16 December 2015

Traditions + Tours

Can you believe Christmas is already here? I feel like just last week I was visiting family for Thanksgiving. Even so, this is my absolute favorite time of the year so I was very excited when I got the opportunity to collaborate with Kiki over at In Its Time. When thinking of ideas for what to write about we decided on Traditions + Home Tours because this is such a great way to share all of your holiday ideas in one place and maybe even create some new traditions by reading of others.

Before I got married, I lived at home with my parents while attending college. Christmas was always (and still is!) the best at mom and dad's house. Every year we'd get out all the Christmas decorations on one night and set it all up together, from the Christmas tree to the lights to the little snowman set-up in the kitchen. Oh, and dad would never forget to have the Christmas music blaring. With this link-up I get to share bits and pieces of my decorations with you...as well as a few pictures of our adorable new French Bulldog, Gus (that's the best photo I could get out of him before he came running for me.) And as a quick sidenote, now that I have my own home I'm crazy about candles. My favorite scent I wanted to share with you this Christmas is Salted Caramel from Bath & Body Works. Even though as newlyweds we dont have much, we've made it our own.
One of our traditions every year was to take a trip to Hallmark and pick out one new ornament to add to the tree. I always looked forward to it! Now that I'm married we plan on carrying that tradition over into our Christmases together. It's something so simple but makes for special memories. So on my tree you'll find old memories and new memories.  It feels like home to me and that's what I love about it.
My main goal for this Christmas is to just take it all in. I'm going to do my best to not think on tomorrow because in Proverbs 27:1 it says, "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." My goal is to keep my mind on today and share it with those special to me. Maybe for you it's something as simple as slowing down and looking at those Christmas lights around your city a little bit longer. Or maybe even try something different and learn a new recipe for the holiday. Or even volunteer somewhere this season. Do something new, do something fun, but don't let another year fly by without taking in every moment.

Now it's your turn! I can't wait to read about your traditions and why they mean so much to you! And I'm so excited to see your decorated homes filled with lights and stockings and ornaments. Add your link below so we can share our traditions + tours!

26 October 2015


Gatlinburg, TN, Great Smoky Mountains
Say hello to Mrs. Karleskint! I can finally say life has slowed down & I'm so excited to come back to my blog! From graduating to moving and starting a brand new job to getting married and honeymooning to moving (again) into our new home and getting settled, everything has simply fell into place. The wedding couldn't have been more perfect (see a picture here) and the honeymoon was the perfect getaway to Gatlinburg, TN. I can honestly say I have never seen a more beautiful place as we traveled up through the mountains. God's handiwork was definitely on show. 

Psalm 19:1 ESV
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

I can't wait to start sharing devotions with you all again as I find my way back to a routine spending time in God's Word. Are there any new devotionals out there that you'd like to share below?

26 August 2015

'Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus

It's official: I've graduated, I've moved and I begin my new job as a Graduate Nurse in Renal/Oncology this month! 15 months ago I would have never imagined moments like this becoming my reality. I would have never expected this wonderful change in my life, this new season I've encountered, and I would have never made it alone. Some seasons in our lives require us to search for God, to trust in Him. I think of that old hymn 'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus where the verse reads, "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus / Just to take Him at His Word / Just to rest upon His promise / And to know, 'Thus saith the Lord!'" His promises never fail! Jesus is always ever present.

Remember His promise in Matthew 28:20 ESV
I am with you always.

Even though I'm in a brand new place with brand new faces, He is always constant. As I go through all these new changes, please bear with me and my slow blog. Once the dust settles I will be back up and writing again. Keep me in your prayers!

24 July 2015


art by Danielle Burkleo
Happy weekend, friends! I don't know about you but it's been one loooong week for me. I don't think I can add one more "to-do" into my planner. As I reflect today, I'm amazed by His unrelenting grace. You read so many stories in the Bible about His forgiveness that doesn't pick and choose, grace that never ceases, love that only grows. But why is it so easy to rejoice in other's stories of redemption yet, we doubt in our own?

John 1:16 ESV
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

I have many grace stories. When you look at me, you'll see a reflection of His many works of grace, new and old, because I fail continually. I think about the younger teenage me, giving myself at each convention, service, camp, believing that this time these prayers would hold a breakthrough, and I wonder what Jesus thought? I wonder if it broke Him to watch as I walked away from those moments at the altar having a tiny bit more doubt than faith that the promises He made for me were true? You want to believe that this time will be different. This is where His grace replaces the tiny cracks made by doubt to try and break your foundation. When you've run dry, He gives more. It's where He reminds you that He truly is enough (2 Corinthians 12:9). This is what He constantly reveals to me.

