8.31.2015

Thoughts on the Waiting Room

Hi, Cassie's blog readers! I am so thrilled to be sharing here today, and in case we're brand spankin' new friends, allow me to introduce myself. I'm Amy {insert brunette waving emoji here}; I blog at Sweet Home Santa Barbara, but can most consistently be found on my social media outlet of choice, Instagram. 

I'm just your average 26 year old California girl whose commonly found with a coffee in hand, engaged in a heart to heart with a girlfriend or driving the 4 and a half hour coastal drive to visit my long-distance boyfriend. 

Oh, and my life was completely, entirely turned inside out and upside down by the radical love of Jesus almost 4 years ago. 

So, there's that. 

Those heart to hearts that I mentioned above are typically about whatever new way God is stretching or speaking to my heart, so let's have a virtual coffee date, shall we? You order your drink-of-choice, and I'll fully take advantage of the fact that I can order a Salted Caramel Mocha way before there are even signs of fall in southern California. 


I don't think we actually do get signs of seasons in SoCal, but that's besides the point. 

Today, I want to talk about waiting. I want to talk about the fact that life can often resemble one giant waiting room, and how sometimes, waiting is just plain rough. 

I wish I could hear your stories. I wish you could tell me about the times that you've found yourself waiting, and how it felt. I wish you could tell me all the things that you learned, because boy could I use that advice! {Comments below, maybe?} 

I've recently discovered how hyper sensitive I can be to the things that I want, but don't yet have. It's as though I somehow convince myself that I will never, ever, ever want anything ever again once I receive that which I'm waiting on. 

I remember as a single woman, watching my dating friends struggle with waiting for engagement. I remember sympathizing, and understanding fully how very real their pain and frustration was, but I naively convinced myself that I would never face such a struggle. 

At that point in my life, the "next thing" on my agenda was a dating relationship. Though I felt fully content in the Lord and trusted in His timing, there would be moments of heart ache and longing for that "next season." I truly believed that once God brought that relationship into my life, my experience of waiting for it would help me to enjoy dating with content bliss. 

And it did!

But not for long. 

I have not once stopped praising God for the gift of the relationship that He brought into my life, but the waiting? It didn't stop like I thought it would. As soon as I had my heart's desire, my heart started desiring additional things. 

Through this experience, I've come to accept that waiting is a part of life. Whether I'm doing the waiting, or I'm walking alongside a dear friend in their waiting, it's simply a familiar aspect of this side of heaven. 

And as such, I want to glorify God in my waiting. I want to experience the peace & joy that flows from the Holy Spirit, instead of wallow in the discontentment & impatience that I've gotten stuck in far too many times. 

I want to praise the God who comforts me in my frustration, who is big enough to handle my emotion, but who also births in me new hope & steadfast faith. 

The truth is, God doesn't owe us anything. He's already given us so much, and everything else flows out of His grace & love for us. His timing might not look like our timing, but that typically works out for us. His plan is always better, yes? 

So as we wait for His plan to unfold, let's remember a few things. Let's remember that it's okay to wrestle a bit. It's okay to grieve expectations that just haven't panned out.

But let's also remember the God that we serve. Let's remember that this life is all about His name getting glory, and He can sure get glory in my waiting. Let's remember all of the beautiful promises that He gives us in Scripture, like:

"The Lord will work out His plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever." Psalm 138:8

 and 

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

In the midst of our waiting, let's remember who is trustworthy. And let's grab some dear friends, and wait together. Because we were given fellowship for a reason, and no one likes to wait alone. 

How bout one more good one, for the road. 

"Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:14

Amy is a mid-twenties Southern California girl living a life transformed by Jesus, and talking about it whenever possible. She blogs at Sweet Home Santa Barbara, but can more consistently be found sharing her heart on Instagram at @sweethomesb, or @teamfitformore. 

