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Thursday, March 20, 2014

CA wardrobe, meet WA.

When we first even started talking about moving from sunny CA to Bellingham WA, one of my thoughts was, "what will I wear?" No joke. That is a legitimate concern for all girls on a regular basis, let alone when you are completely changing climates. It's cold and rainy here and I was used to needing mainly tank tops and shorts for at least half the year in Clovis. It was a serious adjustment to be made in my wardrobe without breaking the bank. 

We decided on doing one big jacket each at first to get us there, then we could adjust or add as needed. We both went with The North Face & are both extremely happy with them. We had to have a hood and keep us California natives warm without looking like puff balls, we're trying to blend in here after all.

I got the Lola Soft Shell Trench in black.
Josh got the Momentum TriClimate 3 in 1 also in black.

So far the weather has been amazing in Bellingham and I have been surprised how well my clothes work here. I have always loved coats, boots, and big sweaters and now I am finally getting to put all of them to good use! I have been layering my loose chunky sweaters with a fitted plain long sleeve for warmth. Wearing a lot of scarves, big surprise. My favorite has been my infinity scarf my friend Jamie knit me (on in the above pictures). And a beanie for rainy days with second day hair...or just because.

One of my funnest purchases has been my furry Army North Face boots. I found them, never been used, at a consignment store in downtown Fairhaven. I am so excited about this place, their owner is picky about what they bring in and she gets most of it from Seattle so it's higher end quality stuff. I even found a nice big Lululemon fleece there too! But what I love about my boots is that they are not at all what I was thinking I wanted, but they are so fun and add so much to my outfit, whether it be running to breakfast with Josh or going on a hike. To top it off they were only $45.

Ever since we made it official that we were moving to a climate that rains a ton, I finally had the reason I needed to buy myself some Hunter wellies. I could never justify them in CA where it rains about 4 times a year. They are literally a necessity to me these days. I was lucky enough to find a pair on sale at REI recently for $95 instead of their usual $150 at Nordstroms.

I am going to try to get better about posting more about what I am wearing and where I am finding great stuff. Hope you enjoyed a peak in my closet!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

my heart part two

Part 2 : My Testimony

Here's the thing about being 18, its tough. I remember feeling like a little tiny fish in a big fat ocean. Not knowing who I am or what I want. Trying to figure all this out and becoming an adult is so much pressure. I remember it was about this time that I was partying a lot, drinking almost every night and just being young, wild, and free. And it was fun for a while, until I really realized I had gotten nowhere in my search for who I was or what I wanted. I felt empty and alone in a room full of people, some of my favorite people, and I still felt the ache for more. Honestly, I started going to church as another social event. Technically speaking, I had come to Christ when I was 12 at a Billy Graham concert, though I had no idea what that meant. Even then, I had this deep desire to be a part of something. I think to an extent, that was always a drive for a lot of things for me. Thankfully though, God knew how to use that for good.

I was a very typical girl who just wanted to fit in, always wanted to be liked and be popular. In so many ways, I have always been a natural born leader, but in so many other ways I am just such a follower. I especially struggled with this in jr high and high school. In Clovis, being a Christian was cool, so that really made me want to be a part of this whole youth group business. I bounced around to a couple places where I would try to be good and do everything I should. Inevitably I would mess up though and be too embarrassed to go back. Once I realized I wasn't good at this whole being a Christian thing, I decided I would just be a good person and find something I was good at. I was good at partying. I instantly felt cooler when I drank and dressed scantily. I was getting that affirmation from everyone that I had craved. At some point, you stop feeling guilty too. In the beginning, don't get me wrong, I was so scared of getting caught, but somewhere along the way, that fear disappeared. My rebellious streak made my new lifestyle that much easier.

Further down the road though, I realized that the affirmation I had been receiving, was conditional. The worst thing about wordly love is that it always wants more from you and ultimately it's empty. Thats what I felt, empty. I hated who I had become in so many ways, but I was too afraid of failure again. That's when I started going to The Well. I loved it. I felt welcome as I was, but that I was meant for more, that where I was then wasn't a reflection of who I truly am. I am a child of the one true God. It was a slow, painful, joyful, messy road to being freed from the pile of sin I had been living in. I would love to say it was easy, but it wasn't. Sin knows your name and calls you back to your depravity. But Jesus never leaves. He was patient & persistent with making me see myself as he saw me the day I gave my life to Him, washed white as snow. Most of us who have walked on the wild side and seen the depths of our depravity cling to those words, because how can a holy God see me as pure? But He does.

