Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For The Love of Jen Hatmaker

Today this book is released into the wild for all the world. 

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of For The Love by Jen Hatmaker back in March when I was chosen to be a part of her launch team.

I found myself literally cry laughing out loud one second and then ugly crying the next. I laughed, I cried, I shouted Amen and Preach it sister.

This book is filled with hilarity, but also hard truths.

Lets list a few, shall we...

"We are not promised a pain free life, but are given the tools to survive: God and people. It is enough."
"If doctrine elevates a women's married-with-children status as her highest calling, it isn't true because that omits single believers(whose status Paul considers preferable), widows, the childless by choice or fate or loss, the divorced, and the celibate gay..... Theology is either true everywhere or it isn't true anywhere."
"Truth creates a sincere community for which the earth is starving."
On parenting:
"They must be allowed to wrestle without being shamed, or they'll default to their open-armed peers and we will lost them."

"I pray for your kindness more than your success, because the latter without the former is a tragedy."

"We must shepherd their hearts, not their hemlines."

On Christians:
"Our shared redemption should keep us grateful and kind, because what other response can even make sense?"

"May the world see a thankful, committed family who loves their God, adores their Savior, and can't get enough of one another. This is a story that saves, a story that heals, and the right story to tell."


Y'all. This book is filled with nuggets of truth and so much more.

Grab some copies, pass them out to your friends, pour some coffee, and enjoy. This is the kind of book you will want to share with friends.

You can get it here.

Another favorite nugget from this book is on calling and theological truth is  "If it isn't true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn't true."

Gah. If that doesn't hit you where it hurts, I don't know what will.

Jen teamed up with Noonday Collection to create this bracelet. It was made in Haiti and provides sustainable work to Haitian moms. Also, $5 from each sold goes to Help One Now. You can purchase this reminder of truth here.

PS. You can go to this link, click through the endorsements and you might see a familiar name. *Hint*It's mine* ;)

Happy Reading, friends.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Thank you all for entering the giveaway! 

The winner of the necklace is Sunshine Robbins.

Congratulations, Sunshine, I will get the necklace to you soon! 

If you didn't win, you can still purchase one of your own here. OR you can host a trunk show to earn free product. 

Thanks again to everyone who entered! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Mother's Day Giveaway!!!

Yesterday I shared  this  post about Motherhood. It received a lot of love. Thank you for so many kind words. The stories and words you shared with me confirmed that mother's need all the support and confidence boosts they can get.

I passionately believe that mothers should feel confident and empowered. I believe confident and empowered women will raise confident and capable children.

I, also, love how much Noonday Collection values family and women near and far.  

When you purchase from Noonday you are allowing parents to keep their families together and provide basic needs. You are giving women, who may not be able to otherwise, a job and hope. 

Mothers around the world are given value, while being able to effectively care for their children.

It is a beautiful mission and am so excited to be apart of it.  

In honor of Mother's Day and my new role as an Ambassador for Noonday, I am hosting a giveaway for one lucky person.

The Sparkling Necklace in sea green is a combination of handcrafted paper beads, rhinestones, and seed beads. It is made with {love} in Uganda. It can stand alone as a pop of color or be layered to give a more trendy look. 

I love this necklace. The paper beads make it very light and comfortable to wear, while the rhinestones give it some sparkle and added character. I am wearing it below along with the leather leaf earrings. 

The necklace is valued at $36, but you could win one here for FREE.

To Enter:

Simply leave a comment on this post for one entry.

Additional Entries:
If you make any purchase from my Noonday site today - 5/9, you will earn another 2 entries. (This can be associated with a trunk show or just through my site)


If you schedule a date to host your own Noonday trunk show to earn more free product and style your friends during the months of May - July, you will earn another 2 entries.

I will post the winner on Mother's Day! 
Good Luck!

I would love to share more about Noonday and the purpose behind it with you. For more information, email me at alcbarrett@gmail.com and I will gladly get back with you. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

That time I was called a bad mom... (An Early Mother's Day Post)

"You need to fix this. You need to do something about your kid. You are a bad mom." 

These are the words I remember. I have no idea if these were the words actually said. They were definitely the words I heard. 

I don't know what day of the week it was. I don't know what I was wearing. I don't know what the weather was like outside. I just know that this is a morning that I will never forget. 

I was working full time outside the home and commuting to and from work. Brady was about 2 and in an in home daycare.

Brady was a biter.

He used biting as a way to communicate and deal with conflict. 

