… the source

One thing I absolutely love to do is sit with the Lord. I love reading my Bible, I love pulling scriptures that settle my soul or ignite worship. I love reading stories of God’s faithfulness + commitment to and Christ’s love for the “us” of old, the “us” of now, and the “us” that is waiting to come. I love that he loves us in-spite of who we are in our sinfulness, our mistakes, our brokenness & the brokenness that comes out that disrupted space.

I love that He loves me.
and, in my time with the Lord I get to revel in his focus for me, his plans for me, and stretch out in the freedom of total acceptance. 

And, for a moment, mama….
I want you to think about you, too.

…. while you consider this scripture:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. 
Then, you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15: 13

Consider that when we are feeling overwhelmed from the laundry and dishes and taxi-ing.
When the current struggles in toddlerhood (I mean, childhood in general)
seem hopeless and never ending.
When there isn’t a man, a partner, and shoulder.
Or when the shoulder is struggling itself.
Or just being annoying.
When that something you’re dealing with is too much.

Trust that we have a hope. Then anchor yourself to it.
A source that deeply desires to fill us completely to overflowing.
The visual I get is a child planning to pour their own juice or milk.
They are excitedly anticipating  pouring their own juice from a heavy, full container.
And, if your kids are like mine, a little isn’t enough. That cup has to be full.
They are so confident and proud of carrying that container to the table (or spot on the floor, let’s be real) where they have strategically placed that small cup and begin to pour.
…. to overflowing.

Remember how God so beautifully gives us living and breathing examples that show us who he is.
Like our children, He is completely and utterly excited about us.
And, he desires greatly to pour out his peace and joy into our vessels.
To overflowing.
But not because he isn’t strong enough to carry the pitcher and control the pour.
The juice spilling over that small plastic cup, spending across the table, and dripping onto the floor isn’t an accident.
Or, when that cup is at the lowest possible point – on the floor – and tips over at the weight and speed of the pour and causes the milk to spread under the table, refrigerator, and across the floor…  it didn’t happen because someone wasn’t being monitored.
It was, like my girls say, “on purpose.”

The overflow out of the cup.
The cup tipping over.
The juice spreading across the table and under the fridge.
The Chik-Fil-A lemonade wasted on the floor leaving a sticky mess
is all a very intentional act to:
1. allow us to feel (fill?) his love.
2. equip us
3. share

But, we cannot do that if we aren’t allowing ourselves to be filled and healthy.

Devotionals are incredible spaces to reflect and are an awesome tool to help you learn more about who God is. Books are my love language. They are full of wisdom, perspective, and testimony.
But, the Word of God should be our foundation, everything else a reference that supports the Word.

Fill yourself up on the Word.
Eat your dinner first. Snacks and dessert come later.
Let’s get to the know the person and not just inhale the chatter we hear others speaking.

Be well so that you can live well. Think well. Speak well. Endure well.

If you know my older two…. if you’d had the absolute pleasure of meeting them, you will immediately recognize that they are happy and joyful. Actively happy and joyful. They love each other and love the Lord.

I have been immensely blessed by a couple at my church who just have taken to my family. They spoke incredible life into me as a mother, provider, and woman for an hour after church last Sunday.

And, that conversation boiled down to this:
“Your children are as happy, beautiful, and incredible as they are because of who you are.”
Now, yes, while they all have incredibly present fathers and family who pour into them…..
Me, as their mother, impact and shape them in ways that other people do not and cannot.

And, my friends are right.
And, the same is for you mama.

What we pour into our hearts and minds is going to overflow onto your family, work space, friend spaces, and impact the stain we leave behind. Even water leaves an outline.

The impact I leave can stress me out. I can worry so much about the outcome that I’m hustling to be (read: look, sound, respond, speak, create, earn) the best and what “right” and “successful” looks like to the masses, to myself, to my children at any given point that I do not allow the Lord space to reign and work.

Wine doesn’t work hard to stain.
Chick-fil-a lemonade doesn’t try to be sticky.
It just is because of the ingredients it is made of.

Same for us.When we allow the Lord to fill us to overflowing, we become new creatures daily.
When we fill our hearts and mind with truth – in written word, music, encouragement from our people – we pour out that truth and life giving words.