8.28.2015

Sage Synopsis v. 1

Now that #morethanaframe is finished, it's time to start something new for Fridays! Sage Synopsis will include some of my favorite happenings from the week. Whether it's a book or podcast I'm loving, something exciting going on in my life, a little bit of inspiration, or a popular post from the past, my goal is to make each synopsis useful to YOU! I'll also be incorporating some Blogger Love, so don't miss out on catching my favorite posts each week!

//T H O U G H T S

I have been fighting a nasty cold for almost two weeks now and I'm SO READY to start feeling better. I finally got a z-pack Wednesday, so here's to hoping.

I'm beyond proud of all the graduate students that fought for our rights at Wednesday's demonstration and walk-out. We have made some great progress, but still have a long way to go. Thanks to all of those who wore red in solidarity.

//P O P U L A R  L A T E L Y

This cold brew post is BLOWING UP on Pinterest. I'm secretly hoping everyone becomes addicted like I am so we can enable each other...

About a year ago I wrote this post on tangibly helping friends during times of need on Kelli's blog. I recently stumbled across it on her popular roll.

//G O O D  R E A D S

I'm so bad about keeping up with current news, so that's why I love theSkimm. It's essentially a Spark Notes version of what's going on in the world lately and it's delivered straight to your inbox each morning!

I just finished Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale and OH MY GOSH SO GOOD! I'm sort of obsessed with WWII, so this was right up my alley.

//A U D I B L E S 

Lately, I haven't been able to get enough of the Undisclosed podcast. If you loved Serial, you'll love this one as well. It covers the same case but from a whole new perspective and reveals some unbelievable things about the crime and trial.

Amber also recommended The Death, Sex, and Money podcast which I'll be checking out ASAP!

//I N S P I R E 


//B L O G G E R  L O V E

You probably know that I'm in love with Twitter, so I especially loved this post from Kerri about growing your Twitter following. I fully endorse all of her tips!

It's no secret that I adore Amber from Mr. Thomas and Me. It might subconsciously be because we're two tattooed blondies, but that's besides the point. I can definitely relate to this most recent post about her tattoo.

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8.26.2015

Scotland on a Budget + Meet Susannah

Scotland on a Budget

I mean, the majority of us are on a budget these days, right? When I visited Scotland has a college student, I was most certainly on a tight budget. Thankfully, I found plenty of free or mostly free activities to keep me busy without feeling like I was compromising the experience of the country! Again, I apologize for the quality of these photos but my 2012 self didn't realize I would want to blog about this in 2015... shame on me.

Princes Street Gardens

1. Princes Street Gardens. Princes Street Garden is right off The Royal Mile in the shadow of the Edinburgh Castle. It's a beautiful location and often full of activity. Be sure to check out the Saturday Farmer's Market that happens each week!


2. Hike Arthur's Seat. The views from Arthur's Seat are the best in Edinburgh. You can see the coastline, the rolling hills, and the castle. This was one of my favorite places to run while I lived in Edinburgh. This hike is not for beginners and proper shoes should be worn.

Ceilidh
image via

3. Attend a Ceilidh. Ceilidhs are a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. The men come dressed in traditional clothing, which is always quite a show! You can often find a free, public ceilidh to attend. If not, ask a local and they'll point you in the right direction.

St. Andrews, Scotland
St. Andrews Beach
4. Have a Beach Day in St. Andrews. St. Andrews is famous for golf and for being the place that Will met Kate. It's a beautiful little small town with gorgeous ruins and lovely beaches that are definitely worth checking out. You can do a large majority of the things in town for free.



5. Hike the Isle of Skye and Faerie Glen. There are a large number of great hiking locations in both of these areas and the majority of the cost is just getting to them! We went on a 3-day tour that took us to both locations and allowed time for hiking at each.



6. Go Castle Gazing. I mean, you have to while in Scotland right? In my opinion, once you've been in one castle, you have pretty much been in them all. However, they're really fun to see from the outside which also happens to be free.

