September 30, 2012

things you should know.

I had thought about writing a post like this before. And then decided against it.
But after some thought I feel like my new friends that I'm going to be meeting at the upcoming Influence Conference deserve some warning. Y'all I'm a mess. Really. Consider this my public service announcement.

I'm Sarah, nicetomeetyou. If we were sitting on the sofa drinking coffee I'd probably hug you right about now. That brings me to my first bullet point:
  • I'm a hugger. I hug. A lot. For those of you who have personal space issues- I'm sorry. If you're a fellow hugger- please seek me out and we will hug. 
  • I'm southern. And it goes to the core. I'm loud, I say "y'all" a lot, and I call everyone sweetie, darlin', honey, or love. I'm also a very expressive person, and I talk with my hands.
  • Like any good southern woman, I have big hair. I tease, and hairspray, and then tease it a little more.

  •  I died laughing when Jessi talked about "the way we really look" during the simulcast. So let's get real here. I'm short. Like 5'2". And I'm hip-y. (see photo evidence above) Sister's got back. I wear high heels almost daily. They make me taller, and seem to balance the "proportions" a little bit better.
  • I like to eat, and get cranky if I stay hungry too long. If I'm crabby- just shove a dough nut in my mouth and tell me to get over it. I'll be fine.
  • I love, hard. I'm not one of those people who makes "surface" friendships. I just can't. I love, fiercely. And I'm loyal to a fault. Like a saint bernard- but worse. Not bad qualities to have in my book. 

  • I feel my emotions whole-heartedly, and it shows. I'm not a person who can hide their emotions. Not even a little bit. Fair warning: I will cry through the vast majority of the worship service. I won't even pretend to be able to control it. I've already bought my tissues.
  • This will be my first time to leave Olivia for any real length of time. I'm going to be a hot mess. Just keeping it real. I'm getting a little panic-y just thinking about it. 
  • I'm a nerd. I have an odd obsession with office supplies. Pens, highlighters & planners are my love language. 
  • I'm actually very shy. If you see me standing around, please feel free to come and chat. Odds are- I'd give anything to have the courage to just walk up and start a conversation. I just can't initiate it. But once we get past "Hey!" I'll be fine, and we'll be friends. 
I'm so looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. I just wish there was time for me to sit down and have a cup of coffee with all 200+ of you. See you in 11 days!!!!

September 23, 2012

my journey to influence.

So, I'm going to the Influence Conference in Indianapolis. I could not be more excited, or feel more blessed. This has been something the Lord put on my heart in the spring, but never really looked like a possibility- until Thursday. That's when the Lord moved, and moved fast. 

Spring 2012: I was reading Casey's blog and first read about the conference. I was immediately interested and wished I could go. I prayed about it a few times and told myself & the Lord that if I was supposed to be there, I'd be there. All the while having absolutely no idea how it would all happen, given the cost involved.
April 28, 2012: Attended a in(RL) meet up hosted by Angie, Jessica and Annie. It was a huge step out of my comfort zone, so I dragged my best friend Maria along. We both left happy. I left with a feeling that maybe, just maybe I could do this whole 'community' thing after all.
May 2012: I created a twitter account, and though it felt very creeper-ish at first- I began to seek community. Also in May I started the Soul Detox bible study and followed along with the She Reads Truth community.
Summer 2012: Life caught up with us, Olivia kept having the fevers, my best friend was going through a really tough time. Life was busy. But I still felt that push, the gentle nudge to continue to be intentional in my online friendships. I was blessed to be able participate in the She Reads Truth community in a more involved manner, and began maintaining the instagram feed. Olivia was diagnosed, she started school, and dance. Life was busy still. Yet, these connections kept popping up. I continued to pray that if the Lord wanted me to attend this conference that He would show me a way.
Early September 2012: Two girls that I had "met" had been very faithful in checking in with me about the conference. We all felt like I was supposed to be there. They had been holding the 4th spot in their room for me, so sweetly. Eventually, we had to face the reality that the money simply was not there. I had attempted to raise the money for the costs several times. And even almost had my ticket paid for once, but something always came up. at one point I said I would "need a miracle." I told the girls to let someone else take my spot that "2012 was just not the year, but that I'd be there in 2013!" To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

That brings us to last Wednesday night. On my way home from work I couldn't stop thinking about the conference and this community. I cried as I drove. And as I walked into the garage, I prayed to the Lord- "Father, I don't know why my heart wont let this go. I feel like I'm supposed to be there. Lord, if it is your will for me to go- you're going to have to make it happen. I can't. If this isn't the year, please just take the desire from my heart." And that was it. I went upstairs, put Olivia to bed and then went to sleep myself. He started moving, and He moved big!

