Coffee Sips and Lovely Links (Vol. 3)- The Calling Edition

Friday, September 30, 2016 No comments

Have you ever been so passionate about something that it made you gladly hop out of bed early in the morning just so you could keep at it? Have you ever had a job that you missed when you weren't doing it? Or that you couldn't keep off of your mind?

For me, that's blogging. There are times when I wake up far before my alarm and I immediately think "Well, I could get up, have coffee, and work on bloggy-things". I almost also see if I can go back to bed first, because I never really feel rested as it is, but the point is, when I could be thinking "I don't want to get up for any reason whatsoever, instead I find myself thinking about the blog (and coffee, of course).

I'm thrilled to have something like this in my life. Even though it isn't my full-time gig, it still brings me great joy and I am thankful for it. I feel like I am able to make a difference, encourage others, and grow personally as well. And my hope is that this will be my life-long calling, but regardless, I'm glad God has me here now.

Calling is important. If we aren't living by our calling, things just won't be as deeply rewarding. But the more we live for God and the calling He has on our lives, the more satisfied we will be in our soul. That doesn't mean things will be easy, but it does mean that God will be working through us and that we will be where we were created to be.

But do you wanna know something awesome about God? While He does want us to always seek Him, and try to live in step with Him, God doesn't expect us to figure out everything on our own.

Sometimes, we will have a hard time discerning what God is calling us to do. And as hard as this is for me to grasp, that is okay. God guides our paths and takes us where we need to be. We cannot mess up His plans, even when we slip or stumble. Again, God wants us to live by His will and stay in step with Him, but we don't have to put so much pressure on ourselves if we are unsure about what's next. This is a concept that I have a really hard time with, but I do think it's true.

But for those of you who struggle to find your calling, or know your calling but are still searching for that next step, I have put together a few links to help you on your journey. I found them to be incredibly encouraging, and I hope you will too!



The inspiration for the theme of this post came from Dale Partridge of Startup Camp. His recent blog post on how to distinguish between passion from calling is simply excellent. I highly recommend reading it!

This article by Molly about reaching your full potential also offers some great tips for reaching your dreams!

John Piper talks about what you need to do in order to begin discerning your calling here.


I hope you have found these links to be abundantly encouraging, and I hope you all have a great weekend!


We Are Handmade People

Monday, September 26, 2016 16 comments

Whenever I go to the store, if something is handmade there are always signs declaring the item's home-made-ness. With all of the cheaply-made, copy-cat products that line the shelves, stores will make it known if something is locally crafted or handmade. Why? Because the product is unique. It had care and time poured into into and the the creator was invested in the work.

You wanna know something cool? We are much like the those handmade items, and our Creator too great care in making us.

Coffee Sips and Lovely Links // Vol. 2

Friday, September 23, 2016 18 comments

Happy Friday, lovelies!

This week has been insane. For those of you who don't know, my husband and I live in Charlotte, NC, and the riots that you've seen on the news are only 20 minutes away from our house, and about 10-15 minutes away from where we work.

It's scary, it's maddening, and it's serious. But we have been very blessed. We live outside of the city, so if we hadn't watched the news or been on Facebook, everything would have seemed completely normal.

I want to see healing for all the hearts that are hurting, and I want to see this violence stop. But God is good and He is going to take care of everything. He will make all things new one day, and until then, He is working out all things in His time.

We don't need to freak out or lose our minds. We need to keep living life well and work towards helping others in whatever ways we can and are called to.
We don't need to spend every two seconds checking our news feeds, living in fear.

So as a pick-me-up, I've rounded up three different links for you all to enjoy. I hope they encourage you to keep living even in the face of fear, even in the face of hurt, and that they help draw you nearer to God.



Ally of The Speckled Goat (who by the way is one of my all-time-favorite bloggers!), share's about how change is hard, yet God is still very good. If you are struggling with change right now (or even if you aren't) this is a great read.

Do you know anyone who is either pregnant, a new mom, or someone who has lost a baby? Healing Grace Childbirth Services is an excellent ministry that offers resources for expecting moms, new parents, families looking to adopt, and even bereavement services for those families who are dealing with losing their baby.
And this month, I am happy to have Healing Grace as my sponsor for the second time.
Join me in supporting them by either liking their page, telling a friend about their services, or sharing this post.