It was awful. I remember saying to Caleb one night, "I don't know how to do this. Its not like I get mad at you and start biting you. If that were the case maybe I could figure out what to do. Also, I am at work when the majority of the biting takes place. I just don't know what else to do." 

This particular day Brady had bit one little girl at daycare one too many times and her mother had had enough. So she decided to very clearly let me know what she thought of my son, his biting, my parenting ability, and the situation. 

I calmly(meaning I managed to keep from breaking down into a puddle of snot and tears until she left) listened to her case. I tried to validate her concerns and apologize for the umpteenth time. I tried to express our side and that we feel terrible that our little creation is causing harm to your little creation and we are trying to remedy the situation. It is just so hard to do 8 hours after the incident.

She wasn't amused nor did she care about our side. She wanted her precious baby to stop coming home with teeth marks, and rightly so. 

On top of the, er, conversation that had just unfolded, I was a hot mess AND I was late for work. Awesome. 

It was an ugly few days. 

I already felt an unbelievable amount of guilt from leaving my child with some else 5 days a week. I felt guilty for spending over an hour in the car each day away from him. I felt guilty for date nights. I felt guilty for spending time with friends. I felt guilty for the biting. I felt guilty for enjoying my work, my drive to work, and time with my husband. I felt guilt for being late to work. I felt guilty for thinking about being late when my child obviously needed me. I felt guilty for not being fully present at work. 

But most of all, I felt like a really, really bad mom. 

Every insecurity and fear I had in this motherhood journey, had just been vocalized by another mother. 

It took days before I agreed to pick up or drop off Brady at daycare. I was a mess. 

This stands as one of the worst moments of being a mom to date for me. This is still a story I reluctantly share. It will take loads of courage to publish this. 

It's a story I need to share, though. 

You see, I am not a bad mom. I am a good mom. I love my children. I just had a moment when I let someone else's words define my abilities. 

The thing is, though, bad moms they do exist. 

Let me be clear, IF you are reading this, YOU are likely NOT a bad mom. 

But they do exist. 

I have met them, maybe you have too. 

I have sat across from babies who have suffered seizures and brain damage because their mother sold their formula for drugs and only fed the infant tap water. 

I have watched a little girl with cigarette burns covering her arms play with my hair while counseling her Foster parent as she explains how the mother inflicted each wound.

I have listened to a young woman cry her eyes out because her own mother completely abandoned her and now she is becoming a mother and she is so afraid of becoming like her own mother. 

I have listened to a young mom un-apologetically admit to opening her bedroom door to multiple men while her child watched in the same room. 

I don't claim to be an expert or know all the details to these situations. My experience in this area is limited. Many of these situations are much more involved than an one sentence summary.
 However, my experience opened my world to parents who don't put the needs of their children first. Parents who aren't good parents.  

The good news is, good parents, they exist too. 

The only non-existent parent is the perfect parent. 

I don't want my children to look back and think wow my mom was perfect. (Trust me, they won't.) I do want them to look back and think my mom tried as hard as she could. I want them to see a woman, who faced hard, ugly days, but didn't give up. A woman who got up and did what she needed to do no matter what. A mom who loved them so much her love made her a little crazy. It made her doubt and second guess every single thing she said or did. It kept her up at night thinking of how she could have done today better. A love that makes her yell like a wild banshee at the t-ball field. 

I want them to see a mom who failed daily, but asked for forgiveness, extended and accepted lots of grace, and learned to be better and love greater the next time. 

I want them to remember a home filled with love and TONS of grace. Because, at the end of the day, that is what we all need, love and grace, parents and kids alike. 

And the great thing about grace is that those, bad moms, the ones who really are bad or the ones who have just had bad moments, grace can cover them too. They can turn things around and become one of the crazy, good moms too. 

I may not know you or your situation as a mom personally, but this is what I do know.
If you feel like you are screwing it up every single day and you sit awake wondering if you are doing it all okay, then you are likely one of the good ones. 

At the end of it all, that is what makes you a good one, the desire to do this job as well as possible, not a label, not a moment, not a decision, not a status. 

So as we approach Mother's Day lets embrace the imperfection of this role, lets join together and say I just want to have more good moments than ugly moments, and toss those unrealistic expectations and all the labels out the window.

 Lets wear the one label we truly love with pride and simply be Mom.

In honor of Mother's Day approaching, I am hosting a giveaway beginning tomorrow to celebrate the value of women and moms around the world. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Noonday Collection Ambassador

I am wrapping up my first month in my new adventure as a Noonday Ambassador.  I realized I haven't mentioned that here.  