In June of 2010, I chose to make my love & commitment to Christ public. I love this great candid of me being baptized by my pastor Jared Rumley & my sister Cait.

The struggle to fully forgive others who had wronged me or hurt me was difficult, but ultimately it was me that I needed to forgive. The struggle to forgive myself for all the years of mistakes and things I had regretted was gut wrenching and humbling. It broke me. That was the time in my life that I really found out who Jesus is. He had already forgiven me, for all my sins past and present. It was only through really diving deep into God's word did I fully grasp who Jesus truly was, what the cost of sin was and how it had already been paid. I was missing that root of truth in my life, I had fallen in love with God's written word, giving me the compass for my soul that the world could never give me. Rooted in love, through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in me, healing each piece of my broken heart. It was then that I realized my beauty and strength in being who I was in Christ.

I am so thankful for the way that The Lord works. I have learned that there is no time for regret or shame, because God uses our mistakes for good. He is the only redeemer who can set you free from your past. Through the pain of my journey, God has used it to come alongside other girls just like me, speaking promises of redemption. It has given me a heart and understanding for struggling to find who you are, what you stand for, and the battle of self that it takes to surrender your life daily to live as Christ has called us to.

There is beauty & strength in humility. What I was hoping to show through all of this is that I humbly proclaim Christ's work in my life. That His strength can be shown in all of my weakness and the power of healing that the Holy Spirit & The Bible holds. 

Thank you for your love and support as I share my heart.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

my heart part one

Part 1
I started writing one night, and my testimony just started coming out. And then I started to really think about where God has led me to now. I have been adding to it here and there, processing through it all has been wonderfully humbling. Without further a due... Here is some deep insight into my heart, where God has saved me from and led me to.

Josh and I, along with a group of our friends, started a life group to do just that, do life as a group. We really wanted to set aside a chunk of time twice a month to make sure that we had quality time together. Something we really wanted to do was share our testimonies, to really bond and see where we have all been and where God has taken us. I personally, love testimonies.  I love to hear about how God reached each one of us and how we were lead to salvation. Our God is so personal and knows how to appeal to each man and woman. We are all different, we are all created that way, and God knows our hearts. I love that! Hearing about the choices we made leading up to the ultimate choice of choosing Christ back is unique and beautiful. 

Naturally, I was willing to share my testimony the first meeting, along with another leader Mark. I have really only ever told my full testimony one other time, so I am, by no means, a pro at this. I would say that I am a good story teller, but I am also very emotional, so I fight tears back as I talk. Any way, as I was telling this crazy story I have lived and talking about my failures, I realized I heard one thing; that God loved me. He loved me so much it hurt. His redemptive powers are glorified in every flaw and mistake I made. He didn't ever leave me. He was right there next to me whispering His promises. The Lord is resilient beyound belief! I mean trust me, I flat out ignored him for a long time. I ran from Him. Which is reallly hysterical, who runs from the almighty, all knowing, loving, gracious God calling you to holyness?? Me. Thats who. Because what the hell would that God want with me? I had given up on myself, lost myself in my insecurties and regret. Luckily, God reminded me that He makes beauty from ashes and makes old things new. That is kind of His thing, he's a pro at taking the broken and making them whole in Him.

My journey wasn't a magical overnight transition into being some wonderful cookie cutter Christian, I am still not that. What I have found along the way though has truly simplified what my life is. My life is not my own. There is so much simplicity in letting Christ live in you. It is not easy, it's a daily sacrifice, but it is simple. The simplest form of what it truly means to be a Christian, is to be a follower of Jesus. To fall in love with who Jesus Christ is, believe Him to be the Son of God, and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. The freedom that comes in living for Christ and not for self is incredible. That is what my journey has brought me to, freedom. In Christ I am free.  

I let a lot of the church's influence dictate my early years of being a follower and what I thought I should look like. Which is really me at the root of all my insecurity, I really just wanted to fit in again. I really wanted to be accepted. What has finally revolutionized and simplified my daily walk, is that I want to know God more than I want to look like I know God. I don't want to love Him because of His blessings and say what I should to look like I know God. I want to know Jesus so that I can be more like Him. How do you love and follow a God you do not know? I have found how true it is that to know Jesus is to love Him. I have truly fallen more and more in love with who God is and it has completely changed my life. I have finally let my heart rest in who I truly am in Christ, instead of trying to earn His love and look good to everyone else.

My journey is just that, a journey towards becoming less like myself and more like Christ. I believe in the gift that it is to share our stories and journeys openly, and that means sharing my journey too. My next post I am looking forward to sharing my testimony!