And, because it’s no secret that I supplement and balancing + fueling my body has made an incredible difference in my emotional and physical health.
When we are not physically and emotionally well, we cannot be all that we are called to be.
YES. I can be loving even though I’m constipated and poop once a week.
YES! I can serve well with high blood pressure.
YES. I can be productive as I battle through exhaustion daily.
Yeeeees, I can be present and attend all the events and still snap on my kids and
have horrible mood swings.
I’m still going to heaven even when stress, anxiety, and depression are daily battles.
But, what quality of life is that?
Especially when we are called to be love.
We can’t be love and feel like crap at the same time.

Like many of you, I have to operate at a high level and under great stress daily.
There is no one at this house to shoulder a thing.
But, even if that isn’t the case, how I feel impacts my responses, my thoughts, and productivity.

I thought that the issues I was struggling with were just “a part of life as Alaina” and this is what it was.
Those issues aren’t an issue anymore. My responses aren’t the same.

And, I am the mama and woman I am because Jesus is mending + strengthening my heart
and Plexusis healing my gut and balancing my hormones.

The Lord delights in you, mama.
He wants to comfort you, encourage you.
Lift up your head and strengthen you.
He longs for time with you,
to be the source that fills you to overflowing.
For you. Just for you.
Just because he loves you so much.
Just so that you can be filled with him.
AND, so that you can be a source of love that points back to Him.


… the beauty of freedom

I love next to nothing  more (besides Jesus) than I love a fresh hair cut.
And, next to no one I talk to (who knew me pre-fade) can hardly comprehend this chop.
But, let me tell you….. It’s been one of the best acts of self care that I’ve done for myself in years.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who pressed me about cutting my hair.
The same responses were given that had been repeated for nearly two years.
This is the thing:
That answer was repeated almost verbatim (mainly because I legit practiced the response) because I knew I’d be questioned, I knew those questions would come hard and fast, semi-judgmental and I wanted to be prepared.

Prepared to defend doing what I wanted for myself.
Defend something that affected no one else.
Isn’t that… interesting?

However, I believe the core of choosing to chop all of my beautiful, long, and thick hair off was dug up and unearthed a week ago.

My hair was cut lower than it had ever been and I then dyed it rose gold.
And, I loved it. The color has since grown out a bit, but I love this look. I love the cut.

I felt beautiful.
I felt free.
And, that’s when it dawned on me.

While yes, I cut my hair because I did not have the time nor want to spend 3-4 hours every other week washing/conditioning/twisting | sit for 3 days (super inconvenient) | untwist every morning (15-30 mins every morning) | retwist at night (30-45 mins) | toss in a  puff for a week…… my hair was damaged, breaking, thinning and completely unhealthy and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

Not to mention the girls destroyed the house/their room while I was trying to do all of this. It was stressful, induced anxiety, and was insanely frustrating. Combining the the hours it spent washing/braiding/combing Rhy & Lo’s hair, the last thing I wanted to do was do my own hair. While all of that is true…..

I cut my hair because it’s my hair. on my head. that only I have to deal with and I wanted to.

And, I have never felt more beautiful and at peace with who I am or my appearance. 

One thing I cannot do is bend and confirm to another person’s idea and perspective of what is
beautiful, acceptable, or attractive.

Which is one main reason I value my singleness.
When we are married we sort of have to (or it will greatly benefit us to) take into consideration
our partner’s likes or dislikes and if your goal is submission, to fall under their leadership
and go with their final say.

However, as a single woman……
No one else’s preferences are taken into account when it comes to what I like for me (tattoos/cuts/color/piercings), what I need and what is best for me (from the supplements I need to take in order for me to feel my best to a new ______),
or how I choose to do anything.

My body. My hair. My choices. 
Especially since none of these things are affecting/hurting/harming another human.

(This likely isn’t a mindset you should take on as a wife….)
I cannot give someone that much power over me, that much say over what I do for my own emotional, physical, or mental health. I cannot allow someone else to control how I want to wear my hair, and live in their box of what they like or feel is attractive.
I can’t lose or dishonor who I am and what I need for another person.
or their ever fleeting and changing thoughts.

“You can’t cut your hair!”
“That was a bad idea….”
“Why would you want to do that to yourself?”
“You are going to grow it back, right?”
“What are you doing?”

Limiting, short sighted, fearful, and judgmental thoughts and ideas imposed on another person.. for what?