I took a leap of faith and decided to join Noonday Collection as an Ambassador.

I am so excited  to start this journey. I have learned so much in the past few weeks and am excited to extend the mission and ideas behind this beautiful company with you. 

Noonday Collection is a business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. We do this by creating an international marketplace for artisans around the world in your home through trunk shows. Together we provide dignified jobs in vulnerable communities. We develop artisans through fair trade and work together to develop a flourishing world.

The Noonday products are beautiful and unique, but the stories behind the product are even more beautiful.

I would love to share more about this company and my role as an Ambassador with you. 

I will be hosting a giveaway later this week in honor of this new journey and Mother's Day, so stay tuned. 

Until then feel free to check out my site here

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Unity and Hope Through Humanity

I stood in a hot, crowded, dirty hospital room nestling a brand new, tiny baby in my arms in the middle of SE Asia. Prayers were going up in three different languages while the new life in my arms began to whimper. I slide off to the side, repositioned, and bounced away the whimpers. As I was standing there, I caught myself whispering words over this beautiful baby boy. "Lord, protect this life, guide his parents, develop the bond with his twin brother. Lord, let them see you. Lord, let them see you! Let them see you!" 

This moment might be one of the most precious moments of my life to date, right there with holding my own babies for the first time. It wasn't expected. God led us to this woman and new life. I didn't know what to expect when we climbed the long ramp and entered the crowded room. I was dying to get my momma hands on one of the precious babes, but wasn't sure if I would be allowed. When the baby was placed in my arms, I was filled with so much love and joy, the rest of the world faded away.  

My vision became tunnel vision only able to see one thing. 

All I saw was raw and real humanity. 

I became blind to the dirt, the heat, the smells, and all the other cringe worthy concerns of that hospital. In that moment, I no longer felt pity or worried about contamination or the like. 

I had to later process the conditions of that overcrowded hospital room, but in that moment all I could see were people. 

People. Real people. Real life. 

People excited to welcome new life. People worried about bills, pain, and adjusting to life with 2 babies. People mourning loss of life in one bed while rejoicing together with new life in the other. 

The conditions, the circumstances, and the culture might have been different, but the emotions, fears, and love filling that room were the same. 

 I have stories on top of stories about our recent trip to SE Asia. I love sharing them. I love that they have helped rewrite the way I see things. I love that when I talk with my friend Lauren, I know who and what she is referring to.

Most of the stories must be told by mouth, in living rooms or on porches over cups of coffee and glasses of sweet tea. I had such an opportunity last weekend to fill my living room with 15 sweet friends and smother them will all the SE Asia I could muster. It was intimate, beautiful, and fun. We laughed, we cried, we walked through muddied waters, and mapped out the path God is weaving in that city. 

Though, If I could only share one thing with you from our trip, it would be this. 

These people, the poor, oppressed, searching, lost, etc. people, they are real. 

They aren't just some idea or cause.

They aren't untouchable, dumb, or another statistic. 

They are real people walking through hurt, loss, love, life, and beauty. 

They are much more the same than they are different. 

They are human, feeling all the feels and dreaming all the dreams.

Just like you. 

You are not just a label, personality, degree, or career. You are a person. A real breathing, feeling, dreaming person. How would you feel if you were only identified by your bank account, or lack thereof? 

I could give you about 9 million 'differences' between the SE Asia land and the American land I stand on. I could dissect how things are better and worse in each place. I have had a lot to process, take in, and attempt to wrap my mind around. There is a place and time for all of those things. 

But seeing people as human, that is the lesson to take away. 

Our humanity is what unites us. 

We can gather around the throne and unite in Jesus, because at the end of the day, regardless of where we come from, go, or what language leaves our lips, we are all human

People searching for something greater than ourselves. People searching for love, grace, and acceptance while finding our way through this crazy gift of life. 

And Jesus, he joins us in that, because, likewise, he tasted humanity.
He felt it, lived it, and died in it. 

The specifics and details may be different, but the emotions, challenges, and processes are so much of the same. 

Oh, the hope that comes from this. 

We can overcome differences, mistakes, and failures when we see others as human. When we only see differences, mistakes, and failures, we fail to see people as human. When we fail to see humanity as human, we lose all hope. 

My prayer upon returning has repeatedly been, "Lord, let me see people as you see them, as created, beautiful, broken people". 

 When we simply begin to see people as people, without all the labels, we can slowly start to change the world.