If you're coming to Him for the first time or you've been in this place a hundred times before, He rejoices to take you in. Don't worry about the past that's following you to His throne or all the baggage you're bringing along with you, He knows what you're bringing and He has room for it all.

It's always been and always will be about Him. What does your grace story look like?

29 June 2015


For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who says to you, "Fear not, I am the
one who helps you."
Isaiah 41:13 ESV

Have you ever felt fearful over the what-ifs? Or the endless scenarios that play over and over in your mind? I'll admit, worrying can be one of my major downfalls. I have a lot of things coming up this year and I wish I could have it all planned out. As much as I'd like to say it's easy to just throw all my cares on Jesus, that is the exact place of one my biggest failures. It is limiting.

Yet, His promises have far succeeded the worst scenario my mind has ever thought up. When fear sets in I'm reminded that He is my peace (Micah 5:5). We sing this song at church that says, "I am hope, I am peace, I am joy, I am rest. I am your comfort and relief from your stress. I am strength, I am faith, I am love, I am power. I am your freedom this very hour." Im so thankful He is all of those things to us and more. He always goes before us to show us the way. 

Isaiah 30:21
And your ears shall hear a word behind you , saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

It's so encouraging to know that He'll always be faithful to us, He'll always be guiding us. In the midst of our crazy, His voice can still be heard if we're tuned in. Here is something to think about, What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

++I'm also happy to announce that my sister and blog photographer has taken her
website live, Casie Geuin Photography. She photographs for families and newborns around the St.Louis area. Check her site out by clicking the link above or click the image below.

20 May 2015


It's time for the May link-up with The Circle. I just started participating with Kiki and The Circle in March, sharing with all my readers the inspiration behind my blog name. I found that this is a great way to meet other bloggers and also participate in this great community! 

For the month of May, everyone is teaming up to share their own version of a Spring Moodboard, which is simply an arrangement of images that show a particular style or concept. For me, it's simply everything I've been in love with with this spring which ranges from free printables to scripture downloads to decor for my new home to my treasured Journaling Bible. I think my favorite item that I will be able to personally share with my readers is the She Reads Truth Study -"Open Your Bible" which was a free PDF that is no longer available on their site. It's such a great Bible study for individuals in every season! This board simply shares with you all the things I've been loving lately.

8. 'The Mingling of Souls' Book  9. Keychain  10. SRT Bible Study > e-mail me for a free pdf of this
I hope you, too, will join in on this link-up! Share the image below on your post and be sure to link up here.

14 May 2015


Oh Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Psalm 38:9 ESV

Another semester has come to an end, along with a deep sigh of relief. The light at the end of the tunnel seems so much brighter with three semesters of Nursing school behind me and one more to go before I graduate. It's a breath of fresh air when you take your last exam. It's like my head is finally above the water, until the next semester of course. But still, it's like I can breathe again.

I've wondered, especially after reading this verse in Psalm, why do we sigh? I know it's different for everyone. Just as every other process of the body it's individualized in that specific situation. To me, it's like a reset button, physically and mentally. I sigh and I suddenly feel like, "Okay, I just might make it through this" or I can finally begin to accept the situation I'm in. It's the turning point, whether positive or negative. Throughout this journey of school and planning a wedding, I know there have been countless times that I've sighed.

I sigh in despair & sadness. I sigh in exhaustion. I sigh in awe & happiness. I sigh in relief. 
I sigh in the unknown. I sigh for reasons I don't even know about.

I throw all my wants, desires, cravings at the cross. I demand, I question, I argue, I sigh in the absence of my own patience and He never fails to listen to the small, hushed breath that comes from my lips. Not only does he know our every thought, hears our cry, sees our tears, smiles at our joy, listens to our anger, feels our pain -- he hears our sighs. Not one of them goes unnoticed. What love, that even our quietest sigh is heard from our almighty Savior! Take these few verses below and remember that not even your sighs are hidden from Him. He is always loving you, fighting for you, and pursuing you.

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26 ESV

And my God will supply every need of yours according according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 ESV

Click here for a free download!
Also, don't forget to join in on Kristin Schmucker's Scripture Challenge this month with #lampandlight!
Wild Grapes

01 May 2015


I've had this verse on my mind today after reading it on yesterday's She Reads Truth "Bible in a Year" Plan. I want to share this truth with you and give you the same encouragement it provided for me.