I love the freedom of experimenting with length and now color.
I love the freedom of not being held back by my very own fears or being limited due to another
person’s struggle with what other people will say, think, or feel.
I love that fear does not reign here.
I love that taking chances and calculated risks are a huge
aspect of living a full life of no regrets.

At the end of the day, our lives are about no one but Christ and if he isn’t offended… why are you allowing someone else’s preferences dictate your life?

Join the MLM (they aren’t the devil and we can chat about the best one when you’re ready).
Take the supplements. Travel. Take the kids with you.
Be bold in that space. Have the convo. Take the lesson. Take the job.
Go back to school.Don’t go back to school.
Trust the Lord and do the things, above all else.

“… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things and the God of peace will be with you…….”
Philippians 4:8

That scripture there is the standard and barometer. 
Do I miss my curls?
Were they absolutely beautiful?
And, hot. Also, very hot.

But, that season is over.
I don’t regret a moment of chopping my relaxed hair to embrace my natural hair.
I don’t regret a moment of chopping my natural curls and wearing a fade.

Look at me.
Joy, peace, & happiness rest here.
Fear doesn’t reign.
Boxes and limits don’t exist.
Just freedom.
Embracing opportunity.
Trusting the Lord.
Raising these babies.
Serving others.
And, enjoying each day of this life.
Yes, it’s full of trouble,
but it’s also full of so much grace, goodness, and promises
of comfort, a future + hope, and abundance.

The more I allow myself to step out of my comfort zone, follow the steps the Lord is
laying before me (as confusing and uncomfortable as they may be),
the more I experience just that.

Hey, girl, hey.
My name is Alaina.
I am not bound by fear, limits, boxes, or my own comfort zone.
And, let me tell you, that thing you’re afraid of doing…
isn’t your obstacle.
What’s holding you back is how you think of yourself and who you believe you are.
That’s it.
I love the own versatility.
I love my growth.
My bravery.
That smile.
This season of life.
My openness to change, possibility, and the unknown.
My beauty.
Fully recognized.
Fully embraced.
Unconditionally loved.

Go be great, sis.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Song of Songs 4: 7 


… to be like you

Our creator is brilliant isn’t he?

I mean, he specifically created creations to worship him. Nature (sun, moon, ocean, our gut health + its impact on our overall health) and the our very nature causes us to know him and to worship him. God is relational and because we are made in his image, we deeply crave relationships, as well. And, him being his all knowing self and so dang on intentional about us getting him, he allowed two relationships to demonstrate his deep, unending love for us:

1. marriage
2. parenting

These relationships are both rooted within the family… a unit based on what is supposed to be the forever commitment between a husband and a wife that mirrors God’s forever commitment to us, the relationship between Christ and the church first within their home, then those mirrors shared with their world. That husband and wife unit are to mirror the role of Heavenly Father to their children. Those two roles are heavy and hard in their impact and duty, but God’s grace is sufficient and his forgiveness is efficient and forever (because we need it that way, amen?) to enable us to carry out that model.

One of the ways the Lord has revealed himself to me over the past few months is in how he is a father, and he has challenged me greatly as a mama and as his daughter. Who we are as individuals and how we respond to our children as earthly parents will absolutely dictate how our children think about and relate to the world and Lord. Does our abundant way of thought teach our children that the Lord truly has good things stored up for them and is willing to… delights in.. blessing them in abundance, with overflow? Do we teach them that they have worth simply because of who & whose they are and not for what they do? or how they behave? Do we teach them that they deserve good things? Do we pour positive affirmations and belief in them that’s rooted in the Word and tells them that they can do all things and excel? Do we show them that we delight in giving to them just as the Lord delights in us or do our actions tell them not to ask for anything? Do we model listening and hearing the way we tell them the Lord does? ugh. Do we freely give or does scarcity in thought keep our fists clinched and calendar schedules and when/what we give centered around our own wants and conveniences because we don’t believe there is enough time, enough money, enough ____ to share with others?

Y’all, it’s hard. It’s heavy. And, this is where I’ve been challenged.
It sucks because I have plenty of reasons why I can’t, don’t, shouldn’t have to, etc.
But, gracious it has been so fulfilling and beneficial and sweet.

