how your textbooks can help vulnerable children

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hey all you college students. I know ya'll just finished finals and it may be a four letter word to talk about the upcoming semester…BUT! I wanted to let you know of an awesome place to rent your books that is WAY cheaper than that bookstore you're about to walk into (like 40-90% cheaper to be exact).

Campus Book Rentals is on a mission to make college text books easier to get and give back (because let's be honest…no one needs to lug those around till they're 50.) There is free shipping both ways and flexible rental periods so you can ship them on your own time regardless of when you semester starts or ends. Aaaaaand you can highlight 'em. Great? Great.

Here's the best part: Campus Book Rentals donates to Operation Smile with each textbook rented. That means, you get a chance to give new hope to a child just by renting your textbooks from them. Operation Smile provides effective and safe reconstructive surgery for children with little access to medical care and were born with facial deformities like cleft lip and cleft palate. Read more here.

Once your semester is over, you can take advantage of their new Rent Back program by renting your textbooks to other students and make 2-4x more cash than traditional buy back programs. Are you convinced yet?

Watch this video that explains more about the program.

Please consider renting your textbooks next semester from Campus Book Rentals to save money and help vulnerable children all around the world.

This is a sponsored post from Campus Book Rentals,
although all the opinions stated are my own.
Compensation was received for promoting their business. 

Leia Bryn | Are You a Grace Giver?

Monday, December 16, 2013

I am so excited and thankful for Leia's thoughts on Wife Life this week. She is truly a truth speaking light into my life and so many others on the daily. Today she's talking grace. And boy, could we all use an extra helping of that ourselves. Thank you Leia!

It was almost exactly a year ago, the weather was very similar to today. The temperature was
hovering near zero and a recent ice/snowstorm had just blown through town. My husband Guy
was on his way home from his men’s group a few towns away. I was snuggled up on the sofa
watching a favorite show, excited to have him back home. It was an absolutely normal night in
the Johnson home.

Not long after 10:00pm I heard my phone ringing and saw it was Guy calling. I knew something
was wrong. He rarely calls me when he’s so close to home and in the car. I answered and what 
followed on the other end turned into a far from normal evening. Guy and another car had hit a
patch of black ice, the other car left unscathed, but our car ended up taking out a light post.

Thankfully and most importantly, Guy was okay, not a scratch from the accident, but the car was
less fortunate. A few tow trucks, a rental car, and couple days later, we learned it was totaled and
we had a whole three days to pick out a new car before we had to start paying for our rental.
If you want to talk about a stressor point in marriage, and a growing point as a wife, let’s talk 
about grace for our men. 

When I received that phone call from Guy, I knew in an instant that I had two choices for how I
would respond. I could a.) vomit all my frustrations and worries onto Guy over the phone. Or I
could b.) take a deep breath, throw on my big girl pants, and encourage, love, and respect him in
a moment when he needed it most.

We all know we’d like to answer with the latter. But for me personally (and maybe many
women?), in moments like this, my mind races through the details – almost instantaneously.
How much will this cost? Are you okay? Who should we contact for insurance? How soon can it
be fixed? We as women, we are details people, especially in stressful situations.

But my husband, standing out in the freezing cold, with a busted up car, and a tow truck on
the way didn’t need me to run him through all the unanswered questions. He needed me to
encourage him. He needed to know we were on the same team. He needed to hear respect in
my voice for him as a man and as the leader of our home. He needed to know that no amount of 
damage to the car would damage my respect for him as my husband. 

It all comes down to grace ladies. Grace, is the free and unmerited favor of another. We didn’t
marry perfect men, and we ourselves are not perfect women. We all, men and women, daily
receive the unmerited grace of God. For by grace you have been saved by faith, and this is not
your doing, but it is the gift of God. (Eph 2:8) And we as wives can look to the truths written in
scripture to learn how to be grace givers in our relationships with our husbands.

I want to be honest and say in my short two years of marriage I am no expert on grace. I daily 
experience the internal tension of my choices; to choose to be a grace giver or to choose to take 
away grace. It has been one of my greatest challenges as a wife and one of the sweetest ways to
begin to grasp the grace I receive daily from Jesus Christ.