Edinburgh Botnical Garden
Edinburgh Botanical Garden
7. Visit the Edinburgh Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden is a fairly good sized garden located in Edinburgh. It's free to the public and definitely worth checking out more than once.

Loch Ness

8. Hunt for Nessie at Loch Ness. I mean, you could spend years doing this!


9. Walk Around the Bruntsfield Links or Play a Round of Golf. I lived right on the edge of the Bruntsfield Links and it's a great place for a walk or run. There is also a small golf course and it's the fourth oldest course in the world.

The Elephant House10. Visit the Elephant House. This is allededgy the place where J.K. Rowling would come to write the Harry Potter series.

Kilt Rock
11. Visit Kilt Rock. Also on the Isle of Skye, it's really a breathtaking sight. I'm again kicking myself for not having better photos.


12. Pet a Hairy Coo. Kiss one if you're brave enough. But really, if anything do this because it's free. You'll have to head into the Highlands, but if you're in Scotland you should absolutely be doing that anyways!

Have you ever been to Scotland? If you loved this post, please consider pinning for later!

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________________________________________________________________________
 
Hi friends! I'm Susannah and I blog at Simple Moments Stick. I live with my handsome husband, Nate, and our nine month old son, Caleb, in the Pacific Northwest. Nate just graduated from seminary in Portland, OR and THIS WEEKEND we’re moving north because he accepted an associate pastor position!! I’m so excited (and a little terrified) to be a pastor’s wife! Simple Moments Stick is a place where I share all aspects of my life. One day you I might talk about my family (I have ELEVEN brothers and sisters!), another day I’ll brag on my son (Although I do try to keep the bragging to a minimum. I don’t want to be THAT mom), on a third day I might talk about my faith, and another day I might flaunt how awesome my husband is. (Although, he thinks that should be ALL I blog about…) My heart behind my blog is to connect with other women around the country (and world!) to love on and encourage one another.

Cassie's personal favorites from Simple Moments Stick: 

 

8.24.2015

#GRADINSURANCE & GRADUTE STUDENT RIGHTS + GIVEAWAY

MIZZOU Grad Insurance
If you follow me on Twitter you have probably seen all of my retweets about #gradinsurance. I know not everyone has time to play my game and do research behind the hashtag, so I wanted to take some time to break down some of the challenges that have recently come into my life, as well as how you can get involved.

I don't share this often on the blog, but I'm in graduate school getting my Ph.D. Something that helped me to decide graduate school was right for me was the fact that I was offered a full tuition waiver, monthly stipend that was somewhat livable, and health insurance subsidy as part of my contract. This contract is good for at least five years, although the program often takes longer. Without these things, I was unsure whether I would be able to get through graduate school debt-free which was a BIG concern for me and my family.

On Friday, August 14th, a mere 14 hours before our current cycle of insurance expired, we received a campus-wide e-mail from the associate vice chancellor for graduate studies letting us know that we would no longer be receiving our health insurance subsidies in future semesters. Meaning, as of the end of the day on August 14th, we were all uninsured. The Affordable Care Act, and specifically an IRS ruling that made subsidies for independent health plans illegal, which is what the vice chancellor blamed for this decision.

However, this ruling was made in 2013 and is just NOW being implemented. Further, the MU system of campuses was made aware of this THREE WEEKS prior to sending us this e-mail, and other campuses found out THREE DAYS after. To make matters worse, the e-mail that came down from the vice chancellor was only sent out to students and was not previously discussed with department chairs, leaving a large majority of administration and staff in the dark to what challenges were ahead for their students. Not to mention, incoming students who had just arrived on campus, were not made aware that the insurance they were promised would no longer be available for them.

MU, in response to this news, told all students they would receive a ONE TIME stipend to cover the cost of their insurance for fall semester. What they failed to mention, however, was that this stipend was taxable just like any other income, and therefore would not even fully cover a fall semester of coverage. The only reason many of us are able to live on the stipend we get each month (which is under the poverty line) is because we have health insurance subsidies. This additional cost is a heavy burden.

