Don’t Forget!

This past weekend I traveled to Indianapolis for a conference! Don’t forget to subscribe to my new blog (if you haven’t already) so that you can continue following the big kingdom story that God has written for this plain + small gal! I have a new post on the blog that attempts to share my first thoughts on what I learned this weekend. I’d love to see you over there

Plain + Small

I’ve Moved!!!

My husband and I have been hard at work (ok…just Jason really) putting together a new website for my blog. This little space was just the start of what I hoped to be a growing passion of sharing my heart through the written word. I’ve decided to move to a new site so that I can have my own domain & a little more control with my website.

I’ve also renamed my blog to Plain + Small. I will share more next week on why I made the change, but for now hop on over to sarahamelia.net! There’s some BIG BIG news over there that I don’t want you to miss out on! Make sure to subscribe to the new blog as well, so that you don’t miss out on any post!

Plain + Small

Jesus, our Hope & Anchor

I recently added this app to my phone so that when I wake up in the morning and when I lay my head down to sleep, I can read deep truths from scripture, interpreted by the wise theologian Charles Spurgeon. This morning’s truth was deeply moving for me and I want to share it with you all as you walk into the weekend. Maybe you had a rough week, or are having a difficult season. Maybe you are bracing yourself for a tedious Autumn, filled with unknowns and too many things. Read these words of wisdom this morning and let your heart rest in our Anchor, Jesus.

charles spurgeon

“Jesus was the Lord High Admiral of the sea that night, and his presence preserved the whole convoy. It is well to sail with Jesus, even though it be in a little ship. When we sail in Christ’s company, we may not make sure of fair weather, for great storms may toss the vessel which carries the Lord himself, and we must not expect to find the sea less boisterous around our little boat. If we go with Jesus we must be content to fare as he fares; and when the waves are rough to him, they will be rough to us. It is by tempest and tossing that we shall come to land, as he did before us.
When the storm swept over Galilee’s dark lake all faces gathered blackness, and all hearts dreaded shipwreck. When all creature help was useless, the slumbering Saviour arose, and with a word, transformed the riot of the tempest into the deep quiet of a calm; then were the little vessels at rest as well as that which carried the Lord. Jesus is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too. May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their life-boat, and their harbour. His Church is the Admiral’s flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence. He himself is the great attraction; let us follow ever in his wake, mark his signals, steer by his chart, and never fear while he is within hail. Not one ship in the convoy shall suffer wreck; the great Commodore will steer every barque in safety to the desired haven. By faith we will slip our cable for another day’s cruise, and sail forth with Jesus into a sea of tribulation. Winds and waves will not spare us, but they all obey him; and, therefore, whatever squalls may occur without, faith shall feel a blessed calm within. He is ever in the centre of the weather-beaten company: let us rejoice in him. His vessel has reached the haven, and so shall ours.” – Charles Spurgeon (Mark 4:36)

Ahhh! So much good truth here for us all to meditate on.

Sisters, may our hearts make Jesus our anchor, rudder, lighthouse, life-boat and harbor.

Next week I will be sharing more about my current realization of just how much I need Jesus to direct & protect my little ship. There’s been a lot of life happening in our household that I think I am finally ready to share with you!

The Influence Conference is 2.5 weeks!

At the beginning of this year, I committed myself to being more diligent with this little blog space that I call mine. Over the past 9 months, I’ve seen small steps in learning more about writing, WordPress, and the blogging world in general. One of the biggest highlights that has come from my new adventure of joining up with the Influence Network. If you’ve followed my blog for anytime now, you may have seen me mention the Network.

influence network

What is the Influence Network?

THE INFLUENCE NETWORK is for creatively minded women, who are looking for an uplifting community where they can be encouraged and also resourced to make their online lives mean something. 

I have loved taking the monthly classes on all things from blogging to spiritual growth to personality types. I’ve been so thankful for the relationships that have started to bud from this little Network of women. I’m encouraged every time I hop on to the Influence forum to see other women encouraging each other in their business, family life, and faith.

In almost TWO weeks the Influence Network will be hosting their second conference ever and I am SO EXCITED to attend it! This will be my first blogging conference and my first conference where I won’t know any one else by face…I know many of them by their blogs :) It will also be my first women’s only conference…a lot of firsts for me in the coming weeks!

This is the beautiful hotel that we will be having our conference at!

This is the beautiful hotel that we will be having our conference!