And for all those who are struggling along with us here in Charlotte in regards to racial tension, riots, and the like, here is an article by Kevin Deyoung on how to handle all of this in a more godly way.

Happy Friday, friends!

The Ugliest Thing About Me

Wednesday, September 21, 2016 20 comments
*Before I begin this post, I would like to start with the following disclaimer: this post has nothing to do with a lack of self-confidence and I am not actually calling myself "ugly".  The point is not "Kristin is ugly". The point is, we need to be deeply aware of the wrong that hangs out in our hearts.



This past Sunday evening, Taylor and I went to our first life group since deciding on our Charlotte church-home. We were gathered in a church member's house, sitting on comfy couches and enjoying the laid-back, friendly atmosphere. The kiddies were in one room (with supervision of course), and the adults were in another. The discussion was based around the sermon earlier that day, and we used our time to discuss our struggles and how we can stand in faith even when the world throws a lot at us.

In true Kristin-fashion, I was quick to answer aloud, sharing my thoughts with the rest of the group. As I shared, I felt a little embarrassed, though no one there did anything to make that happen. "The lie I believe a lot," I heard myself admit, "is that other people are idiots, and that I have it all together- even though I know I don't".

Most people had other answers. Answers like, "I easily believe the lie that maybe God never really said _______ is a sin", or "I easily believe that my heart and feelings are true, instead of God's word". Those are good, honest answers. My answer was honest, too. But I came away feeling embarrassed about my answer, because that simple little answer told so much about my heart.

The Ugliest Thing About Me

You see, what my answer revealed is that my heart is filled with pride. Even though I really do love people and try to treat them well, I often find myself with a better-than-thou attitude when people say something that I believe is ridiculous.

It is important to me to stand firm in my moral values and biblical beliefs, and that's a good thing. But what's not a good thing is having a bad attitude towards people who don't have the same moral values and beliefs that I do. Thinking to myself, "they are so dumb to think that!", is not a Christ-like attitude (even if it's sometimes true). Why? Because we all fall short. Admittedly, some more than others, but we are all equally in need of a savior, equally in need of a heart change, and all susceptible to wrong thinking. And therefore, instead of my prideful attitude, I need to come at it with love, even when the other party does not.

I'm a self conscious person, and I feel like I am too fat, my nose is too big, my eyes are too close together, etc., but after I heard my own life group "confession", I realized that the ugliest thing about me has nothing to do with physical appearance. It isn't my nose, my weight, or my acne. The ugliest thing about me is my prideful heart that creates a crappy attitude towards people that I should be showing intentional love to.

The ugliest thing we can do is let sin in our hearts. All the highlights, acne solutions, expensive makeup, or weight loss in the world cannot hide the unattractiveness of sin. We can try to bury it. We can pretend it doesn't exist. We can smile and act like we've got it all together- but none of us do. We all have sins that we need to tackle through God's help. That's the only way to wipe away the ugly.


Find the Ugly

Now, with that said, let me just say this- wiping away pride (or whatever sin) does not mean you shouldn't have an opinion. It does not mean you shouldn't stand by your beliefs. What it does mean though, is that we've got to remember that when someone isn't living like they should, or they believe something that we feel is ridiculous, we need to change our mindset to love them with a deep compassion for their lack of understanding of the truth. We need to go from prideful and irritated to kind and genuinely concerned.

So my challenge to you, dear friend, is to stop looking at physical appearance (your own, and that of others). In that regard, you are beautiful- and so are they. Instead, look deep within and see if there is any ugliness hiding in your heart. When you find it (because you will), ask God to transform you, and work to live out that transformation. Also ask Him to help you have compassion on the "ugliness" of others. We all need grace in our lives.



More Hustle for the Right Reasons (Mug-spiration Monday) and a GIVEAWAY

Monday, September 19, 2016 16 comments

Good morning, all! Got your coffee? Or tea? Or *shudder* morning cup of water? Good.

You wanna know what I've had on my mind for the past few days? I've been thinking about how I whine and complain and get all stressed out because I haven't achieved my blog dreams yet, when there are two MAJOR factors I am forgetting to include.

Factor numero uno: God has a perfect timing for everything. Not some things. Not the easy things. All things. If it hasn't happened yet, then it's not time yet. *note: some things are never going to happen because He has other plans, but that's a whole other post subject ;)

Factor numero dos: If I am really honest with myself, I haven't given it my all. I've worked hard, and I am proud of that, but there is sooooo much more I could be doing, and so much time I waste that could be spent on blogging and #allthebloggythings.