The Monday after this announcement, hundreds of graduate students gathered for an open forum where we were able to learn more about why this happened as well as our long- and short-term options. At the end, we had an open Q&A where we heard from women who were 9 months pregnant and suddenly without insurance, students who were scheduled to go into surgery the next morning, and international students who already have to pay a significant amount in fees every month and face deportation without proof of insurance. All suddenly without insurance. Heartbreaking. Thankfully, they did have a few options, none of which were guaranteed, however.



I feel incredibly disrespected and undervalued by our administration. Without graduate students who teach undergraduates, write grant applications, bring in research money, and get publications, the university would be a in bad place. However, despite this hard work, we are payed below the poverty line and now they want to take our insurance away?! Let me just say that I understand this is a federal ruling. However, many other universities have gotten around this by offering their students faculty insurance, re-classifying their insurance as group instead of individual health plans, or offered stipends that would actually cover the full amount of insurance post-tax. Where was the consideration of these options?

I will say, however, that many of the departments and faculty across MU have been incredibly supportive of us. They have issued statements saying that they fully support us in our walkout that is scheduled for this Wednesday and will impose no sanctions on the students that choose to participate. Since this came out last Friday, the Chancellor has issued numerous statements and a letter of apology, however, the letter that the graduate professional council sent with a list of demands, had been largely ignored.

On Friday, August 21st, we learned that there would be a "delayed implementation" of this new policy, meaning we have insurance at least for a short period of time while the administration tries to figure out alternatives. However, this is only a short-term fix and still fails to address the lack of affordable graduate student housing, lack of affordable on-campus childcare (which was taken away last year unexpectedly without plans to rebuild, causing a number of graduate student families considerable stress), and resources to ease the burden for international students (read all the demands here).


I am incredibly proud of the graduate students for advocating for their rights, and for the support of our faculty. However, this is only a short-term solution and we still have a long way to go.

So friends, in support of graduate student rights, or at least me personally, I ask you to help us. If you're a local, there will be a campus-wide rally from noon to 1pm at the columns, please consider joining. If you're not a local, you can still wear RED along with us on Wednesday to show your support from afar. And whether you're a local or not, please continue to tweet about #gradinsurance and follow @MUgradrights on twitter.

Thanks for being a faithful audience as always. This issue really touches close to home.
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To lighted the mood, today I am teaming up with Firmoo for a giveaway! Firmoo is an online eyeglasses store that sells a wide variety of prescription eye-wear at a competitive price. You can learn more about Firmoo and why I love it HERE. The prize is one free pair of glasses + free shipping from this page.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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8.21.2015

Fit Snack: Love or Leave?

FitSnack Subscription Box Review
I'm sure you understand by now that Fit Snack is a subscription box carefully curated each month to include 6 – 9 different items that are not only delicious but are also designed to provide clean energy to support an active, fitness-focused lifestyle. Each of the items are nutrient dense, consciously made, and diversified energy. Each box is "balanced" in that it attempts to accomplish the Perfect 10.

What is the Perfect 10? The Perfect 10 focuses on products that have/are high protein, complex carbohydrates, low sugar, GMO free, organic, sustainable, gluten free (!!!!), paleo, clean eating and raw. In other words, there's something for everyone! Each box also includes a Fit Snack workout, recipes, and a number of additional resources. I love being able to take my snacks along with me to work or on a workout!

I know you guys have seen these posts before, so I wanted to do something a little different and share the items from this month that I loved and those that I would leave.

FitSnack Subscription Box


Things to Love: 

1. Columbia County Bread & Granola. OH MY GOSH THIS IS AMAZING. This is absolutely one of the best products I have received thus far from FitSnack. It was really tasty in yogurt with some dried cranberries added. The best part is, a little goes a LONG way with this granola since flax seeds are so nutrient dense.