I will be boarding a plane two weeks from tomorrow to spend 4.5 days in Indianapolis with like-minded sisters and very talented bloggers/writers! There are so many things that I am looking forward to, but to keep it short, here are 3 (I just can’t keep it to 2!):

1. My roommates! Lindsy Wallace, Lauren Mills, & Amanda are all super talented bloggers and I’m blessed to be able to room with them over the weekend.

2. Like-Minded Community. I still feel uncomfortable talking about my blog and my passion for writing with my in-real life community because I struggle with feeling inadequate and “not there yet”. I’m looking forward to talking “shop” with people about how to make my online life mean more and be more of an encouragement.

3. Spending time in the Midwest during the Fall season! I LOVE Fall. It’s one of the hardest things about living in the Southwest. I’m so excited to go to a place where some of the leaves will be changing colors and the temps will be cooler.

With our link-up for today, I’m also supposed to share what I’ll be packing in my bag for the conference :) If any of you know me well, you know that I’m a low-fuss girl, so here is what I’ll make sure I have in my bag:

1) My running shoes. I’m looking forward to taking a run in the Autumn weather (see point 3 above) and supposedly my husband and I are going to be training for a sprint triathlon (I have such a hard time spelling that word) so I need to keep up the training! Any of you ladies want to take a run with me?!

2) My photos of my two girls. I’m hoping to show off their beautiful faces every chance I can take! There are a lot of moms who have adopted, are adopting, or love adoption at this conference and I know many of them will love to hear our story.

As you can see, I’m thrilled to be headed to the Influence Conference! I won’t lie, this introvert is nervous about it too. But I won’t let that get the best of me :)

Life Lately: Take Me Deeper

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“I have hopes. I have desires. If I’m honest, sometimes I hope God’s desires line up with my desires for my life, not the other way around.”

~She Reads Truth study on Daniel

 This Sunday at church our pastor shared the hard truth that you can’t have a resurrection without a death. This season of my life has been a cycle of something happening that wasn’t in my plan, I fight the new plan, I retreat into my bubble filled with doubt and fear, God reveals my hard heart, I try to excuse it, and finally I accept this new plan and embrace the goodness of it…REPEAT 1000X

I’m stubborn.

Aren’t we all to some extent? Don’t we all wish that the nice little plans we have designed with a pretty bow on top would actually be the outcome of our lives?

Life lately has been filled with twists and turns that I never saw coming. I often feel like I’m barely holding on to this life of mine as the changes are giving me whiplash. But isn’t it when life is at it’s hardest we find that we are closer to our Heavenly Father? It’s in the question marks of life we sense our need for Jesus and His relentless love.

A popular worship song these days is Oceans by Hilsong. I’ve even blogged about it here. It was a few weeks ago at church we were singing it and I realized that I had been praying that my life would take me here to this place, so that I would trust Him.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.

Let me walk upon the waters where ever you would call me.

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.

And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

 I cried out to my Abba Father to lead me to a place where my trust is without borders and to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. He answered my prayer! He IS bringing me into a deeper relationship with Him. He is revealing to me the places of my heart that still need to be renewed and redeemed. His love is so deep and wide for me that He won’t let me sit in my sin of control & comfort. He wants something greater for me and for YOU!

I am still in the midst of learning this lesson and I fail daily in believing that God’s plan is good, but my prayer is that each day I will lay down my worries and fears of what the next season holds at the foot of the Cross.

I had a sweet phone conversation with a friend last week about what I’m learning and walking through, she graciously reminded me that not only is God in the details of working everything out for His glory, but He also wrote this story of mine before the creation of time. He is not only IN my story, but He IS the story.

Sisters, if you are walking through a season where life doesn’t make sense or things aren’t working out the way you planned, know you aren’t alone. I am right there with you, along with plenty of other women. Also, know that God is in this WITH you. He is for you and He is working everything out so that He receives the most glory and we can point to Jesus and say “Wow, that was hard, but God was so good to me in that. I had no idea that He was going to do THAT with my life!”

I’m not sure how God is working out my season for His good yet, but I do know that He is and I can rest in His plans and cling to His promises as I get a front row seat on all the great things He is doing in my life and in yours. 

I’m linking up with Blair at Wild & Precious for her Life Lately link-up.

 

Hold on to that Tree

lone tree

Hold on to that Tree. It’s a phrase my one of my dear friends and I say, text, email to one another when we are growing weary in our adoption journeys.