On this particular occasion, by only the shear power of the Holy Spirit, I choose the latter. And
that picture you see above, that’s my husband in our rental van. Did you notice something about
his face? He’s smiling. Giving me a big thumbs up, because rather than dragging him down with 
my worries and fears, I shrugged my shoulders, hopped in our minivan and had a good laugh. 
Oh and this was about the moment when Guy decided minivans are maybe the greatest invention

Thanks Erin, for inviting me hear to share a bit today. Your Wife Life Series is a beautiful and
encouraging reminder to take our role as women and wives seriously. You can find me over at
BecomingBryn and on Twitter and Instagram @leiabryn, We have a beautiful community of
women and wives in these spaces and I would love to meet each and every one of you!

phone free mornings

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lately, with all the things going on, my mind has felt a little tousled. There is always a million and one unread tweets on the feed, emails to read, and lets not even talk about instagram -- it's unending. 

Being connected on social media fuels me. I love the community I have on the web and the many women who are willing to speak truth into that medium. However, I realized lately that I have a limit. I crave flesh and blood time with the people in front of me and sometimes I need to step away from the screen. Anyone else?

I've started making a habit out of not checking my phone before I've leave home for the day. A sort of, "take back the morning" if you will. I want to lay in bed and watch the sun peer through our lace curtains. I want to get one last snuggle in before getting ready for the day. I want to drink a cup of coffee in peace and quiet. Just me and the mug. Maybe it's the season of advent or maybe this is just a phase. Either way, it's happening. And I love it. 

How about you? How do you deal with social media overload? 

new print in the shop

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Hello hello! Wanted to let all ya'lls know there is a brand spankin' new print up in the shop today. 

This verse is one of my absolute favorites (I really mean that) and has been a source of strength through several seasons of my life. It's a reminder that the Spirit is really truly in and through us all of our days. We have a rock to stand on. A firm place to set our hope. 

This high res 8x10 print on white card stock is available in the shop right now. First five people to order get an extra free print of their choice. Go check 'em out! 

on not doing #allthethings

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Dear you,

You do not need to do #allthethings.
We were not meant to do all the things.

You who are running around frantic trying to cross off everything on the to-do list. 
Deep breath.
Your worth does not increase with those check marks.
And the world will definitely keep spinning.

You who can't hold a crying baby for one second longer.
Deep breath.
God is in the midst of you. He upholds you and gives you strength.

You who are convinced your eyes will fall out from social networking overload.
Deep breath.
Step back. It is okay to rest. It is okay to put down your phone. 

In the spirit of advent and in the spirit of really truly where I'm at in my heart, let's step back together. Let's take a deep breath together. Remember that we cannot do all the things. We don't have to. We are not superhuman. We are not meant to run at a fast forward pace all of our days.

Lets help each other step back. And breath.
My soul needs this. Anyone else?

Ps, Jessi at Naptime Diaries has lots of good words on All the Things. Just FYI

December Goals

Monday, December 2, 2013


Yeah so we all know my November goals turned out…
Let's just say I'm giving myself some major grace and points for making goals in the first place.

There is still one more month left of 2013 and gosh darn it, it's gonna be a good one. Regardless of the measured success or lack there of last month with goal setting, I'm back at it again. Since next year's theme is going to involve simplifying and taking risks, December's goals are a precursor to that. 

Business // Make long term goals and set strategy plans to reach those goals for the next year. I know it's ironic to make a goal to write goals but there it is.

Physical // 1 date night a week at the Y. This way we both go and it's not so painful.

Spiritual // Read our advent devotional from Heather (thank you!)

Fun // Spend some time reading a book. I've come to the conclusion that I need a non-creative "hobby" since so much of my work involves mental and emotional creative energy. Reading is just reading. I can sit and relax and dive into someone else's story once in a while.

What are YOUR December goals? I wanna hear about 'em!

PS: You have until 10 AM Central Time tomorrow to order some 8x10 prints for only 5 bucks each with the coupon code MONDAY over at the shop. Check out the inventory over at 

Thank you for supporting handmade business that support families like ours and allow us to do what we do. It makes a difference. You make a difference. 

Wife Life | Four Simple Phrases

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm sorry

I'm proud of you.

Thank you.

I love you.

Four phrases that no husband or wife will ever get tired of hearing from the other. We are realizing every day that marriage is a continuum of love, mistakes, grace, thankfulness and re-dos. The thing is, that continuum is beautiful and full of the gospel that's been infused within the very depths of us. And I really truly am so deeply grateful to walk with someone in this life to share that with.


Taking a little break this long weekend to walk away from the computer screen and spend some real flesh and blood time with family that we don't get to see every day. Even though I absolutely love what I get to do to earn a living, my mind and my heart are looking forward to some rest.