9:38am- I was sitting in the drop off line at Olivia's school. Something made me pick up my phone and look at twitter. I saw Jessi's tweet about some scholarships that were available. I had instant hope. Maybe this would happen after all. I sat in the parking lot, hands shaking as I typed "Oh Jessi, this is truly an answer to prayer! I've been dying to come to influence but there's simply no way we can afford it."
Again I prayed that the Lord would show me if this was truly what He wanted for me.
10:04am- DM'd Ashley on twitter to tell her I was coming. Joined the Influence facebook page. Posted that I was looking for room-mates. I tried very hard not to let the logistics and cost of hotel/travel get me down. Still praying.
Noon- Started posting Olivia's old clothes and toys on a local classifieds page. Things start selling.
1:13pm- Ashley texts me saying that she and Brittany would like for me to be their 5th roomie. The cost of my hotel stay was cut to a fraction of the original price.
2:25pm- I'd sold $45 of Olivia's old things. In 2 hours my ticket was almost halfway paid for. Truly a miracle. I talked to my mom about borrowing her van so that I could drive to Indy, as airfare was looking like it might cost about $500.00. She said it was obvious that the Lord wanted me at this conference and that we'd figure it out.
3:00pm- I left for work and literally cried the whole way there. I was completely overwhelmed by God's grace and goodness.
9:30pm- Got home from work, still trying to figure out the money aspect. But certain that the Lord had made His intent clear. Checked facebook, $40.00 more had sold. All but $15 of my ticket= paid. Went to bed praising Him!
8:15am- Woke up to a tweet from Lena, inviting me to carpool with her and 2 other lovelies from Nashville. Instant tears. Rebecca responds that she lives in Murray (30 min. away), and that I can ride with her to meet the others in Nashville. Uncontrollable sobs. Y'all He is good, so so very good.
around 9:00am- Checked facebook. Ticket, travel and hotel are all paid for.

In 24 hours. Less than that really. I was speechless, smiling uncontrollably- but speechless.

I had sold a pair of pajama's and 2 shirts to a girl for $4, we'll call her Jane. I arranged to deliver various items to people throughout the day Friday. I delivered her items, and thanked her for her part in getting me to this conference. After a long day of deliveries, Olivia and I went home to get ready for dance. A quick phone call to Ashley about all this awesomeness. Still in complete shock. One more check of facebook. Jane had requested 2 more items. Again, her total was $4. We arranged a time that worked for both of us to make the transaction. Then Olivia and I left for dance. We got home around 7:30 and I did another quick check of facebook. Jane had sent me a private message saying that she had miscounted her money and that she didn't have to money to buy the items because she still had to buy diapers for her daughter. My heart broke for her. She said she really wanted those pj's; I told her that I would be happy to hold the items for her until she could get them. Instantly the Lord spoke to me. He told me I should give her the items. I went to sleep that night thinking of her. And remembering times when we struggled and were blessed beyond measure by someone else. I knew what I had to do. I woke up early on Saturday morning and got ready for work. I thought about Jane all day long. My heart was just so heavy for her. When I was driving home I prayed for her and her circumstances. As I rocked Olivia to sleep the Lord told me that I wasn't done with her just yet. I needed to buy those diapers for her. There was no doubt. I had to do it. I went to sleep again, thinking of her, the conference & His goodness. I woke up around midnight and could not go back to sleep. Finally, around 3am I got out of bed. I had to get the thoughts out of my head. I sat down to write a little note to accompany the little care package. I can't remember exactly what I set out to write. All I know is that as soon as I sat down to write all I could think about was purpose behind Influence. Making much of Him. This was what it was all about. MY influence. I had the opportunity to be a light for Him in this moment. This was my chance to use my influence in life to show someone Christ's love. Amazing. I bought the diapers ($9.97) and delivered the diapers, pj's, toy, a pack of wipes and my heart for her in that note. I had told one of the girls at work about this situation and how my heart was broken for her, then I told her about my morning delivery and that I hoped it gave Jane some encouragement. Not 10 minutes later a customer walked in and bought a preservation kit from me. An automatic $10.00 spiff onto my paycheck. See what He did there. Chance and I didn't really have the money to buy someone else's child diapers, but I did it anyway. And He provided, as He always does.

So it all came full circle. A dream turned to reality, a need turned to a blessing, all for His glory.

Two and a Half

Hold her a little longer
Rock her a little more
Tell her another story
(You've only told her four)
Let her sleep on your shoulder
Rejoice in her happy smile
She's only two and a half
For such a little while!

Happy Half Birthday, sweet girl. I love you more than words could ever express. You complete my world and make me a better person. Thank you for being you.   Love always, Mommy.

September 18, 2012

so much...

So, so much has happened.
I hadn't intended to take a summer sabbatical of sorts; but life got hectic- and it just kind of happened.
It's been busy busy busy at our house. 

Since Olivia's diagnosis we have really been focusing on our little family. It has been an adjustment to say the least. Though we are eternally grateful that her condition is not serious and completely manageable, it is still tough to watch your child go through something like this. Thank you for continuing to keep our family in your prayers. We will forever be thankful for all of them.

Olivia started preschool and ballet. My heart has nearly exploded many times.
My best friend threw me a surprise birthday party.
Chance and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary.
And about a thousand other little things.

Writing posts on all those things today, and planning future posts. Lots of exciting things going on and coming up!!