A few months ago I read this post on Ann Voskamp’s blog, written by Jennifer Duke Lee (please take the 5-10 minutes to read). Her words stirred a deep truth in me that I needed to remember, one that you need to remember too.

Whether you are in the midst of waiting to bring home your precious child or you’re in the throws of attachment and bonding or maybe you’re only praying about adoption, we all need to remember that clinging to Jesus is the only way we can walk this path that is filled with many joys, but also many heartaches.

“When trouble comes – and trouble will come — when the river through your life swells and rages; or when the creek-bed cracks dry; when the storm marches across the sky, or maybe straight across your heart; you will be scared.

And it might feel cold. You might be tempted to grab for a sorry substitute, begging for the false hope of a rope.

But friend, you are strong. Hang on to the Tree that is even stronger. Hold tight to the tree that has already redeemed you, the tree that bore every ache you could fathom, the tree onto which every sin was nailed.

Hold on to the tree that held your Savior.”

 

So, this Friday as you close down your notifications on your email one more time or as you gear up for another weekend of what could be heart-wrenching work to break down the walls our little ones have built up for protection, remember that we have a Savior that has already bore every pain and He knows our tears.

 

Run to Him and never let go of our Tree. He is gracious and faithful to provide all the strength and patience that we will ever need.

 

Hold on to that Tree, sister.

 

{You’ll find this post over at Mercy Found Ministries as well. It’s a place for families on the adoption journey to find encouragement as they continue to trust God in the process.}

Football + Family Traditions

My husband has been graciously nudging me back to this old blog the past few weeks. He keeps reminding of how much I enjoy writing and that I need to just start writing again. And he’s right, even though my creative juices feel like a thing of the past right now, I know that the desire to write and share my heart with you, my friends, is still here…somewhere…so I just need to write. He even gave me a blog topic to write on this week, just so I didn’t have to try to brainstorm one (he’s super sweet). So here it goes…

Jason moved to Tucson three years ago this coming September! I can’t believe that it’s been three years already. It feels just like last Fall I flew down here to help him move all his stuff into the apartment, but in reality, a lot of life has happened between then and now. A Lot.

That first weekend I came down to visit Jason, he had found cheap tickets to watch the U of A football team play their home opener against The Citadel. Jason knew that I LOVED football and spending a night watching two college teams play with the pigskin would make me feel SO much better about leaving him in this hot desert land for four months without me. So we enjoyed our first ever college football game together and it was wonderful. HOT, but wonderful to experience something that I had loved since I was in my mother’s womb with the love of my life.

First UofA game

Fast forward a year and I had moved down to Tucson after the wedding and it was the start of football season again. I was aching for something familiar, so Jason once again purchased tickets to the U of A’s home opener. We learned that year that you can park & ride much much cheaper, so we got to the parking lot early and grabbed Chic-fi-la for dinner and rode onto campus. And If I remember right, the Wildcats crushed Northern Arizona and it was so stinkin’ hot! (one of the downsides of living in the desert is that football season doesn’t feel like football season till almost November)

Football game with friends!

Football game with friends!

Fast forward again to 2012,  a client of mine gives Jason and I tickets for one of the best seats in the house because he and his wife can’t make it to the home opener. We parked at Reid park, grabbed Chic-fi-la and rode the bus to the stadium. That night is one that we will remember for ages because it was about 110 degrees, with thousands of people surrounding us, and we had forgotten to bring cash for water…so we were hot, dehydrated, and maybe a little grumpy! To top it all off, the Wildcats decide to let NAU get in the game and the game goes into DOUBLE overtime! We got home close to 1am (did I mention that we are diehards, even if we are hot, dehydrated, and grumpy?!).

wildcat football

 

And It was at that game, that we realized that we had created a family tradition for the Wood family! A tradition that we both love and enjoy. Traditions have always been an important part of my growing up, so when I realized that we had created something to pass on to our family, my heart was full.

Tonight we are headed to our 4th home opener! We are looking forward to parking at Reid park, grabbing dinner at Chic-fi-la and taking the bus to the stadium (and hopefully a great win for the Cats!)

With being married 2.5 years ago, this is the longest standing tradition we have as a family! I’m looking forward to the days where we can take our sweet girls to the home opener and share with them our family tradition and love for football!

What long-standing family tradition do you have? Or what tradition are you hoping to cultivate for your family?