Joshua 21:45 ESV
Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Even though this was in the Old Testament and referenced for the people of Israel, I believe it still holds up today. Not one of His promises will ever fail. Through any discouragement you've felt on this first day of May, hold fast to this thought. Whatever He has promised to you, He will bring to pass.

I pray strength over you as you're reading this; I pray patience for the journey before you; I pray the faith needed to overcome is instilled in you. Because not one of His promises will ever fail, no, not one.

I'm very excited to share with you the start of Kristin Schmucker's May Scripture Challenge. It was such a great way to connect and share scripture last year and this year will be even better. Want to join in? Read more about her challenge here, use the button + code below to share in your posts and make sure to use #lampandlight if you're on social media. I'd love to keep up with your posts so add your link down in the comments and I'll be sure to check them out!  I can't wait to keep up with everyone's scriptures! 

Wild Grapes

26 April 2015


Casie Geuin Photography
There is nothing more refreshing to me then the feeling of having a brand new beginning. That's how I felt when changing things on my blog, making it look a little more "cleaned up" and simple. Don't worry, even though the look may have changed, my content and mission have remained the same.

What does a new beginning consist of? It may be different for every person. It might be moving to a new city, getting a new job, ending an emotional and heart-wrenching relationship, or even experiencing Jesus for the first time. In the old and new testament we get a similar version of new beginnings through Jesus. Both contain the instruction to forget the past and dont look back but keep your eyes ahead to the new things promised to you. 

Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore , if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.

Whatever season you may be in right now, you are never too late or too deep in sin for a new beginning. His forgiveness is relentless. His mercy is constant. His love is unblemished. You can experience this new beginning right now.

What does a new beginning look like for you?

12 March 2015


I am joining the wonderful community of bloggers at The Circle to share the meaning and stories behind our blog names for the March Link-up.
So what's the story behind Refining the Wild Grapes?

It all begins in Isaiah 5:1-6. Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, And planted it with the choicest vine, And built a tower in the midst of it, And also made a winepress therein: And he looked that it should bring forth grapes, And it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, Judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, That I have not done in it? Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to, I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; And break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: It shall not be pruned, nor digged; But there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

 These verses were spoken while I was at a conference for young women called to ministry. Basically, this man had a vineyard that he cared for everyday and he made sure nothing harmed it. He did everything he could've done to keep it perfect but the vineyard still brought forth wild (or bitter) grapes. Instead of giving up and leaving it to die, he destroyed the vineyard to start a new one. He got rid of the wild grapes to start fresh, to make new, to refine.

The greatest compliment to a grape is to be crushed and be made into a new wine. The same goes for us. Our greatest compliment is to allow God to destroy and refine us of all those wild grapes in our lives (anger, immorality, lust, hatred, sadness, envy, lying, the list could go on forever) so we can be made new. That's where I'm at, allowing God to refine me into something better for His glory and His kingdom. It's not an easy process but it's worth it.

That's why I started this blog. To share His love through my own trials, blessings and lessons. What's your story? Comment below or visit The Circle join the link-up!


09 March 2015


Matthew 21:28-30 ESV; [KJV]
What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, "Son, go and work in the vineyard today." And answered, "I will not," but afterward he changed his mind [repented] and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, "I go, sir," but did not go.

Have you ever read this parable and literally placed yourself in either son's shoes? The first son said he wasn't going to go work that day, then repented because he knew he had done wrong, and went to work in the vineyard like his father asked. The second son said he would go, but didnt. Which son have you been? Has God been asking something of you and you say one thing but do another? Or are you the son who repents and follows His father? 
Casie Geuin Photography
What is your reply when God asks you:
Will you go teach a Bible Study? I'll go. But I don't want to teach someone the Truth who may not agree with me so if that's the case I don't think I'll be able to do that. I'm not ready to carry that cross. I'm not ready to put myself out there like that. What will people think of me?

Will you love me? I will. But don't ask me to do anything too hard. Don't make me step out of my comfort zone.

Will you spend time with me today? I will. Just as soon as I finish my morning routine. I might get distracted and run out of time though.

Will you follow me even when it's hard? I'll go. But don't make me give up too much of my time. I already have a lot on my to-do list. I may go astray along the way so please take it easy on me.

Do those responses sound familiar? I ran across this quote the other day from Elisabeth Elliot:
“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person's seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now and depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.” 

Place yourself in this parable. Which son would you be? Which son are you going to be? 