In the meantime, feel free to catch up on other Wife Life posts here >>

november goals update

Monday, November 25, 2013

Well folks, we are nearing the end of November and with that comes a big fat turkey headed our way this week…doesn't that just make you smile??

I wanted to share an update of my Four Simple Goals I made for November since for some reason that's supposed to hold me accountable to them. Honestly, this month has been so full of developing new ideas and business strategy for the next year that I regret to inform you that the November goals ended up as more of an occasional guilty afterthought at the end of the day.

However, it wasn't a complete failure. I can say that my goal of working out twice a week did happen…once. And documented with one sad little Instagram of running shoes so you know I meant business. One thing I can say in my defense is that my job as an instructor at the Y happens to be a workout every day if you ask me. So there's that.

As far as cooking new recipes goes…that also happened…once. This past Saturday JT and I teamed up  on an Eggs Benedict venture that was so good I could have cried. It was part of the beginning to what is now deemed as the best Saturday ever. I'd like to think that we can credit that to the slammin hollindaise sauce that made me feel like there was potential for a Master Chef debut…but that's just me. Just so we're clear, the Eggs Benedict pretty much made up for the other three new recipes I set out to try. Because it was that good and I'm gonna be proud of that for approximately the next 10 years.

We've been so blessed this month by having some of our favorite people come and visit us and explore our little town. They have made this transition of the seasons one big blur of gratefulness for what we have and who we have in our lives. This newlywed time in our life is so short and sweet and regardless of whether or not I've written that down in a journal, the overwhelming overflow of love, grace and gratitude from the people we love and from each other  will always be etched in our hearts. This is truly a sweet spot, people.

How are your November goals shaping up?
I'm thinking I need to start working on some new ones for December. Which may just be a second attempt at finishing the ones I set out for this month…eh?

Happy Monday, all. Let's do this three day work week thing and keep our eyes set on the rest and feast ahead.

Back from a weekend in Chicago and not regretting even a little bit the decision to leave my laptop at home. My eyes and brain needed a break after a heavy work week. Since jumping back on the blog bandwagon this morning, I've been so refreshed reading everyone else's thoughts for this Monday that I thought it best to share the goodness with you.

Here are some of my favorite posts from the weekend and today:

1. On Analog Weekends | The Tiny Twig
2. This Lady Rockin' Her Business | A Girl Named Leney
3. A Right Way to Start Your Week | Becoming Bryn
4. What Fires You Up? | Naptime Diaries

Enjoy! Happy Monday.

Wife Life | sources of joy

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

image cred

Someone once said to me in college that he would fail me. Not only him, but all people would fail me at one time or another. And that the only one who wouldn't was Jesus. 

As much as that truth stung my heart at the time, the words have never left me. And the lesson has been something I've lived into a greater understanding of ever since. 

My husband and I love each other and have no intention of hurting or letting down one another, but there are moments. There are moments where we fail because we are human beings and that's what we do. And that's okay. 

We knew from the beginning that we, as individuals are fueled, fed, and rested differently. We are interested in different topics, have different hobbies and are a part of different communities. Are there similarities? Yes. I certainly hope there would be. But for the most part, we are different. And that's okay too.  There's harmony in that.

One of the most valuable things we can do for ourselves is prioritize and set boundaries for things that refuel us, for things that make us joyful. And I don't mean things like things because things don't make us happy. What I'm talking about are activities, people, moments, and ways of connecting with God that bring us joy because we like them. Those things. The stuff that brings the passion out in us. Are you still with me?

JT likes to run. Dare I say, he needs to run. It does all sorts of wonderful things for his mind, body and soul. So he makes that a priority. He likes to watch football on the weekends. So we do that, or he does that, while I make comments about how cool the new college helmet designs are. I, dare I say, need to blog and read other blogs. It encourages me. So I prioritize that for myself. I need to connect with my friends over the phone. I love that community and my heart is full when I do that. So I schedule it.

We, as individuals, are responsible for setting boundaries and prioritizing these things that manifest joy and passion in our hearts. We, as spouses, are responsible for fostering an environment for each other where this is possible. We made a promise to take care of each other and this is part of that promise. 

What advice do you have about this?
Moms, what are the ways that you have been able to do this in your marriage amidst this busy season of your life? 
Those who work full time outside the home, what are your thoughts? 