2. Skinny Pop. I debated putting this in the "leave it" section simply because it was just popcorn to me. However, I liked the snacking friendly size it came in and it ended up being a really great work snack. I have a portion control problem when it comes to popcorn, so this helped keep me on track.

3. Justin's Almond Butter. HELLO DUH! I love all things from Justin's. You can't really go wrong. I like to add almond butter to toast or oatmeal with a dash of honey to sweeten it up!

4. Honey Stinger Energy Chews. I use Honey Stinger gels often for long runs and bike rides. I wasn't sure how I would feel about chews because my jaw often tenses up on long workouts. However, I had no problem chewing these and they were super tasty and easy to eat.

5. Trophy Farms Peanuts. I really enjoyed the salt ratio on these (is that weird to say?)!

FitSnack Subscription BoxThings to Leave:

6. Muscle Werks Supplement. To be honest, I didn't try these. I don't believe in supplements marketed for weight loss.

7. Caramel Chocolately Peanut Level Life Bars. I'm really picky about protein bars and these just didn't do it for me. I struggle with anything that has too much peanut butter flavor too, so I didn't love these.

8. Yummari Chocolate Banana. There was something about the texture of these I just couldn't get on board with..

The Verdict
As usual, there were more things in the box that I loved and considering FitSnack's affordable prices, I'll keep subscribing to this service! Boxes start at only $15 per month + S&H! I'm also excited to share that when you use my special link to purchase a box, you will also get a free Fit Snack Gym Jute. Don't miss out!

If you're not ready to subscribe yet, you can still get healthy tips from FitSnack via instagram!

Have you tried FitSnack yet?

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8.19.2015

The Song

Hello faithful readers. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate you lately? I can't believe that you all show up here regularly. I've been trying to really pour out into church lately as I head up our new Hospitality Team, so I have asked a dear friend to be here with you all today. 

Nina is someone I felt like I had an instant connection with in the blogging world. We have shared our joys and sorrows together since "meeting," and she's always a huge encouragement to me. I KNOW you'll love her! Take it away Nina!
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emilyHey, there! I'm Nina and I blog over at Flowers in my Hair. You'll find me writing about everyday adventures and the truth about them, DIY (more on that to come), beauty, travel, writing (because I call myself a writer), photography, recipes (typically recipes from my Italian family), health, books (they are kind of a vice but I show remarkable restraint by posting 1-2 times a month about them), short essays about serious stuff or things I am learning (on Thursdays), organization (by blogging about it, I have to try and organize my chaos), a bit on blogging itself, and probably a lot of other things. I also love elephants.

This year I have taken photography courses and grown comfortable shooting manually. I fell in love with it actually. I took graphic design courses too. I started a business, went freelance. My health was worse than ever this year so I changed the way I treated my body. I finally made the flower crown I've dreamt of for the two years (here's how).

flowercrown4
My family has experienced more than a few funerals this year. We are still trying to work through our grief when it comes to my grandfather. One of our main crew (in my family) continued to get bad health news about her cancer. Someone else's health is suffering. I finally made changes in my life to be more organized and grown up. I started a bullet journal (and I love it). Some family issues were mended, or at the very least improved. 

avaswimfave

And with everything that has gone on, I'm a bit exhausted. Still, some things didn't change. As I do every year: I read, I wrote. Perhaps that is one reason those things comfort me so; they are always there for me to do–two things I love.

summergoals

I prayed and asked Him to help me trust Him. When I think of this year so far, it feels like a piece of music that has been written already, but the notes are revealed to me slowly. I don't know what to expect next and I have to be okay with that.

I am okay with that.

There are many ways to get through the wave. In the last month, I am not sure that I'm really going deep.

wave

But when I consider it, I realize I have only transferred my fear to other things. I can't even fathom my close family member's terminal cancer. I can't think about it. So I find things to think about instead: was the work I did for that client good enough? Did they like it? They probably didn't. I haven't heard from this client in a day. Did they get it? They are probably going to fire me. This is totally normal (not). Or maybe it is. What I do know is, this isn't what I am supposed to do.

