By: Jennifer Murray

Steps Forward

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Today I stepped back in the coffee shop I visited on the morning we got that Monday morning jaw-dropping positive surprise. I was able to walk in without tears, without anxiety, without heaviness, and without despair.

This winter has been such a stark contrast to last. There’s sunshine where there was once darkness. There’s more joy than sorrow. There’s scars where there were once open wounds.

“God always seems bigger to those who need him the most. And suffering is the tool he uses to help us need him more.” – Joni Earickson Tada 

It wasn’t the road I would have chosen for us, and I am far from comprehending the reasons. We like most who haven’t experienced this type of pain were blind to it. But through it I know He has used my brokenness, my struggle, my my grief, my loneliness, my perseverance for my good.  There are already stories emerging of how my pain has been able to strengthen another’s journey.

It was not in vain.

We’ve left a trail that shows where we’ve come from and the lessons along the way. There’s baggage left along the side that we’ve been able to let go, and some that we continue to carry, but the burden has been much lighter when we let the Guide carry it for us.

His grace has always been enough. Never something we had to save. Never short for the day. Daily increments of sufficient grace. 

A dear friend who I look up to greatly dropped a meal off around this time last year. I was still suffering greatly physically and facing another potential surgery. She took me by the arms and looked into my eyes and promised me that God WOULD use this. That He would write His story, and that His glory would shine through it. I can say with more confidence than ever that I believe her. 

I don’t know how He will continue to write our story. Perhaps this was just a glimpse of suffering that may help prepare us for something more. Perhaps I’ll never know this side of heaven the many ways He’ll weave His grace into this part of our journey, but I know He was present then and He’s present now. I know He has been and will be faithful. I know that He is sovereign even when He takes away. I know that He is good. My steps ahead can land solidly on these truths. He will redeem even the darkest of times.

A road through the wilderness has led to a quiet waters of restoration. 

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By: Jennifer Murray

5 Things I Love More Than Valentine’s Day

Confession:  I’m a softie for Valentine’s Day. It probably started with the red and pink dotted tights I wore when I was four.  I’m a sucker for romance. However, it looks much different in this season of life than engagement/early marriage. Less dress up and go out and more double the recipe heart-shaped pancakes.  ;)  Commercial holiday or not, it’s always good to feel loved and appreciated by those closest to you - I mean really, who’s going to deny that? No roses or diamonds required here, just a little pat on the back and a warm embrace will suffice.

This year I stayed off Pinterest and maneuvered my way through the crowded Walmart Valentine aisle.  It was less than a warm and fuzzy experience to say the least.  But you know what? 60+ Valentine’s completed in less than an hour is winning for all!

So what are some “non-traditional” Valentine’s I LOVE for any day of the year? Thanks for asking. How did you know I was about to tell you? 

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1. Tulips.

Tulips make me smile for days. I love that they are one of the first flowers of spring and the vibrant contrast they are to the drab of late winter.

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2. My Kindle.

I drowned my first one, but I love my new one even more. I love that I can have multiple books with me and the ease of being able to instantly have them in my hands. I’m a happier girl when I’m finding time to read. (Kindles are on sale right now starting at $59!)

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3. Snail Mail.

I love getting snail mail. I’m trying to get better at sending it too. My mom and my aunt Rosie are beautiful examples of this and have encouraged so many by popping things in the mail. I just ordered these postcards today, because postcards are cheap, easy, a fun way to say “You’re Awesome”. There’s something so beautiful about handwritten words.

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4. Essential Oils for Him and Her. 

Shutran. {#MakeYourManFierce.}

Progessence Plus. {#HelloFeelLikeMyselfAgain}

I’d love to chat more about these, especially how Progessence Plus has helped me immensely.  I even went to a session over the weekend led by the doctor who helped formulate it. If you’d be more comfortable, just email me at 4tunate.net @ gmail 

Of course I LOVE all the oils in the Everyday Oils as well.

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5. My MacBook Air.

I never thought I would drink the MacBook Koolaid, but at the end of the year, I took the tax write off for the biz and made the jump.  And like the rest of them, I’ll never go back.  It works soooooo much better and faster than my previous Chromebook, it’s light-weight, and the transition wasn’t terrible at all.

How about YOU? Just for fun, tell me 5 Things YOU Love More Than Valentine’s Day in the comment section. 

Give this post a read before V-Day “What Your Husband REALLY Wants for Valentines’ Day” too! 

 

 

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a tiny affiliate commission – so THANK YOU. Know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to your lives, because I genuinely care about you!

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By: Jennifer Murray

Thriving

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We are still unpacking from a fantastic long weekend in Nashville, TN.  I attended the Thrive Conference for Young Living Leaders and we decided to take the family along. Good weather, good friends, good family time. 

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It was a great balance for me of some quality family time and some professional growth time. {Thanks, Brad for all YOU did to make this part possible!}

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This was the 70 or so of us that represented our Oily Families Team at Thrive. When I signed up for Young Living, I had NO CLUE my feet were landing in such a SOLID group of individuals who have encouraged, educated, and empowered me this past year.  It’s been an absolutely invaluable component to my own family’s successes with essential oils as well as my professional growth of making YL a full-time income!  INCREDIBLE.

So don’t just sign up randomly for essential oils or get them off the grocery shelf. Getting plugged in to resources and education is vital! Thankful that I can pass this along and encourage others in this way as they have demonstrated to me! {I’d be happy to hold your hand through the essential oils learning curve too. Check out this post for more!}

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I certainly could not do it without these two. Myra pursued me for over a year, but it was all about timing and how God used them in my life during a time of grief and physical challenges to win me over. Emily I knew of through blogging, but since has become a daily mentor.  So glad we had the opportunity to finally meet in person. I’m so thankful for both of their friendships!

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While I attended sessions on Autism, Women’s Health, Personal Development, Team Development, etc. they enjoyed time at the hotel, visiting a Civil War battleground, touring the John C Tune airport {thanks to my cousin Connie who works there}, swimming, and exploring the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

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The cutest bunch of Cowboys I’ve ever seen. ;)  

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Sunday we enjoyed our last few hours in the south together with some Jack’s Barbecue, and racing around the Parthenon.

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I posted about this a little on Instagram on Sunday on our trek home, but every time we travel, we grow.  There’s something about getting away, being together, experiencing new things, and even toughing it out through challenges that come with being away from home that unifies us as a family. I came home so refreshed and filled with gratitude for this role that God has given me as a mother. I love the perspective that comes from re-evaluating, learning from others stories, and being more intentional.

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We are encouraged all the more to not just exist but to THRIVE in our faith, our relationships, and in our roles. 

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Thanks, Nashville, for your warm southern hospitality that we adore, the warmer temps, the food, and the take-aways. We can’t wait to come back, and maybe next time maybe Mama will take some boots home as a souvenir! 

How about YOU?  Have you been able to get away lately with your family? Did you come back feeling renewed? 

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