REAL Hustle is Purposeful Hustle

"Hustling" is a popular thing right now. If you search Pinterest you can find umpti-bazillion (that's a number, right?) pins that read something along the lines of "5 Side-Hustles to Make More Money" or, "Why I Hustle To Grow My Blog".

Hustling just means working hard and smart. And I want to "hustle" too. But Hustling also has to have a greater purpose in order to really succeed. My purpose for my blog is not to make money and work from home (as much as I long for that, dream of that, and am working towards that). Rather, my purpose is to share the gospel, share the truths of God's word, and share encouragement with the world- particularly women.



If I for one second think that I can gloss over my purpose and still have a meaningful career that will succeed, I have lost sight of what matters.
My dreams of working as a full-time blogger only matter and only work if I put my ultimate purpose first, and my dreams regarding that purpose second.

I want to hustle hard, hustle smart, and hustle with purpose. I want to work harder than I've been working- being willing to skip out on some relaxing or fun things in order to get to a point where I have more freedom to do those relaxing or fun things because I've reached my goals. I have to say no to some good things now, in order to reach the great things I am aiming for!

And I want all of that hustle to be focused in the right place. It is absolutely possible to work towards a money-making blog, while still putting God and His truths first. I can focus on my ultimate purpose- making sure I stay true to that- and still work hard towards being a full-time blogger. Those two things are not mutually exclusive. And for that I am very thankful!

So first of all, don't lose sight of your primary purpose. And secondly, if you are working towards something, put in the work. Have you really done your best? Really? Or are there things you could have done better, or put more time and effort into?

Happy Mug-spiration Monday, friends!


And before you leave, make sure you enter the Giveaway (below) I am a part of, put on by Brittany of Grace Love Life! There are some awesome prizes to win.


Grace, Love, Life's First Blogiversary Giveaway

In honor of Grace, Love, Life's first blogiversary I have teamed up with a few other amazing bloggers to give away an amazing prize package! We are giving away books, a journal, a coffee mug, and more! If you want to enter, all you have to do is fill out the entry form below. You can complete as many or as few of the tasks as you would like but the more that you enter the better your chances of winning will be! The giveaway will end on Friday, September 23 and the winner will be announced the following week. Please enter fairly. This giveaway is only open to USA entries only because I have to be able to afford to ship this to the winner.
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Here's what's Included:

  1. Green and Gold Tote Bag
  2. 'Keep Calm and Pray On' Coffee Mug
  3. Love Never Fails Journal with stickers and pens
  4. Two Home Decor Prints from Craftivity Designs
  5. Coloring Book with Colored Pencils
  6. Black Raspberry Vanilla Candle from The Peculiar Treasure
  7. My Letters to Amy by Kimberley Schumacher
  8. Girl Talk by Jen Hatmaker
  9. Idol's of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Good Luck!


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How to Include Children With Disabilities At Your Church (A Guest Post)

Friday, September 16, 2016 2 comments
Hello, friends! Today on The Peculiar Treasure, I am welcoming Kabrina of Imagination Signing. She and I are doing a blog post swap, so after you read her post here, hop on over to her blog to read my post on what we can learn about courage from the book of Joshua!
This post by Kabrina is so needed and informative, and I am glad to have her as a guest!
Happy reading!

A photo by Ben White. unsplash.com/photos/4K2lIP0zc_k

Have you ever wondered how your church handles and includes people with a disability? Did you know that only 50% of people with disabilities decide to even walk into the door of a church? (Harris Poll)This is an issue that is difficult for many churches to wrap their minds around because it is vast, there are many different disabilities, and, because of separation of church and state, churches are not “required” to adhere to the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA).To narrow down this big topic, we will be discussing children with disabilities in the church and some basic starter ways to include them in your programing and events.These families have one or more children with a disability, but most of the parents do not have a disability. The parents of children with disabilities are under much of the same stress other parents are, however, they have the added worry of people accepting their child for who they are not what they look like or what they can or cannot do. It is nerve racking enough to walk into a church where you know no one and drop your child off, but having to worry about how church staff as well as other parents and children view your child can be painful, especially when there is a lack of education about inclusion of those with disabilities.

