are not just for farmers to keep the sun off their necks, they are SUPER in right now and SUPER cute. It’s a great way to accessorize an outift without working too hard. Here is a tutorial on different ways to wear a bandana or scarf and rock it hard this summer/fall.

– Zucchini bread: For people who hate veggies and LOVE sweats, this tasty snack is the perfect combo. Here’s a recipe that declares itself the BEST zucchini bread recipe out there. We dare you to try it.

-Bralettes: For us gals with NO boobs, bralettes can feel a bit tricky. But, find the right one, and they can take your summer wardrobe to a whole new level. A lot of people might think they look trashy, but done right, they can add that nice feminine touch to your ensemble. Here’s an article on different ways to style your bralette. Happy shopping.

– Tinted Moisturizer: In the summer, wearing a ton of makeup feels gross, especially when you are sweating outside. A great way to get coverage without all the fuss is a tinted moisturizer. Perfect for giving you that dewy look but not too heavy that you look like a monster movie when you sweat. Here are two of our faves that we are currently wearing here and here

Switchfoot’s Where The Light Shines Through: Possibly one of their best records yet, Where The Light Shines Through feels like it’s the anthem of AGLM. Although we haven’t heard the whole record yet, (it comes out THIS Friday) every song released so far has spoken to our hearts in a really profound and personal way. Take a listen and let us know your thoughts!

Well there you have it. Let us know in the comments what are some of your go to things right now. Peace and pool hangs! -AGLM Team

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The Truth About Your Dream Jobhttp://agirlikeme.com/the-truth-about-your-dream-job/ http://agirlikeme.com/the-truth-about-your-dream-job/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:00:54 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2569 unnamedIn college, I was assigned to write a business plan for my “dream job”.

Yeah, no pressure.

At that point, if I could finish my homework before 2am and wash my hair a couple times a week, I felt like success.

 

The assignment came with few restrictions besides making the financials work and being realistic. My classmates and I were living on a farm together so the different business plans ranged from growing the ingredients for beer and starting a local brewery to moving to Ecuador to start a dairy farm to help build communities.

 

My plan was simple. Or so I thought. My dream included growing food and flowers to serve an onsite event venue for banquets, weddings, and gatherings of any sort. Sounds cool, huh? Well, starting something like that takes a huge amount of money, so the job search began. I worked on a few farms and loved the atmosphere but was curious about that hospitality factor of having people come to a farm for events.

 

But let’s face it. Job hunting = BORING. Waiting is BORING. I’m SO BAD at waiting. Like, I would rather dig a hole to the center of the earth with an ice cream scooper than wait in my cozy little house for the answer to a question I’m asking God. Should I start my own business? How long should I be on the road? Is that God’s voice or my obnoxious hormones speaking? When should we think about babies? (Mom, I know you’re reading this. Don’t get excited. Seriously.) Oh gosh, can I farm when I’m pregnant?

 

And ah-ha! A few months ago, I started working at Homestead Manor. The front of the property is a Civil-War era home converted into a restaurant and a massive event barn where weddings, meetings, and receptions of all kinds fill the space every weekend. Down the path you’ll find the farm that serves the restaurant with fresh veggies and wild berries. I am a farmer there and between the few of us on the crew, we grow two acres intensely and organically. The property is a dream and the land is stunning.

 

So the place isn’t “mine”, but it’s literally exactly that business plan that I wrote a few years ago.

But surprise surprise, somehow my dream job is not “satisfying”. It’s not enough. I still get frustrated and sometimes I want to quit. Tennessee summer heat is like trying to survive a frying pan. I sweat all day and the other day, one of the guys said he could feel his brain cooking. We don’t get everything done and we are assigned tasks we don’t want. Trust me, it would be great to make more dollars per hour. The kitchen wastes some of the food we grow and sometimes the chefs are overwhelmed.

