What is something that makes you feel beautiful?

I’m not saying it defines your beauty but you know that feeling when you do something different and it changes your whole attitude?

Maybe it’s a new dress?

Working out?

A relaxing pedicure?

A fresh haircut?

Or pretty shade of lipstick?

For me, it is curling my hair. A head full of curls makes me feel like a million bucks. I have probably done this about 15 times in my life but every single time, my spirit is lifted and I can’t help but run my fingers through my hair.

It’s my go to “special occasion” hairstyle and it makes me feel just that.


 I used to look down on these products/actions of “luxury” as I have always identified myself with being a “simple girl”. Although, as I get older I am embracing these small things that bring joy to my daily life.

I’m giving away yet ANOTHER $500 discount code for the Nine Retreat that is coming to Los Angeles this September.

It is a retreat that focuses not only on how you can feel beauty from the inside out but also ways to help take care of your physical self that will benefit your quality of life!

Last weeks Nine Retreat discount code winner is:

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So excited you will be joining us Melissa!! I’ll contact you shortly with information on how to use your code!

Thank you ladies who bravely shared your dark matter! You are courageous and beautiful!

If you are still wanting a chance win a $500 discount to the Nine Retreat, please leave a comment below on something that makes you feel a little bit more special and beautiful.

  • July 7, 2015 - 1:34 am

    Morgan - Putting on some make up and a black dress!ReplyCancel

  • July 7, 2015 - 9:59 am

    Stephanie Wright - I feel beautiful when I curl my hair too! Because of the length I never really do much with my hair. So when I do it makes me feel good about myself.ReplyCancel

  • July 9, 2015 - 1:18 am

    Isabel - I felt beautiful when I would wear my hair straight (curly crazy hair over here). It reminds my husband of when we were dating. But lately, although I didn’t think it was possible, I feel beautiful when I carry my baby. I’m a new mom constantly covered in breast milk, surprise boogers, knotted hair…. I could go on. There’s omething about holding my little guy that has put a different light on my image.ReplyCancel

  • August 1, 2015 - 3:30 pm

    stacie youngblood - oooohhhh- I really want to go to this but the discount code would be amazing. I feel my best when I am working out almost daily. It changes my perspective on everything but finding the time isnt always easy!ReplyCancel




You know when you are stopped in the street or while you are in the grocery store to be asked where you got that certain item? Well I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite items from time to time. There is nothing I love more than connecting people with brands, products, organizations and businesses that I believe in and love.



Dress- Anthropologie Skyscape Maxi Dress **ON SALE NOW**



Wide Ring- Madewell’s Band Ring 



Stone bead necklace- Akola Project 

**This is not the exact item but a beautiful product that is similar to the one I am wearing.**

all images by Meghan Klein


Dear Juliana,

I see you in the pink flowers.

Last October we walked into the abode we now are blessed to call home and I was elated for a number of reasons. The white subway tile counter tops, the nooks hidden all around the space, the floor to ceiling windows that invited in the most beautiful light and the hardwood floors were just a handful of things. As we walked down the long hallway and exited the door into the backyard, a tiny frog jumped in my throat. There you were.

Interwoven with the back fence of this lovely Glendale home was the most vibrant pink bougainvillea bush. This was the same vine of flowers that graced the babies home fence when you were welcomed into the family. Do you remember how we used to walk around the property and I would hold your body so high in the sky so you could pick off a delicate flower? Do you remember how soft the petals felt in your weak hands?

We did this on a daily basis. I would walk into the babies home and as your body got stronger with each passing day, you eventually would lift your arms for me to hold you. And I did. There was hardly any weight to your body so I did a whole lot of holding. Sometimes you would fall asleep, sometimes you would cry because your body was in so much pain but most of the time you just sat there with a solemn look on your face. These flowers though, they eventually made you smile.

 I remember standing at the fence, and lifting you to pick the highest flower that you could reach and as I brought you down to my hip, a smile was adorned on your face. I had never seen it before. It was angelic. A little toothy for your 18 month old self but I saw something I had never seen in the three weeks of knowing you. Life shined through your eyes.

These flowers brought you hope. They showed you that life is beautiful even when given a delicate situation. They symbolized life in the midst of some dark chapters, even in stories that would end rather too abruptly. The day of your funeral was one of the most bittersweet days of my life. There was sadness and grief but more than anything there was joy. Children whom you never met were running around with laughter. Adults were gathered in their finest Ugandan attire to show you respect and celebrate that you are now with Jesus. As the men dug your grave, we picked flowers with the children. Pink flowers were thrown in with you as you were laid down into the earth. Life mixed in with death.