Let's start to change the world...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Traveling, Motherhood, and Jesus

The summer of 2013 I loaded my 4 year old and my 11 month old into a car and began a 12 plus hour drive north with a group from our church while my husband stayed home for work. We would spend a week providing a Vacation Bible School and helping the local church reach the community. Before we even left the parking lot, Presley had covered herself and car seat in granola bar. I was beginning to regret my decision...

Thinking the trip was just too hard.

 It was hard. It was exhausting. It almost pushed me to my breaking point at times.

But it was also beautiful.
Jesus met me in the form of community, support, and coffee. I saw Jesus in friends when they offered to nap with Presley despite her protests. I saw Jesus when another drove me to the store. I felt His presence as I read Bible stories to children who had never heard of Paul, James, or John. Jesus was there in the car as my children patiently and quietly took in the long drive. He held my hand and pushed me forward. He whispered words of validation and encouragement through various voices.  I was surrounded by hands, feet, and voices of Jesus. I wasn't alone. It was beautiful because I found so much peace underneath the hard.

I learned quickly when we step out of comfort and answer the call of Jesus, He shows up. Right there. Right where we are. Right when we need him.

My children learned about servant hood, trusting the Father, a sense of community, and a worldview that expands farther than our back yard was forming.

I am a huge advocate for showing the world to your children. 

I am also, simultaneously, a huge advocate for not losing your identity in your children.
While I agree there is a time to share the world with your children, there is also a time to see it for yourself. A time to be intentional, free from distraction, and fully present to dream dreams and grow relationships.

It is just as much a gift to them that I remain my own person, with her own dreams, desires, and plans.

Just as my faith is not my children's faith, my children's faith is not my own.

I must leave room for myself to continue learning, growing, and searching.
 I must leave room for them to learn, grow, and search without me.

Sometimes that comes in the form of sleepovers, school, or date nights.

This past January it came in the form of a trip. A trip not for our entire family, but for just Caleb and I.  A trip I didn't anticipate. I trip I had unknowingly prayed for. A trip that would test if my trust in God matched the words of my mouth. 

I had fears and doubts, but my desire to serve the Lord and experience the world was greater than the fear of leaving my children. 

The desire to teach my children bravery and trust outweighed the fear of all that could go wrong. 

There were moments, though, when fear won.

Once again when I was weak, God showed up. He showed up in the form of texts messages of kindness and encouragement. Jesus showed up when an unbelievable amount of hands offered to care for my babies. He showed up in the form of checks tucked into our hands during sincere hugs. Jesus showed up in the countless prayers and thoughts on our behalf. He showed up in long overdue hugs and late night laughs with great conversation. He was there in hospital rooms, on walks, and in the market.

He showed up when I watched my husband soak up a culture and language beautifully. I watched him through a lens of peace, love, and intention rather than a lens of distraction and bitterness. The lens I wear far too often when arguing with a 6 year old and being mauled by a 2 year old.

He showed up when opportunity after opportunity to speak His name and show His goodness arrived while we were visiting.

He showed up in the prayer of my son while were gone that in so many words said keep my mom and dad safe while they are showing Jesus to others away from home.

He showed up. Right there. Right where I was. Right when I needed him.

After we returned home, we were all in the car. Brady had forgotten something and was trying with all his might to not cry. He hugged the handmade elephant we had brought him and tightly clenched his eyes.  I looked back and said, "Brady we are home. We are safe. You don't have to worry anymore."

He responded with words no parent wants to hear, "Why did you have to go without me?"

I held back my alligator tears and channeled my best Danny Tanner voice while the this-is-the-lesson-moment music played in the back ground.

"Brady, one day you are going to come home and say Mom! a group is going to Haiti, Uganda, London(you fill in the blank) and I want to go too. I am going to reply, I want to go too. Lets go together. You will say Mom, I want to go alone. I need to do this without you.

And I will say Okay, you can go.

And you will go and it will be great. And I will be proud.

 You will go because you are brave. You will have confidence and trust because I had confidence and  trust.  And I hope you will remember how I was brave and that you can draw strength from that."

These words spilled out of my mouth before I had a chance to think.

Caleb quickly responded whoa, that was good.

Brady quickly responded I want to go to Tokyo.

I am in constant prayer that I am raising independent, contributing, kind humans who love God and their neighbors near and far.  People who will enhance the Kingdom and speak Jesus.

I am also in constant prayer that I am an independent, contributing, kind human who loves God and my neighbor near and far.  A person who enhances the Kingdom and speaks Jesus.

There will come a day my children will have to decided for their own whom they will follow, I will not be there to guide them.  I will not be there to tell them. I will not be there to do it for them. It will be their journey and their's alone.