[bctt tweet="Making the church more accessible should be a main priority for all churches" username="@imaginationsign"]

Making the church more accessible should be a main priority for all churches in order to follow the mission set forth by Jesus in Mark 16:15. This mission states “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.“So how do we include these families, make them feel welcome, and give their children the attention and accommodations they need without breaking the bank or stretching ourselves to thin?


Enlist Volunteers That Have A Heart For Those With Disabilities

This is the first, and easiest, step for churches of any size, to accommodate children with disabilities. By having these type of volunteers on hand, a church can take the collective knowledge of the body and build from it. Because these individuals already have a heart for those with disabilities they will, more than likely, have some understanding of disabilities from experience or formal education.In a survey completed by Melinda Ault Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky in 2010, 90% of parents surveyed said that a church community that was accepting of those with disabilities took the stress out of attending church, however, only 80% of these parents found that acceptance at the churches attended.How sad would you be if you desperately wanted your child to learn about Jesus with other children, but could barely walk in the door without a scoff or a stare from, not only people around, but leadership and volunteers as well?

By having dedicated volunteers, you not only give a more welcoming atmosphere to these families, but other people in the church have someone to point these families to- making the message the same across the board instead of some people knowing the right resources and others having no idea.


Make Sure Basic Communication And Mobility Needs Are Met

The ability to get where you need to go and communicate with the people around you is an essential need for everyone. Those with wheelchairs will need access to an elevator, ramp, or wheelchair lift to get to areas of your church that have stairs. Individuals who are blind will need braille signs and/or assistance from another individual and those who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing will need Closed Captioning or an interpreter.That can all seem very daunting, but there are many ways to go about placing these resources in your church. Ramps for wheelchairs start as low as $110 and can be easily installed and removedfor convenience. Closed Captioning can be done while a message is taking place on screen by church leadership or a volunteer and reaching out into your church body may reveal an interpreter or a student training to be one that would be willing to volunteer. Finally, Braille signs can be easily made and start at just $14 a piece.


Ensure The Child Is Included During Service

Children, especially young children, do not understand that certain words and actions can hurt another person’s feelings. This is especially true when someone seems different. What a great teaching opportunity for all children about being loving to all people though! Leaders do not need to feel like they need to follow the child around if they do not seem to need it or it has not been asked for, but it is wise to stay in arms and ears reach away. This allows for the leader to easily step in and address any conflict or confusion that may occur.

For Example

Situation: You have an autistic child who is not super comfortable with other people touching him when another child comes up to give them a hug.

Talking Point(s): Explain to the child who wanted to give a hug that sometimes not everyone wants a hug right away, but that they can play together (rolling a ball back and forth, playing cars, playing with dinosaurs, making a meal with pretend food, etc.). Show the children how to play together and get them started on an agreed upon activity.

Take Away: This gives the child with autism the ability to get comfortable in the environment while teaching the other child about differences and playing with someone else in spite of the differences. Allowing these children and families to have the resources needed to participate is such a blessing to them as well as to the church body. Every person deserves the ability to walk into a church and hear about Jesus and accessibility should not be a hindrance.


For more information please visit: 
1. Disabilities and Faith-- http://www.disabilitiesandfaith.org/
2. The Church and People with Disabilities by Peggy Johnson
3.Joni and Friends International Disability Center http://www.joniandfriends.org/
4. Mission Frontiers-- http://www.missionfrontiers.org/issue/article/the-deaf
*You can also contact me by email at imaginationsigning@gmail.com with any questions.

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Let It Go (Learning to Release Annoyances and Frustrations)

Monday, September 12, 2016 21 comments

For the past couple of weeks, baby E has really been loving Frozen. Normally if I leave the TV on, she watches for a few minutes, goes and plays, and comes back when she hears singing- only to leave again shortly after. But with Frozen, the little cutie sits through nearly the entire thing. We have watched Frozen several times in the past three weeks, and neither one of us is sick of it yet. *PS- I don't just sit the child in front of the TV all day. I'm a good nanny. Promise* ;)

I know that the movie is technically about being who you are and choosing love over fear. But then a few days ago, I had something happen where I felt criticized and offended. Something someone said made me defensive because I felt like they were personally attacking me. They weren't, and deep down I knew they weren't, but my easily-hurt nature took it that way and I really had to suck it up.

Then I started thinking that I needed to "Let it Go". (Ensue loud singing)

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