This is not coping.

I am not good at coping. I am good at forgetting.

I've lied to myself about the promise of forgetting things. It doesn't work. All those feelings are still there, building up actually, begging to be dealt with. So then, I'm not going to lie, I go to therapy. I tell the therapist: please be tough on me. Do not let me just brush things under the rug. Here is what I need to work through.

I tell God the same things. I find comfort in His word.

habverse

There are things I am waiting on. I pray about them too.

habverse2
 It will surely come...

This year is more than half over. The song is beginning to lead up to the crescendo. I do not know what the next note will be. There are highs and lows–a whole symphony of emotions, failures, accomplishments, choices.

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk]and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! Habakkuk 3:18-19, Amplified Bible

How has your year been? How do you cope with the highs and especially the lows?

 

P.S. Thanks for having me, Cassie! For 25% off all sponsorships on my blog, use the code: SAGE

8.17.2015

5 MORE Books I Have Read This Summer

5 Books I've Read This Summer
Back in July I shared 5 books I had read since the start of summer. Well, since I have been on a reading binge, I thought it was only right to share 5 MORE books I have read since the start of summer and what I thought of each. Here's the scoop:

5 Books I've Read This Summer


1. All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner. THREE out of FIVE stars.
I saw a lot of great reviews about this one on Goodreads so I was really looking forward to reading it. I have read a TON of books about addiction (it's my area of interest), and I thought this one was just average. I enjoyed it, but nothing was special about it. If you're looking for a book with a similar theme, I would suggest something like We All Fall Down by Nic Sheff.

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. THREE out of FIVE stars.
I couldn't get into this. Maybe it was all the hype, but I was expected something totally mind-blowing and it was entertaining at best. The entire time, I couldn't shake the feeling that I had read something similar before. It didn't feel original to me. To be honest, I had a hard time even finishing it.  

3. Second Glance by Jodi Picoult. THREE out of FIVE stars. 
Alright, you guys know I love Jodi but this one was just alright for me. I just couldn't really get invested in the story line. For me, it was more of a content mismatch. I still really enjoyed how it was written, however. 

5 Books I've Read This Summer



4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. FOUR out of FIVE stars.
I have never read a book from Rainbow Rowell, so I'm really glad I found this one. I didn't know a single thing about the book before I picked it up, but the story line was so easy to follow that it wasn't a problem. I thought the book had a really unique story line and I appreciated the writing style. It wasn't my favorite but it has me convinced I need to read more Rowell books. 

5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. FIVE out of FIVE stars. 
Whenever there is a bunch of hype about a book, I always worry about whether it will live up to those expectations. This one did just that. This book kept me guessing the entire time and I loved how Moriarty weaved the different story lines together so flawlessly.  

Have you read any of these? Are we friends on Goodreads? Let's connect!


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8.14.2015

#morethanaframe: WORTH



I don't know about you guys, but I think this was a PERFECT way to end #morethanaframe. WORTH is such an universal thing we struggle with as humans and it has been so cool to see everyone come together and share in that struggle with one another.

A HUGE thank you to everyone who has made #morethanaframe such a success. I hope you continue to use the hashtag to build community and lift each other up.

Here are my favorites from this week:

"The level at which someone or something deserves to be valued" is how the dictionary defines W O R T H. For me, my brain automatically thinks in terms of self-worth. If your single like me, it's easy to get caught up in engagements on Facebook, the next wedding invitation in your mailbox, the ever ridiculous "every kiss begins with Kay" commercials and start to feel worth-less. Some days, I feel like I'm the only one on this planet not getting asked out on dates, much less trying on wedding dresses. But then I think of this truth: You are not defined by your left hand; just because someone has a specific piece of jewelry doesn't mean you are any less valuable. 💍 Unfortunately, the quote above also applies to what happened to me on the interstate Monday night. My ability to drive safely caused me to get flipped off by some blonde 16 year old girl. It's ironic considering her reckless boyfriend almost hit me. But then I thought about that phrase again - her left (middle) finger doesn't define me in the least. Shiny diamonds and road rage these days are fickle; remain true to who you are and when times (or entire weeks) get tough: pray to Jesus. He is the only one who is truly WORTH it. 🙏 #morethanaframe
A photo posted by Cassie Lynn (@alwaysablogsmaid) on