Tuesday, January 28, 2014

deeper than my feet could ever wander.

There have been some huge life changes going on over here at the Warren household. My sweet and talented husband was offered a job as a graphic designer at Logos Bible Software in December just before Christmas. We were not searching for a job, but The Lord had bigger plans than us! I am so incredibly proud of my best friend for not only his talent, but his willing brave heart. Logos is in Bellingham, WA... so making this decision to uproot and take this journey was not something we took lightly. We recently took our first trip up there to decide if it was the right decision for our little family.

The amazing thing is, the journey to this point alone, has already deepened and strengthened our faith by leaps and bounds. I have never prayed more than I have lately. Not just for what God was doing with the job and all that, but for my husband. Praying my husband is something I have really been trying to grow deeper in. Not just a quick prayer at night before bed or prayer when he asks for it. I want to be praying for that man more than I pray for myself. I want to pray for him more than I pray for anyone. The Lord gave me such comfort and removed my stress and anxiety over these huge decisions. I trusted Him in a whole new way. Through that, I was able to trust Josh entirely and watch him lead us into this next chapter that God has so clearly laid before us. Ladies, marry a man that loves the Lord, you will never stop falling in love with him when he is in love with the God that you love with your whole heart. 

There are a few key times that I can look back and remember a strong feeling of God moving in a big way in my life. They were all huge turning points; calling me to the cross, calling me to follow Him, marrying Josh... I remember just knowing in my heart, feeling the Spirit move me. That's what I felt when we were in Bellingham. Everything I came to The Lord with about being unsure of, asking Him to provide, He showed up. Its truly amazing what God will do when you are bold enough to ask Him to answer your questions. He is not afraid to answer you, you just have to be willing to hear His answer. There Jesus reminded me, once again, to trust in Him. He affirmed me in every fear I had and showed me that He is so much bigger than anything I could ever fear. He has our back.

So here we go! This crazy new chapter, taking us to a state we never thought we would live in, in a town I had never heard of, and for a company that couldn't be more perfect for my husband. Our lives are about to change forever, and that's terrifying. But I also know that Jesus would not be calling me out onto the water if he didn't have a plan.

 The song "Oceans" by Hillsong has been on repeat in my head and on my stereo. My faith has already been made stronger and I have seen and felt the presence of my Savior. What else could a girl need? Friends? Family? Those things are the gut wrenching part of leaving to follow these dreams. There are not a enough words in this world to describe the way I feel about my family and friends. I am beyond blessed to have friends that have become my family, and a family that truly is my best friends. Distance or time cannot touch these relationships in my heart. And when the weight of missing them becomes too much, Jesus reminds me of his promises to me, that his plans are for good and to prosper. He is enough. 

I am sure the next months and maybe even year, will be hard, and we will struggle at times. Please send us your prayers and love as we start this new chapter! We are so excited to see where our lives are headed and what is in store for us. Thank you guys for all of your love and support :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mullins2 + Oh What Joy

Josh and I are lucky to have such great friends that also happen to have pretty cool jobs. One of my best friends, Kim Bimat owns a vintage rental company, Oh What Joy! , renting out some of the cutest even decor you have ever seen. Their inventory ranges from vintage suitcase and couches all the way to church pews.  We were lucky to get to be a part of her collaboration with one of our other good friends, Ellie Mullins, the cutest half of the father daughter photography team Mullins2 . Like I said, we got really lucky. 

Here are some of our favorite shots. 

Monday, November 4, 2013


This year I did two pretty big adventurous things, out of my comfort zone, and all I had to do was say yes. I got to go Great White shark diving in Mexico and I ran a half marathon, both of which are entirely outside my comfort zone. Both of the adventures were presented to me around the same time, and this crazy part of me told me, I have to do these things. I want to live a full life, a life full of stories with both pain and triumph. You don't get those kind of stories or experiences by not living an adventurous life. So I said yes.

Don't get me wrong, I had to say yes over and over again, especially while training for the half marathon. Everyday for months I had to say yes, and many a days I failed. Then the next day I got up and tried again. There were a handful of times I wanted to just quit, but really I didn't want to quit, I just didn't want to run that day. What I have truly learned to love about running is how it is a testament to your own strength and journey. A mile is a mile, no one can take it from you. And then there is the fact that you never really want to run, or if you do, its short lived. Until you are out there, and you are almost done, and you are amazed at what you can accomplish if you really try. I love how I feel after a run. I just did something I either didn't think was possible or didn't want to do and it's only 7 am. I achieved my biggest goals from running this half, I finished the race at my goal time and I became a runner out of it. Halfs might not be what I choose to run from here on out, but I will forever be a runner after this. All because, when a friend asked me, I said yes.