Parenting is as much fun as it is hard. Some days it’s a lot more fun, yet some days you’ve got to force some fun to shake off the hard. But, if there’s nothing else that teaches us about the overwhelming burst our heart, protect to death sort of love the Lord has for us it is parenting.

The way we love our children should show us the depth & recklessness of his love for us and and observing the way our children respond to us is the most incredible example of  how trusting we ought to be of Him. I mean, can we talk about how natural those two acts are? Without a second thought as parents we give and forgive, surprise and plan well, provide and protect, correct and guide.

If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven (as perfect as he is) give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him? 
Matthew 7:11 AMP

And, our children… especially our babies… are the best examples of how we should engage and interact with God. I mean, do they literally not open their mouths every time we move anything towards their face? And, do they not grab for whatever it is we have? They have no idea what it is we are feeding them, but they know that if we have it, it is also theirs and it is good for them (usually, ahem). But they have a natural instinct to receive what is offered to them…  until they are full. Then, they look for us again with expectation that their needs will be met when they’re hungry again. Is that not the must trusting act? They know that when they have a need there is someone they can go to who always provides for them without question. whoa. Without question, they trust us that much. They search for us, cling, when something is pulling us away from them they protest with a ferocity that breaks our hearts. They want us. The way that we should search for and protest about separation from our God…….

sweet right? Ugh, yea. Warms your heart.

….. Until we talk about how we receive them when they come looking. Not at pick up from school, that’s cute and sweet. But, when we’re at the park and siblings are fighting… or when they are pumped about showing us something after a really long day and we just want to get in the house! … or the bed. Are we pointing them to Jesus in our responses?

Parenting these little people who initially can do nothing for themselves who then grow into these small people who say (repeat!) the sassiest things is mind blowing … it’s even crazier that the Lord gave us (entrusted us) with the responsibility to mold and shape these little people who mirror us to be little mirrors of Him. So deep.

They come as blank little white boards and we are these markers that write info on them. We give them our limits, our mindsets, our triggers, our responses.. from the moment they are conceived we are writing on their hearts……. from the moment they’re born, we’re giving them a foundation and beliefs they will stand on for years and years to come. But, not with good, fresh out of the pack Expo markers… with awful where-did-you-get-these markers that don’t fully erase. No matter how hard we try to erase or what we spray on that board… it’s not coming off. Who we are, how we think, how we live out what we say we believe is written on those little boards.

I have been so blessed to make the sweetest friend and we talk regularly though motherhood and lifehood…. and all the things. And, in our convo it is like we have our arms around each other, facing Jesus. Supporting, sharing, empathizing, sharing scripture, and videos with each other as we look to Jesus. And, it has been incredible. She and our relationship has been the real life “grace is sufficient” during this AH-HA, real life lesson of real-life learning another attribute of who the Lord is and who he is calling me to be in my home. We were chatting late into night a few days ago, both of us in the throws of exhaustion but up late because we’re working while simultaneously trying to get some quiet alone time as it’s the ONLY time we have to ourselves, and after she communicates my heart in how she’s feeling she says, “We were given all of these commands [to love, serve, care for our families etc] and it’s so hard…. but we can be so focused on the command that we lose sight of The Commander.” MIC DROP. Whoa, right?

The Lord has commanded us to love, forgive, seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly, to give,  develop fruits of the Spirit… but he never expected us to do any of these things in our own strength. He never expected us to work so hard doing anything he told us to do that it makes us miserable and our homes to display the complete opposite of who he is…. he never wanted us to focus so tough on the commands that we stop focusing on Him. That focus reminds us to cast our cares, gives us the ability to endure, teaches us how to do the things he’s called you to do, discloses wisdom and discernment, allows us to forgive… The work is still difficult, but we are no longer hustling for an outcome or trying to obey the command. We are focused on Christ, walking in freedom and faith as our relationship with him changes us so that we are fulfilling the commands by being, not doing.  We aren’t trying to make an unforgiving heart speak kindly to someone. Nope. Not focused on the common and checking off a box.  But, we are giving our hard hearts and hurts to Jesus, he heals and softens it and then we are able to act in love and kindness because of the changes Christ is making within us.

“Dwell in me, and I will dwell in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from me (cut off from vital union with Me) you can do nothing.”
John 15:4-5 AMP

Tough road, but blessed. So sweet and fulfilling.

What has the Lord been teaching you recently?