Monday, September 22, 2014

27. discovered, loved, devoured, lived.

Today my twin brother and I turn 27 (what?!). I tell more people than are probably interested because I'm external processor, that in my head I'm 20 and barely have an idea of how to fend for myself. But in reality I'm three years from 30, have two kids, and am a real, live adult. Yup, even writing that feels STRANGE - I'm still 19 people. Actually I like my life a lot more now than when I was 19.

Anywho, I thought I'd share some fun, some meaningful, and some helpful things that I've learned, eaten (aka devoured), and loved at 26, and what I'm looking forward to about year 27.

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! (insert party hat confetti emoji a million times) to the best twin brother, womb-mate, and friend around. I'm honored to share this day with you Tay Tay!

(The bolded words are links that you can check out, just so you know!)

1. I don't bake and I don't do fussy recipes - and these homemade "Lara Bars" are NOT fussy and you DON'T have to bake. Plus they are amazingly easy, DELICIOUS, and they have no sugar, grain, or processed anything. Might be the best thing I discovered all year.

2. It really goes without saying that the best day of the year was when my sweet Rainier was born. Oh gosh, so many tears of joy, I love this boy so MUCH!

3. Consequently...Spanx er'ryday. I have discovered the joys of Spanx, and how I can wear so much of my closet without feeling quite so...floppy...if you will. Not worried about having the perfect bod, but it's nice to feel confident and well, not floppy.

4. This year was the beginning of Nicholas serenading us. I hope this never stops, and it looks like it won't anytime soon. He LOVES TO SING.

5. Hey remember that time I was suuuuuuuuuper pregnant?

6. I learned this year that just because something is hard doesn't mean it's outside of God's will. Sometimes our obedient "yes" to Jesus means we are going to face things that rip our safety nets off like a band aid, and require more faith and trust (and tears) than we had planned on. And all the while, He cheers us on, lovingly guiding us towards Himself, and saying, "I am WITH YOU."

7. I am so glad that I found the Honest Company this year. I've been so impressed with their products and can't recommend them enough!

8. Soundtrack of my year.

9. 26 was the year I finally got pedal extenders on my car. Life changing, for real. Also, funny.

10. One of my "top five" moments with Nicholas! Baking cookies, complete with us wearing aprons and him eating most of the toppings before they made it onto the cookies.

11. This was definitely the year of the headbands. I have a slight problem. Oh Sweet Joy and Wuthering Iris is where it's at.

12. I've come to realize that the Lord's presence in my life has nothing to do with me noticing Him or "feeling" Him. He is just present. Always.

13. The Lord challenged me to receive the gift of my children. Still a challenge I want to take up daily.

14.  I said I didn't bake...and I semi-lied because I am obsessed with these muffins - but it's becuase they are so easy that even I can't screw them up. Paleo Banana Coconut Muffins.

15. Another reason to love my 26th year is because Nicholas started asking for "Taylor Fwift." All the time, more T Fwift. Yes my son, I will give in to that request.

16. The Lord challenged me to be strong and courageous - and the only way I could do that, is because HE IS WITH ME.

17. Nothing like this giggle. Nothing.

18. The Lord is loosening my grip on rules, and I'm so enjoying the Holy Spirit's freedom.

19. Best mom advice I've taken this year (from Haley) - when your new baby is pretty little, go out and do something that scares you a little - and then you'll see that you CAN do this mom thing! For me, it was going to Target with both boys alone ;) and I learned that I can be a mom of two!

20. God is present in the waiting. There is purpose in the waiting.

21. Our dream of planting a church in Seattle came true!

22. Every mom has areas to grow in. Every mom fails and has to ask for forgiveness in one area or another. Not that I want other women to fail :) but I'm learning to stop thinking that one day I'll arrive at mothering perfection, and lean more into grace.

23. I am so darn grateful to be a part of this ministry. If you are a mom, we want to encourage you!

24. This year the Lord birthed a vision for a project that has me so excited, and I hope that in year 27 I will be able to see it's fruition. In His timing and grace! :)

25. There is truly nothing like the relationship between siblings, and this year it was one of God's greatest gifts of my life to watch Nicholas and Rainier's sweet brother relationship begin.

26. I have the most hard working, faithful, servant of a husband. He is such a gift to me and shows me Jesus all the time. He's the best. And hot.


27 - As I look ahead to this year ahead, I want to take off RUNNING with this truth from John 1:
From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.
My "not enough" is truly okay. Jesus loves me, not some future version of me as my pastor says. I don't have perfect to offer, but I do have broken to offer. I have a much deeper knowledge that I stinking' need Jesus, and also that His love never fails. So I want to live in His love, His grace, and His joy. Not because I'm enough, but because I'm His and He spurs me on.

Monday, September 15, 2014

a hello (meet and greet for #influenceconf)

Woah, I cannot believe that in 10 days Rainier and I are hopping onto several planes and heading to Indianapolis for the Influence Conference! Even though I've been before, I'm still a little nervous. Incredibly excited, but nervous - how will things go with bringing a 5-month-old? We shall see. 