16 February 2015

Waiting for tomorrow

Exodus 8:10 ESV
And he said, "Tomorrow."
-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

How many times have you said to yourself, I'll deal with this tomorrow. Things will definitely be better tomorrow. That's where I found Pharaoh in today's SRT reading. Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh in another attempt to let the people of Israel go. And then the frogs came.

In verse 8, Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, Plead with the Lord to take away the frogs from me and my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord. Moses replied, Be pleased to command me when I am to plead for you and for your servants and for your people, that the frogs be cut off from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile. And he said, Tomorrow.

I realize that sometimes we encounter these "plagues" that allow us to see just how powerful God really is but , I was so consumed with Pharaoh waiting until tomorrow to get rid of the frogs instead of screaming, TAKE THEM AWAY NOW! Maybe he was buying time. Maybe he knew he wasn't going to let them go. I still just couldn't figure out why he would put it off until tomorrow. Then reality pushed it's ugly way into my line of sight. I do the same thing that Pharaoh did. 

I struggle with situations, my "frogs", that plague me. Instead of handing my problems over to Jesus, I take control and just brush them off until tomorrow, hoping for a better day. Yet, my problems may sometimes last for days, weeks, months. They steal my joy. They take over. They plague me. I get lukewarm in the place I'm at instead of getting the victory that He has for me if I would just follow His footsteps.

Don't fall into the same trap that Pharaoh found himself in. Tomorrow is never promised. Why would we want to live being robbed of peace and happiness, living with a bunch of frogs, anyway? I pray that my focus is on the day before me, the day that He has graced me with.

What are your feelings about these verses? Do you find them as consuming as I did?

11 February 2015

Deafening Silence

The past month I've been at a loss for words and for no reason at all. I'd sit at my computer, thinking that I had something to share, trying to type it out in a post, but I would end up with my finger on the backspace key more than I intended. I've never been one to write just to write. I always want my posts to be intentional, a post led by the Lord and not my own hands. There are even days I simply feel inadequate to write and that's where I've been stuck for the past couple weeks. I was bound by this overbearing silence that I just couldn't shake off.

Then I thought, what's wrong with a little silence? Yes, when we're in that moment, it's terribly frightening. That silence is where we are brought to a place beyond our control, a place of humbleness, a place of teaching, a place of waiting. There is such a negativity placed on having to wait in silence, especially having the patience to wait it out. But, what if the direction we've been seeking is brought to us through our own silence, getting our self out of the way? What if the silence is actually a call to being allowed to listen?

Allowed. Allowed to listen to His voice, to dwell on His words, to experience the next step He has waiting for me. If that's the reward for the silence I seem "stuck" in, it doesn't seem so frightening. I have to shift my thinking from a "me and what I want" perspective to an eternal perspective. A perspective set on Him, not on temporary things. Silence involves me getting rid of me and allowing Jesus to take the lead.
We don't always have to be heard. Give Him the opportunity to humble you. Don't see the silence as something discouraging; see it as an open door for change, a new transition, a new level that He will bring you through. He'll never leave you empty-handed.

07 January 2015

You are the God who sees me

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015! Last year brought its bounty of ups and downs but ultimately, it was good to me. God was good to me. I've been contemplating whether or not I should make a "2015 resolutions" list and I've decided on not making one (this is just a personal choice). I've actually enjoyed reading through fellow bloggers' lists because we share in some of the same resolutions like blogging more, digging deeper in the Bible, sharing more time with my soon-to-be husband & family and less time with technology, etc. I just don't want that list to box in what I want my 2015 to look like. Now that doesn't mean I won't be doing them but I want it to be intentional for myself.

For starters, I joined in with the She Reads Truth community and dove into The Bible in a Year plan on their app. They also give a printable guide to follow along with here. It's been so encouraging to read through the Bible and swipe over to see what other women in the community are commenting about. I've already had about a thousand new outlooks on verses I've read so many times before and it's only day 7!

Genesis 16 is what caught my attention today and it was something I needed to dwell on. The story is about Sarai not being able to have children so she gives her handmaid, Hagar, to her husband so she can give him a child. Once Sarai finds out that Hagar conceives, she becomes angry and Hagar flees. That's where the angel finds her. In verse 13, Hagar says: "And she called the name of the Lord that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?" In that moment it was incredible and I realized.. You are the God who sees me. He sees us in brokenness; in doubt; in anger; in sorrow and loneliness; in our sin. We may not realize it & we may be like Hagar in the wilderness, but He sees us.
via giventolove
Take this with you into 2015 and write this down somewhere where you will always see it: 
You are the God who sees me. Genesis 16:13