It doesn’t surprise me that my back fence is adorned with this flower that holds so much meaning to me. I knew it was a beautiful gift from God to show me that even though this new chapter was starting out in a dark tone, He would breathe life into it…just like He breathed life into you as your body just couldn’t hold on anymore. Your story was so powerful, even if it contained a limited amount of chapters.

He used you in some really dark situations Juliana. He used your short, small, fragile life to teach so many people beautiful lessons of strength and resilience. God has shown me that no matter what we are faced with, if we can hold onto the hope of tomorrow, He will grace us with incredible beauty. For you that beauty might have been found as the door finally opened to the hut where you were abandoned and then rescued. It might have been in those long walks around the compound to pick all of the flowers we could find. Or it might have been found when you gave your last breath in my arms and met Jesus in your forever home.

Missing you everyday.

Auntie Mary

  • July 2, 2015 - 2:44 pm

    kate - well, i’m crying now. this is beautiful. love your heart, love YOU.ReplyCancel

  • July 11, 2015 - 8:45 am

    Nessa - Wow, this was beautifully written. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to experience that loss, but you seem to have reached a place of peace with losing someone so young and innocent. I am in awe that you can see beauty after that, but it is possible as you have let your heart stay soft and open to God. May you have a blessed time in your new home that offers you precious memories of the past.ReplyCancel


For the last couple of weeks we have known that Thursday, June 25th would consist of my husband and I having a date night with Ed Sheeran at The Hollywood Bowl. Does anyone else love his music out there? I was quite excited to cuddle up and dance with JP to his sweet tunes while thousands of other Angelenos did the same. Then our good friend Drew asked us if we wanted to go see Rob Bell speak on his Everything is Spiritual tour instead. I do not have much experience with Rob besides recently starting to listen to his weekly podcast which I have been enjoying. After we weighed our evening event options, I knew in my heart we had to go see Rob in this intimate experience. I am so happy we did.

Something he touched on during his ummm…show/lecture/teaching/message…is we cannot ignore our past. His teaching started at the beginning of time and traveled through particles becoming atoms, atoms becoming molecules and molecules becoming cells which eventually became people after 13.8 billion years has passed. Rob said “the universe cannot ignore its own history and neither can you.” We are all made up of the history of the universe and of our own past. Everything we have gone through makes us who we are today.

As you know, I am pretty comfortable talking about my past. There are some things I am still sorting out that feel quite fragile but there are also other things I have grown to understand and learn from. Those lessons were dark. They weren’t easy. There were so many tears. Phone calls to my best friend where I just said the same things over and over. Self hatred and doubt. Insecurities and fears. Let me tell you what…the results of this time were the most beautiful.

Last night something was said that I couldn’t help but go “mmmhmmm” out loud.


“We generally tell stories about the dark matter, the unknown, the stuff that cannot be explained. That is what turns us into who we are.”- paraphrasing Rob Bell

There was talk about suffering and how there really is no prescription for it. Grieving needs to happen and it’s going to happen naturally and in its own way. No bible verse, baked goods or certain amount of counsel will declare you “healed.”

So why do we suffer? How do we handle it? I believe we suffer so we can relate. Do I want to talk about my divorce all the time? No. That is in the past but still the past makes me who I am. I am so grateful for my divorce. I have never felt so humble and relatable. I have found community in my despair. I remember feeling so alone through it all but the more I was able to tell my story, the more I realized there are so many people who have gone through this or ARE going through it. Now we have this bond we can relate on even if it is something that was once rooted out of our biggest fears.

 Be vulnerable in telling your own story. These things..the dark matter..the grief..this is what brings people together. We never know why we are going through something hard in the specific moment but when we meet someone who has also gone through it, it becomes more clear. I’m looking forward to speaking more about this in September at the Nine Retreat.


I am giving out ANOTHER $500 discount code for the retreat. If you missed last weeks post about this amazing event, click here to learn more. To enter to win this code all you have to do is declare a dark matter of yours in a comment. You don’t have to talk about it. Just declare it out loud. Maybe you have never said it out loud or maybe it’s something you are open about. If you have more than one, go for it…I know I do. The goal for this is to just see that you are not alone. You have gone through those things for a reason, as hard as it is to believe. Nothing is wasted. These things DO NOT define you but they have shaped you into the beautiful, strong woman you are today.

If I were to comment mine would be:

Divorce, Abuse, Cheating, Child Molestation and Body Image Issues

I will do the same as I did below by adding your emails to a random name generator and a winner will be picked next Friday!


Wow! I was so excited to see the response to my last post on the Nine Retreat. I really hope all of you ladies can come!!

Everyone who commented on wanting to attend names were put into an online name generator and I am so excited to share who won!

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Can’t wait to experience this retreat with you Elizabeth!