 

I don’t say this to discourage you from following your dream, but rather the opposite. Girl, if you feel an itch in your heart to go somewhere or do something, put on those old running shoes that have taken you this far already, and go for it. Sprint so hard you feel like you’re going to fly. If a fire strikes in front of you but you feel God still tugging your heart, put your hair in a high pony and pray it doesn’t burst into flames on your way through it.

And when you stop to take a breath and a break and maybe find yourself somewhere closer to where you wanted to be, maybe you’re already there. Expect some hallelujahs and so much imperfection. Expect tears and happy dances and to do lists. Expect to need rest but don’t expect satisfaction in the dream itself. It’s just the glory of God inside of whatever you’re dreaming of and His presence in the little moments that will really last a lifetime.

 

There is this insatiable quest inside each of us – for the more beautiful view, for the deeper love, for the wilder adventures, for the quickened heartbeat. This exists because we were made by God to be with Him. He is infinity in every way. He created these views that take your breath away. He created your heart that races with excitement and nothing on earth here and now really can satisfy the longing until heaven. So girl, chase that dream. And if you don’t have clarity on what it is yet, find the hints of heaven that are already around you. And when you love something, love it with all you’ve got.

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Decisions, Decisionshttp://agirlikeme.com/decisions-decisions/ http://agirlikeme.com/decisions-decisions/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:00:05 +0000 http://agirlikeme.com/?p=2566 Decisions

I hate decision making.

Seriously, ask me where I want to go for dinner and the answer will almost always be “I don’t care.” And once we get wherever we eventually decide on, I need 10 minutes to look at the menu, and I still change my mind a dozen times before I finally order.

Give me the task of choosing a movie to watch, an ice cream flavor, what shoes go best with your outfit or what to name your goldfish and I will agonize over it.

And multiple choice on tests…don’t get me started. Even Buzzfeed quizzes give me anxiety.

…Have I mentioned I HATE making decisions?

I guess it all comes down to this fear that I’m going to make the wrong choice. I’m so afraid that whatever I choose, I’ll end up regretting it later. Yes, even the smallest, most seemingly-insignificant things. Somehow I still get hung up on which one is the “right” choice.

So as you can probably imagine, I reeeally don’t do well with big life decisions.

I think sometimes on the outside it looks easy.

Drop out of college to travel the country with a ministry? Sure! Move over 600 miles away from my family without a clue where I’m going to live or work? Psh, no big deal.

In reality, if anyone got ahold of my journals from around those times, you’d see that the journey leading up to those decisions was one big terrifying, complicated, confusing headache.

I recently had two job offers. At the same time. And I, of course, panicked.

Both were great places that I would be so happy to work for – great environments, great people, just all-around great opportunities! But that was not quite the answer to prayer I was looking for.

I need clear-cut direction. At least I think I do, anyway. I want to see one door open and the other one shut so that I know without a doubt which one I’m supposed to walk through. Better yet, I want big flashing arrows, neon signs, a yellow brick road and an “X” to mark the spot.

Two open doors with perfect little welcome mats doesn’t help my decision making.

I wrestled with it for a while. I prayed so hard about which was the right job, but I felt like God was giving me the silent treatment. I went back and forth all day with the pros and cons of each, but kept coming up with the same answer – I couldn’t go wrong with either option.

But that was just it. I was so focused on which one was right that I couldn’t see that neither one was wrong. God had given me a choice, not to test me and see if I’d choose the right path, but to show me that sometimes there’s more than one right answer…and His will will be done either way, no matter which I choose.

I think maybe the deeper root of my fear is that I’m worried I’ll mess up God’s master plan for my life. Part of me seems to believe that I somehow have the power to ruin everything with just one wrong move.

But the truth is, if we’re loving, following and serving Christ, and if the options before us allow us to live within that calling, I don’t really think there can be a wrong choice. We just have to pick a path. Because no matter what we choose, God is in control.

And if somehow we do make the wrong choices, we serve a God who chooses redemption and who decides daily to craft beauty from our mistakes…and His decisions are never wrong.

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