Is this realistic? Is this necessary? Is this a load of crap? I love your comments!

the greatest grace

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brennan Manning describes in his memoir, All is Grace, his experience as part of the Little Brothers of Jesus, devoting a part of his life to simplicity and poverty, shedding the light of God onto a community and preaching the gospel through their actions. He describes the moment that he realized his efforts were drenched in "self-centered yuck." As a result, he was convinced that he would cut himself off from the Brothers and turn his back on all of what God had led him into. And then he had a conversation with a fellow brother in which he described his turmoil. The fellow brother responded with this:

image cred
It is only when we truly feel the utter hopelessness of taking on our own righteousness that we can encounter this great grace. When we truly believe that we are never good enough on our own. This gift is in the depths of all our hearts. He put it there for each one of us and when we find it, we find God's kingdom on earth. God's great grace overwhelming every crack and crevice of our lives.

How blessed are those who know that they are poor, the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 
Matthew 5:3

On the docket this week:

Wife Life | what is your source of happiness?
Favorite reads
A little business update

Stay tuned and be blessed....

Four Simple Goals

Friday, November 1, 2013

I love the idea of making some fresh goals for the month of November, before things start getting all cray cray holiday around here. Goal making can be a little disheartening because we all like to be overachievers and reach for the moon every time we do it. The truth is, ain't nobody got time for that. The secret is to change little things, one day at a time, about your daily life. Eventually, those little things become habits and we feel like we've made so much more progress. I absolutely love the idea of making four simple goals for the month of November. Here are mine:

1] Write in my gratitude journal ever night, noting three things that I am thankful for that day. This habit has become so sporadic recently and I'm excited to hop back on the horse again seeing as this is, in fact, the month of Thanksgiving.

2] Exercise twice a week. You would think this would be an easy one because I work at the gym...but just the opposite is true. I have no excuse now, it's on the board.

3] Make a real effort to focus on the positive. There are so many good and beautiful things happening in this phase of life and it deserves waaaay more positivity than I'm giving it. We are spoiled rotten sometimes with how good our life is and it's just a shame to focus on the uncomfortable and stressful part of newness and transition. Life is good. Let's think that way.

4] Try cooking four new recipes this month. I'll openly admit it, my husband is a rockstar in the kitchen. Sometimes it seems silly for me to cook anything because he's just so darn good at it but I know that it means a lot for him to have a break from that too. So, in an effort to expand horizons and be a good helper, I'll commit to trying four new dinner recipes. If they're any good, maybe I'll share.

Go say hi to the Tiny Twig to read more simple goals for November.

Do you have any goals for this month? I wanna hear!

p.s. happy Friday, ya'll.

There is one metaphor for a couple's first year of marriage that has always stuck with me  -- it's like two jagged stones knocking into each other constantly. Nothing seems to match up and every-day planning, discussions and activities seem to be up for question and last way longer than they should. 

At times we are finding this to be so true. We laugh at how different our thought processes can be sometimes, how differently we make dinner or fold clothes or plan for the day. One of us loves the morning time and one of us is a habitual night owl. 

One thing that has always helped hash out the differences is a huge helping of grace and kind words. Always trying to give the other person the benefit of the doubt and believing the best intentions of their words. I can't tell you how many times the words I'm sorry I didn't mean it like that have come out of my mouth. (Being slow to speak is not my strong suit.) And we are learning to be gentle and explain what we mean or why we did something. 

There needs to be grace for getting us lost on the road, grace for leaving x number of water glasses out, grace for forgetting to check the soup on the stove, grace for being late, grace for making a rotten birthday cake (my bad), grace for sickness, grace for breaking dishes, grace for habitually relocating items....buckets and buckets and buckets of grace. For each other. And for the process of growing with one another one day at a time. 

"I know God's love better now because He put you in my life," he said. And that's just what this is all about, isn't it. We come to know the God of love and grace through the people around us. Our community. That's what this is for. 

We've got to have confidence in the process because God is in the midst of it. And day after day, those jagged stones get smoothed out by the overflowing of His love and grace through and towards one other. Slowly we create a rhythm, sending praises back to the One who created it all -- for all the glory and all the honor. Forever and ever. Let it be so. 

new series: the (newly) wife life

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Many of you know that this past August JT and I got married. It's been a joyful (almost) eight weeks and I feel like we're really on a roll here. One of the things that we've both noticed is the huge learning curve that comes along with this whole married thing -- learning so much about your spouse and so much about yourself. Never in my life have I worked on communicating so well with someone or watched so much football. It's fun, challenging, confusing, glorifying and exciting all in one fowl swoop. 

Recently, I've been wanting to process what it means to be a wife and continually find ways to glorify God through marriage and family.  JT and I both feel strongly that our first ministry is within our family. To be good to each other and good parents (eventually), magnify the gospel in our little community of two. Only out of that center will we be able to reach farther out into a larger community to do the same thing, whether that be in a church that JT pastors or elsewhere. 