Today the women who are attending the conference are doing a little "meet and greet" to get acquainted before we all meet in person. We're sharing a recent picture of ourselves, what we're most excited about, and what we can't leave home without. Here goes:

1. I'm Mackenzie, and this is me and my hubby Brian. We've got 2 boys - Nicholas who's almost 3, and Rainier who is 5-months, and coming with me to the conference! Brian will be holding down the fort with Nicholas while I'm gone :)

2. I am most excited about connecting with women! I'm going to hug the heck out of the Thrive Moms team gals, I can't wait to spend time with other women in ministry, spend time in the prayer room, and hang out with other mamas in the Mom's Suite! And I also cannot wait to worship and learn together. The refreshment and spurring on that comes with worship and listening to inspiring men and women, can't wait!

3. I can't leave without...all of Rainier's baby gear? (How do you fit stuff for yourself and your baby in a small suitcase? HOW?!?!) I'll be that tiny girl with a baby on her hip and a overflowing diaper bag, probably sweating from lugging all our stuff around but still excited to see everyone! 

Are you going to the conference? Share your little meet and greet at the Influence Conference link-up, whether it's on your blog or Instagram!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

i'm not brave

There's a lot of encouragement going on around the interwebs for women to be brave.
And I think that's amazing! (I actually have Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs on my to-read list, I know it's going to encourage me a ton from what I've heard about it.) I love seeing women being encouraged to pursue what scares them and to obey God's call. That's stinkin' awesome.

The thing that has continue to crop up in my heart when I've read these phrases or thought about bravery, is that I really don't feel brave. I feel the opposite. Most of the time, I'm scared. Like deep, I don't think I can do this, pit-in-my-stomach scared. I am not brave. Even when I hear the word "bravery" I want to run and hide because my future, even the very near future, looms in front of me and I just don't know if I can do it.

When I look at the things God is handing me, I have literally questioned if He knows what He's thinking, and why He would give that to me - doesn't He know I am NOT that person? I mean He's God and all so I'm sure He does. But even still - I think He may have gotten it wrong. I am NOT BRAVE. I am not a go-getter. I, most of the time, am a scared little girl who wants the easy way out and to just watch Netflix all day because the future makes me want to burst into tears. (Sometimes that's exactly what happens.) Why doesn't He choose someone else who jumps at adventure, who loves "new", who rolls with the punches like it's no problem. My second nature is to stick my heels in the ground of "security" and hold on for dear life - not to jump in with both feet.

I say all these things, totally still scared. I have no idea how the things that God is asking of me, right now, today, are going to turn out. I am gulping, taking deep breaths because I can't control the outcome. Yet there is a light in my heart, a stubborn "yes" that knows that there is HOPE because of Jesus, and I can't ignore that He promises to be faithful. I cannot forget the truth even though I'm terrified. I am not brave, but He is so incredibly good.

This fear is in my throat, threatening to totally take over. But in the same breath, I will speak this: Jesus is with me wherever I go. He will not leave me or forsake me. I am His beloved. Nothing can separate me from the love of Jesus, not height, or depth, or anything else in this created world. I am in the palm of His hand, under the shadow of His wings. And He is worth it. And even when I cannot see, He goes before me.

Friday, August 29, 2014

giggling with my kiddos, taking lots of breaths, digging deep with my savior

Well it's probably obvious that life has been a little bit full the last few weeks, considering I haven't blogged since the 13th. It's been a good and crazy busy! Trying to soak in the summer days with my boys, went on a family vacation with my siblings and parents, and now we are moving to a new apartment. We also decided to try a month of no grains, no sugar - which is excruciating when I think about chocolate but is also a great reboot after a very snacky summer, and so I'm spending more time in the kitchen. My blog hasn't been the only thing that's been neglected; Brian's birthday banner (from July 11) is still hanging in our living room and it took me almost TWO WEEKS to put away my laundry. So. Busy and crazy, but full of lots of good things.

I've found myself taking a lot of deep breaths, trying to enjoy the busyness instead of feeling plain overwhelmed. I can't help but enjoy Nicholas' hilarious personality (he's been asking for "Taylor Fwift" lately and making up some awesome dance moves), or swell with joy over Rainier's newly found giggle. Yet in the next moment I'm wondering, how do I do this all and do it well? Not like the "I can have it all" mentality, but more like the reality of - how am I going to brush my teeth and help with the church plant and start packing our home and raise my babies, and sleep ever, and not yell 
at everyone?

I mess up on this pretty much several times a day. I get way too task-oriented and my kids and my stress levels pay for it. I find myself having to take deep, prayerful breaths to continually keep perspective. I'm also asking for help, though my people-pleasing self cringes at the thought of "inconveniencing people" - because I actually CAN'T do it all and I need someone to hold my baby so I can put things in boxes or pee once in awhile. If I can alleviate some of the pressure/busy, I will because my relationships, my family, is worth it. Actually living in the sweet moments with my kids and putting down my laundry so that I can look at Brian's handsome face is worth it.

As my wise friend Rachael says, I'm digging deep. In many areas, I can't just quit (cleaning the house, packing, being a grace-filled mama, etc.). I've just gotta keep going. So I'm asking Jesus for an abundance of His grace. I'm continually on my knees before Him, saying sorry and receiving grace, over and over again. He's showing me His faithfulness in big and little ways.\

And now you know what's going on if I don't blog for another few days :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

a little face lift

As you can tell, my blog is getting a little face lift and might be in process for a few days! So please excuse the bumps and issues that I'm hoping to fix as soon as I can. You know, in between taking care of my kiddos :) Thanks!