And I will be left on my own journey without them.

So show your children the world. Serve right along side of them. Yes!

But also see the world for yourself. Cultivate your relationships. Serve even when no one is watching. Yes!

And lets put our trust and faith in God for the rest because He is able.

"Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you."
                                                   -  1 Peter 5:7

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13638323/?claim=wxnx8643c5r">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year. New Opportunities.

Gifts have all been opened. We have overindulged in yummy food. The Christmas lights have been unplugged, the ornaments carefully wrapped, and the tree stuffed away until next year. We have counted down and welcomed 2015 with excitement. 

Monday will officially end our 'winter break'. It is typical for this to be a bittersweet time for me. I love the holidays. I love every stinking bit of it. I am always a little sad to see it wind down. When most people are ready to retreat and slow down, I long to keep running at full speed. On the other hand, I am ready for routine schedules, eating, and sleeping to return for everyone. 

January is normally one of my least favorite months. It just seems so sad, deflated, and lonely for me. 

This year things are incredibly different.

I have been clinging to the holidays because, if I am honest, they have served as a beautiful distraction to what lies ahead in 2015. 

Caleb and I were presented with an opportunity to lead a small group to travel to encourage and support our friends in South East Asia (SEA). The trip would consist of 10 days in the month of January. 

When we were first presented with the opportunity back in the fall, I was a little surprised and shocked, but Oh. So. Excited and honored.   I asked Caleb what he thought about it and he was enthusiastically, no hesitation,  feet first ALL in. It was the perfect response, the response I needed.

I am unbearably thankful he is the one I get to share this crazy life with.

I desperately wanted to be that confident with my yes, however my mommy heart and mind nagged at me. Ten days away from our small children. Both parents on extensive plane routes away from our babies. Thousands of miles separating us from our precious little ones. Can I do this? Should I do this?

Then the what ifs began. I have spent many nights swirling all the things that could go wrong around in my mind. 

It went something like this..
Yes, Lets go!       Wait! What will we do with our children.
This will be affordable.  No, even with the assistance, we cant afford this. 
10 days isn't that long.    10 days will be way to hard on Presley. 
Brady will be distracted by school.   What if Brady needs me while in school?
Caleb and I can spend some great experiences together and strengthen our relationship.  Oh no, both parents will be gone, if something goes wrong. 
Our children will see our example of trusting the Lord with all our heart and hopefully live a life without fear.  But I am a little afraid. 
The kids will be fine. What if they aren't? 
We will be fine. What if we aren't?

Exhausting I know. This is only a taste of what it is like to live in my head.
To some it might seem silly. To some it is also your reality. 

Most of the time I put an end to them by praying each one of them away before allowing myself to be taken over by sleep. 

Amazingly, nearly all fears have been alleviated in the most unexpected of ways. 

I have been repeatedly reminded that the God I serve is incredibly more capable than I give Him credit. 

But still... As each fear is alleviated, I allow my mind to create new ones. 

The holidays provided the perfect distraction for all my fears, concerns, and even excitement. 

Now they are over. January is here and the trip is rapidly approaching. 

I am excited. I am honored. I am hopeful. I am thirsty with anticipation. 

I am also nervous. I am scared. I am hesitant. 

It is a whirlwind of emotions around here. 

The purpose of this trip is so good. The work being done in SEA is good. Our friends are good. I am so confident God is the center of all of it. 
Even still, I am so aware of the risk. I don't need to be reminded of that part. 

I am choosing to trust. 
Therefore, I am bursting with excitement to see how God can be glorified throughout all of it. 

In these moments, I am reminded of the book of Daniel. Throughout the book, Daniel and his friend's faith was challenged in many different ways. Around chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are commanded to worship an image King Nebuchadnezzar had created or be thrown into a fire furnace. They refused. When approached about their decision to resist, their response is remarkable. 

"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King. BUT even if he does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
                                                      Daniel 3:17-18, NIV, emphasis added

I began 2014 desiring more Trust in the creator of all things.
I am ending 2014 by laying a ginormous amount of trust at the feet of our Father in heaven.

I am hopeful everything will be fine and 2015 will be a great year for our family, but if not, I am confident we will serve the Lord. 

If you don't mind, friends, I am asking you keep us in your thoughts and prayers throughout this month. I would so appreciate prayers of safe travels, things running smoothly at home, and peaceful hearts and minds for us, our children, our travel team, and our friends and families. 
Mostly I petition you to pray God will be glorified through all of this. 

Here is to a fruitful and joy filled New Year.