Worth. The easy answer is that my #worth is found in God. But living that way? It's easier said than done. And for most women I talk with, it's a constant thing, going back to His promises: He sings over us, we are beautiful to Him, He calls us beloved. I never realized how shallowly these truths penetrated until I had a little sister. Would I ever want her talking about herself the way I talked about myself? Would I want her thinking about herself the way I thought of myself? I could cry at the thought. So I work harder at not just knowing those truths about my #worth but living them out, letting those roots grow down deep, letting God do his work on me, turning me into the person He wants me to be (and a big sister whose worth is found in Jesus). Joining up for #morethanaframe with @thatsageblog and @mrthomasandme #biglittle #ballet #ballerina #sisters also joining up with #holdersnotfolders #family both prompts happen
A photo posted by Nina B. (@nbwearsflowers) on

A photo posted by Kalyn (@kalynlouise23) on


If I could possibly count your worth, it would be never ending. You were the first man I loved and you have always been my biggest fan. Whether on the sidelines of a soccer game, a voice at the end of a 100 meter sprint, an Eagles serenade as you spun mom around the living room, or our daddy daughter dance that November night I became a wife. You have always been an unrelenting selfless support. These next few months bring uncertainty as well as a new "norm" for our family. I want you to know your tribe of girls is strong, and we are ready to help you fight this battle. I wouldn't be the person I am today without you, and I only hope that I can show you how much you mean to me, and our family! Cancer SUCKS, but we will kick its ASS! Move over little dog, Curt's coming through! Love you forever, your Baby Blue. #cancersucks #lymphomasucks #journeytodayzeroandbeyond #morethanaframe #worth #bonemarrowtransplant #stemcelltransplant
A photo posted by Casey Aslan (@aslanadventure) on


•today was blissful. Instead of worrying about homework and finals {which are finally all over by the way}, or packing, I worried about absolutely nothing. I let the breeze of my favorite beach dry my dripping wet hair. I let the pages of the book I haven't had time to read fill my fingertips. I let what is coming to be in my life, enter in slowly like the changing of the tide. I let the waves crash over my head and thought about what God is, and not what power He has to fulfill my version of His will for my life. He is faithful and glorious. He gives us nothing but hope, joy, love, peace and life. Within the next few days, my life {literally} will be in boxes. Not a new thing for me, but it feels different this time. How desperately I will cling to Him and His promises. To the One who has this thing all under control, forever be glorified.• #belovedlife #bedeeplyrooted #cheflife #culinarystudent #instagood #keepexploring #livesimple #livelovenourish #livethelittlethings #livethesimplethings #lifelivedbeautifully #morethanaframe #movenourishbelieve #theeverydaygirl
A photo posted by Lauren Smith (@bestillandsetfree) on

And in case you missed mine:

I’ve been trying to put together the perfect caption for #morethanaframe’s prompt of WORTH this week. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t completely rocking me. See, I have this fear of being “that girl” on social media and in the blogging world. I don’t want to be perceived as that Christian girl that is naïve about the ways of the world because she believes in this person called Jesus. I don’t want to have a perma-smile or seem unauthentic. I want people to know that I STRUGGLED to find my true worth and that it didn’t come easy, and sometimes it still doesn’t. Before I was a believer, I mocked people like who I am today. I called them ignorant, easily fooled, and fake. At that time, I gained worth from my accomplishments, from busting my butt day in and day out, and from building up my own kingdom. Why did I need Jesus when I had already built these “great” things in my life? Well, let me tell you. I thought I knew my worth. I thought I felt confident and secure, but I didn’t. It’s true that I found my worth in my accomplishments back then, but I also found it in codependent relationships with others, abusive men (more like boys) “wanting” me, and conforming to social pressures just to be “part of the crowd.” I spent time with people that made me feel bad about myself, chased after things that would never satisfy my need to feel like enough, and behaved in ways that make me feel horrible about myself afterwards. But I only realize most of that in hindsight. Now that I KNOW my worth is in Jesus, I can see how unworthy I felt before. How I placed my worth in the hands of the world and what it could do for me. I couldn’t see that before I knew Jesus. So whether you’re a believer or not, if you find yourself searching, all I ask is that today you consider if you really know your worth, or if you’re chasing after it in all the wrong places. I’m not going to sit here and tell you religion is the solution, because I would have laughed in your face back then. But I will tell you that Jesus is the solution. If you do one thing today, consider where you are finding your worth. If you’re still searching, let’s open up a dialogue today with each other.
A photo posted by Cassie (@thatsageblog) on
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8.12.2015

Why I Love Being an Adproval Influencer + GIVEAWAY

Adproval Influencer
You probably already know about my love affair with all things Adproval. You might even remember when I hosted Adproval courses to share that love with all of you! Well, here we are MONTHS later and I'm back to tell you all about why I love being an Adproval Influencer.

But first, let's start with the important points:

WHAT IS ADPROVAL?

Adproval is a company that connects brands and Influencers. Some might group it in with Passionfruit as it allows you to sell ad spaces, but they do so much more. Adproval's goal is to provide online influencers a way to build relationships amongst themselves and with brands. They believe in creating healthy, quality relationships around shared values. 

Something I really appreciate about Adproval's, and specifically their CEO's, vision is that they want Influencers and brands to build real and lasting relationships. That means, they want Influencers being compensated in some way for working with brands they believe in and their audience benefits from knowing about. How cool is that?

SO WHAT IS BEING AN INFLUENCER AND WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?

An Influencer is anyone with an online voice. Whether it's through blogging, instagram, podcasts, or YouTube, an Influencer advocates for their brand to a trusting audience and has influence. 

Being an Adproval Influencer offers all the perks of a self-managed sponsor program without the added responsibility of one. Adproval ensures that your ads start and stop on a schedule, handles payments, and tracks statistics. Sponsorships made easy!

The other awesome thing about being an Influencer is the opportunity to work with brands. You might be thinking.. but I can work with brands on my own, so why go through Adproval? 

First, Adproval makes it easy to connect with brands that you really believe in. Second, Adproval teaches the brands proper etiquette for working with bloggers. They advocate for YOU. How many times have you received an e-mail from a brand saying: "Hi So and So (if they even get your name right), we love your blog and have an opportunity you might be interested in! We would love if you wrote a post around the topic of sunscreen for our summer line. If you do so, we MIGHT share your post on social media!" 

Thanks, but no thanks. I require that brands send me a product to test if they would like it reviewed. This happens every time with Adproval's brands which probably has to do with the fact that they educate their brands about how to work with us. Let me tell you, that goes a LONG way. It's great to feel valued for the hard work I put in.

Adproval







Third, it's easy to build on-going and authentic relationships with brands. Personally, I have worked with brands such as Loxa Beauty, Tinker Coffee, Three Avocados, Olive & Clyde, and FitSnack. I have loved working with every single one of them and continue to have relationships with a number of them.

With Adproval, your voice as an Influencer is valued. Adproval understands the time and love that bloggers put into their craft, and they don't want to sell you short.

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? I WOULD LOVE TO ANSWER THEM! PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW. 

And now for the giveaway you have all been waiting for. Today I'm teaming up with Adproval to give one Influencer FREE ADPROVAL FOR LIFE! Can you even beat that? That means 100% of profit you make from selling ad spaces is ALL YOURS FO' LYFE!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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