Sharks on the other hand, are a whole other version of scary. God, I am so scared of them. I have been scuba diving since I was 12, and yes, I have seen plenty of sharks, but nothing scares the crap out of me still like a shark. Namely though, the Great White shark. Obviously. We are all universally afraid of these apex predators. And of course, shark week does and then again doesn't help that fear at all. This year when my dad was unable to go on his anniversary trip with my step mom due to tearing his Achilles' tendon, Laura asked me to take his place. We would be a doing a live aboard dive ship in the Guadeloupe Islands diving 4 times a day in cages with Great Whites. As much as I wish I was brave enough to just say yes right away, I was pretty scared out of my mind. I couldn't even imagine the first jump into the water. I knew how bummed my dad was that he couldn't go, he and my step mom are fearless, this was their dream. And Josh kept encouraging me. Ok, fine, yes, I'll go.

Here we go! First dive! 

Crap, here we go. I had talked to my family, friends, and clients about my trip, people either thought I was straight out of my mind or were so jealous of how lucky I was. I'll be the first to say that I am both. Their encouragement and prayers though, I swear is what I accredit my overwhelming peace with. The day came where we finally jumped in, and of course, what are the odds that I was on the first dive and first one in the water??? I was. Like a badass. I went in, cold, but so at peace and just excited to see some sharks. Which I did. Right away. Two right bellow me. Then another two. The size of a small bus going by. This continued for the next 3 dives that day and the next 3 following days. It was one of the most amazing and wonderful experiences of my life. Laura and I had the time of our lives. I will forever be thankful that in this turn of events that I got to go on that trip and that I got that special time just me and Laura. We met some great people, swapped dive stories, life stories, took a ton of pictures, ate some yummy food, and lived a full life that week. Because I said yes. I am so thankful.

Those creepy beady eyes.

Their size is amazing, you can't believe it, even in person.

Cage selfie.

Doesn't he look like Bruce from Nemo?

Look how big he is next to the two story cage!!!

Selfie with a Great White, check.

Can I also say that I didn't zoom at all taking these pictures. That is how close they really came.

 I could go on and on about all the stories and encounters, but just know that it really was as crazy, scary, exhilarating, and amazing as you think it would be. I can only hope that I get to do it again someday with my dad, Laura, Josh and my sister Cait so we can all experience it together. I highly recommend this being on your bucket list. While on the topic of bucket list, I highly recommend you have one, and start pursuing it now. Life is so short, so fragile, and so precious. Live the life you want, to the fullest, with your loved ones, and enjoy every second of it. 

That is a small glimpse into what saying yes has taught me this year! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Brielle June by Karissa Yeager.

Here is another guest blog I have been saving up! One of mine & Josh's bestest friends, match maker extraordinaire, fellow blogger, wife and mom to the most beautiful girl, Brielle June, Mrs Karissa Yeager. Karissa & her husband Jake's story of how their sweet Brielle made our life so much bigger and better is amazing. I am so thankful to have witnessed the power of this story first hand and now share it with the world alongside them. 

Jake grew up across the street from Josh in Coalinga. Instant best buds. Jake started dating Karissa sophomore year of high school and the rest is history. Josh, Jake & Karissa have always been best friends, and I knew Karissa from my best friend Kate, who was also from Coalinga.  Kate moved to Clovis just before I did - thank God, or I would have been friendless for the better half of 6th and 7th grade and missed out on one of the best friendships I have to this day. Any way, as Josh and I look back on the countless times that we could have met, we just laugh. God had such a bigger and better plan, with perfect timing that would sweep us both off our feet. Karissa actually messaged me a legitimate list of "10 reasons to date my best friend Josh" ... they were really good reasons. Both of us were not ready to be set up, and of course we just happened to run into each other at church a couple weeks later. The rest, is history. 

Both Kate & Karissa knew we would fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. Really though, none of us knew the blessing that our friendship would grow into. Karissa has truly become a sister to me, funny because we do look freakishly alike, but also, because our boys really are brothers. I couldn't ask for a better couple to share our crazy adventures through life with and have sleep overs with at any age. We shared the same joy as we both got our first babies, their Chocolate Lab Gatsby and our Pit / Aussie mix Greyson. And then, just before we were gonna tie the knot, we found out Jake & Karissa were pregnant. I'll let her take it from here...