  • June 27, 2015 - 7:13 pm

    stephanie wright - self worth, anger, bitterness, rejection, sexual abuse.ReplyCancel

  • June 28, 2015 - 8:34 pm

    melissa - shame & inadequacyReplyCancel

  • June 28, 2015 - 9:20 pm

    Mindy Braun - Bullying, rejection, self worth, loneliness, bitternessReplyCancel

  • June 29, 2015 - 12:24 am

    M D - Not being good enoughReplyCancel


Dear resilient heart of mine,

Do you remember when we moved to Santa Monica? It was a time full of scary transitions and hopeful beginnings. Our friends invited us to stay in their charming yellow bungalow just blocks from the Pacific and it was our first time living on our own ever. You were pretty hurt. You had just been battered, broken and beat up. All of your fears had come to life. It took some time but I was holding onto hope believing in the fairy tale ending, enough for the both of us.

We rode our bike. Do you remember the mint green beach cruiser that our ex bought us for our 22nd birthday? It ended up getting stolen when we were living in Africa but during this season, it was our method of therapy. We would ride back and forth on the Santa Monica bike path listening to The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow album. Remember when we heard “To Whom It May Concern” for the first time? Oh man, I swear we listened to it at least 25 times the ride that we discovered it.

Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you are to be
How long will you make me wait?
I don’t know how much more I can take
I missed you but I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
How I do

This song was the beautiful bandage that wrapped you all up and started mending your pieces back together. It was everything to us at that time. It was an essay of love. A declaration of hope. A promise of redemption.

 Slowly counting down the days
Till I finally know your name
The way your hand feels round my waist
The way you laugh, the way your kisses taste
I missed you but I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
How I do

We might have held onto that declaration of hope a little too much. This was a season of searching. We searched our soul for whatever it desired and gave into all of it’s cravings. I have to apologize for that because I put you through even more. That bandage had to be administered a few more times and we even busted out some super glue once to help put the pieces that were shattered beyond belief back together. No matter what, there was always a tiny piece missing. They were left behind as  souvenirs of those brief moments in time.

I couldn’t help it, I have always been that hopeless of a romantic. Oh…but then we fell in love with Jesus.

That changed everything. It wasn’t about us searching anymore. It wasn’t about us fulfilling our own desires. Yes, we knew more than anything we wanted to be a wife and mother but it was so beautiful when we realized that it was all in God’s control. This allowed us to chase after dreams that we put on the back burner as we waited for “the one”. We so badly wanted our beloved to be in the picture before we took those first steps but it was time to place one foot forward. God whispered to us that “He was working on him” and would “bring him wherever we go”.

So we went but couldn’t help but dream of those promises being met on the red dirt roads of Uganda.

I’ve missed you but I haven’t met you
Oh how I miss you but I haven’t met you
Oh but I want to
Oh how I want to
Dear whoever you might be
I’m still waiting patiently

You were beating fast inside my rib cage and I was questioning if we should share this intricate piece of information with JP. I mean, it was our lifeline for a season but as we pulled into plaza for a slice of pizza on our very first road trip together, I pressed play. Hands were held. Tears danced down cheeks. Promises were delivered. Redemption had been made.

I want to promise the bandage will never be brought out again but that might be a lie. I’m sure we will need to wrap you up in it several more times throughout life but the best part is we don’t have to do it alone. We have an amazing Healer and a patient husband to help us pick up the pieces. No more solo beach cruising and bungalow living for us. If and when we ever listen to that song again,  we will be reminded of how God knows and delivers our most intimate desires.

Thank you for being strong enough for the both of us.


  • June 25, 2015 - 4:08 pm

    Kelsey - I’ve come across your Instagram many times before and have loved to see and read your posts, and for whatever reason I have never followed you. Recently though your beautiful posts have crossed my mind so I tried to remember your Instagram name. Of course I was searching for wandering with Lucy lol and then I remembered it was Mary! Anyhow, now that I’m officially following you, and went further on to read your blog, I just want to thank you for how uplifting and inspiring you are as a woman of God. You are such a reminder for me to look to God and get in the word. Being surrounded by people at work and in the daily life that don’t walk with Christ can be a little discouraging at times. It’s refreshing to read what you have to say. You are one of those people that make others say, “I want what she has, all that love and happiness, what is this Jesus thing she’s talking about?” If I could choose you as a friend in real life I totally would! Lol thank you again! :)ReplyCancel

  • June 27, 2015 - 7:25 pm

    stephanie wright - This is so beautiful!
    I LOVE your vulnerable heart.
    You have really encouraged me to write again to write about my story. I’ll always remember the post about the puzzle pieces.
    How we may only see a certain piece but God sees the whole picture. I’m in a season of transitions/ unknowns and I’ve been really hard on myself because I just don’t understand. Lets just say my heart has been really tender and I’m not the best at guarding it, or letting The Lord protect it. This post was really encouraging. Thank you Mary for everything!ReplyCancel