Karissa Yeager

it's kind of amazing how this bitty six pound, fifteen ounce life can rock your world, can explode your heart, can make you suddenly feel God stronger than ever before.

after march 9th, 2013 at 10:17pm, there was no going back. i was done for.

Brielle June is precious because we all are, but Brielle June is precious because she is a beautiful testimony to God's love and power and to my love and humility.

on june 24, 2012 my sweet husband and i found out we were pregnant. that moment was magic. i'm talking a moment when the world gets blurry and your legs get jiggly, and you just wanna stop time and soak up every last drop of life's sweetness. on july 2nd, 2012 we were told that the baby was gone. the pregnancy was no good. i don't remember much more than crumbling. my legs got jiggly again, but the kind of jiggly that knocks you out cold. i felt my heart crush, my back buckle. i leaned over, short of breath and sobbed. i felt betrayed, by God and my own body. i felt broken. i felt guilty.

on july 3rd, 2012 i was wheeled into the OR and i received a D&C. i just felt wrong. i felt wrong everywhere about everything. i was desperate to get a do-over. i remember pleading with God inside my head. i was desperate to be a mama. i was pleading to Him. please, Lord. someday make me a mama. that day was awful, and so were the days that followed. i remained tired, sad, and bitter.

on july 11th, 2012, found myself clinging to God, my husband, and any last bit of strength i had left. we were in the emergency room at UC San Diego Medical Center. my pathology reports had come back with no fetal tissue. blood tests confirmed i was still pregnant...somewhere. my doctor suspected a tubal pregnancy. so there i sat. more terrified than i had ever been before. more exhausted. more angry. more helpless. i wanted my home, my mom, and my ovaries. i wanted a baby, for goodness sake. i still wanted that baby, and i just felt like i was never going to recover from any of the nightmare that my life was at that moment.

after hours of waiting, we were taken into a room, given an ultrasound, taken into another room, visited by a doctor, and it was there that i witnessed the biggest miracle of my life.

my stomach gets fluttery and my mind gets foggy just thinking about. the doctor told me that i was still pregnant. that the baby was alive, in my uterus. the baby was alive, and healthy, inside of me, right where it belonged.

doctors and nurses flooded in with nothing to tell me except that there was no explanation for what happened. it was simply a miracle. a beautiful miracle.

on march 9th, 2013 at 10:17pm i heard that sweet cry. she was here. my sweet and precious baby was here. i wanted her so badly. i pleaded for her. i pleaded, begged, prayed. now she is here.

there is no going back. she has my heart. i will never, ever be the same again. i love her so much it hurts me. i cry for her because i love her so. sometimes a lump forms in my throat when i hug her. when her cold, smooth, squishy cheek rests on my shoulder, when my lips touch her fuzzy head, when her body goes limp against mine. when she is completely at peace, completely content with my love and protection, thats when she gets me. it's moments like that that i am constantly longing for.

from the moment she became mine, God made sense. it's those moments when i'm down on my knees, when i'm reading those scriptures, when i'm loving that neighbor, and i'm completely at peace, completely content with His love and protection, that's when i get Him. that is what he is longing for.

i will never understand how much He loves me, how much He loves us. i can't even grasp how much i love her.

Brielle is a horrible napper, and sleeper in general. i have bruises on my arm from where she has pinched me. and more often than not, she pees everywhere the second i undo her diaper. regardless, my love for her is unconditional in the purest way. pinch all you want, little girl. pee on my favorite dress. never nap again. i love you.

and God is the same to us.

i sin. always. i am a gossiper, liar, and thief. but i am a child of God and to Him that is enough. i am pure and clean and precious.

i often think about the fact that one day Brielle will be 15. one day Brielle will want to dye her hair, to date someone we might not approve of, to listen to some music we can't understand. i will love her just the same, i can promise that. but i can also promise that she will forever be my six pound, 15 ounce perfect gift from God. she will be that answered prayer, that miracle that i will never deserve. she will always be that first cry, that sweet toothless smile, that girl that never naps. she will always be that fake cougher, that boob lover, that giggler at Gatsby, her chocolate lab. she will always be perfect. i will forever hold on to her innocence and purity.

i am so thankful that God made me a mama. i am more thankful that God made me a mama to Brielle June. she is everything i have always dreamed of. she has made mine and Jake's life richer than we ever imagined.

above all my gratitude and thanksgiving, i am humbled and blessed by God's love for me.

give thanks to the God in Heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever. psalm 136: 26

To follow Karissa and her gorgeous family, check out her blog !! 
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