I'm excited to share with you a new series on this little blog that I'll be starting about just this. On the things we are learning about each other, about being a wife, about the little things we can do for one other and for ourselves that help us focus on what really matters. I want to share the funny quirks, the mistakes and the lessons. The things that as a wife, in particular, I can do to be a part of making our life filled with more love, grace and passion. After all, it's the little things, right? 

This is by no means meant to be marital advice because i think suggestions coming from a lady who's been at this for less than two months would be, well, scary. I do want this to be something I look back on and treasure -- a perspective from the newness and excitement of it all. A sort of back to the basics take on being a wife and experiencing the learning curve. Eventually, I'd love to have a few guest posts thrown in here as an opportunity to hear from other women about perspectives on "wife life" and what there is to learn during different lags of the journey. Sound good? Awesome. 

I'm eager to hear your thoughts and would love to have you guest post if you're feeling so inclined. 

there's a rumbling

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Oh my soul. There is surely a rumbling.

Lately I've been so inspired by this season of life, by the women of the Influence Network, by the Spirit, by my husband's's endless. And all these things are doing some major work on my heart. These are the thoughts that you almost want to keep a secret because they are so sacred and precious inside of you and for some reason it feels as though they might loose their sacredness if they come out of your head. But here's the thing. We are here to spread that preciousness and inspiration and encouragement like wildfire. So let's do that. 

Too often we are tied up in the expectations of others. Tied up in lies, rules, and impending judgement of everything we say and do. We are bound by fear of what is to come. Our heads fill up with regret or the everlasting fact that we are never good enough. These things can hold us back from living into the person the Lord has created us to be. They hold us back from experiencing true...and I mean true freedom...and facing every coming moment fearless and expectant of good. 

But this comes on strong. And it becomes a battle cry that shakes up every nerve in the body. Here's the secret. We have been equipped by God with everything we need to be the beautiful people he has created us to be. He's instilled it in us. Do we believe that? Do we live every day expectant of that? By throwing off all fear and other's expectations we are free, so FREE!, to live into his promises and be strong, faithful, effective, fulfilled and joyful people.  I wish for this truth to dwell deep in you and make you as bold and faithful as God made you to be. There is so much power in that. 

I must admit to you that this may be the first time I have felt truly truly free. And living in this truth makes me a different woman, wife, daughter, friend, worker...everything. I'm not turning back. 

*To read more about freedom from expectations and living wild and free, check out posts from Leia from Becoming Bryn and Jessi over at Naptime Diaries. These ladies don't disappoint.

wedding scenes

Saturday, September 28, 2013

They're here! They're here! The wedding pictures have arrived! It's been tons of fun to look through and remember parts of that day that seem like such a blur. It was so much more than we could have ever asked for or imagined. All of our friends and family were in one place at one time and it really just seemed like such a miraculous thing that only happens once in a lifetime. Thanks to Jonny Edwin we have so many incredible pictures to relive all the memories. 

// the infamous paper flowers that will never be a repeated craft project ever again //

// brand new precious family // 

//  my handsome husband //

// putting the dress on at home //

// feeling dolled up and excited //

//  first look //

// sweet nothings //

// farmers market flowers. probably one of my favorite parts //

// posing //

// he's my favorite //

// where we went to hang out on our first "date day" //

// these people make us so happy //

// yep. that's right. i'm getting married today. //

// beautiful friends and flowers //

// oh my happy heart //

// trying not to ugly cry //

// scenes of the groom //

// why yes, i am getting married today. thank you for asking. //

// making it official //

// family //

// finally //

// a precious flower girl //

// they all came in like this. i have the strongest girlfriends //

// just happy //

// outtakes //

// love ballads //

// waddup brotherrrrr //

// big smiles and lots of dancing //

// hey you! yes you. //

// no one else in the room //

Congratulations if you made it all the way though. There's more (obviously) but I tried to control myself. Cheers to being married! Happiest day of my life.

happy flippin' saturday

Saturday, September 21, 2013

After a very full week of work, the coming of Saturday morning was just the most magical thing ever.

Wake up slow,  drink too many cups of coffee, eat delicious chipotle omelets made by husband, watch the Cosby Show till noon, run errands, walk outside, make birthday presents, watch football, cook a favorite Honduran meal for a special dinner.

Oh Saturday, you truly are a restful day for a lady who's got a gymnastics sized knot in her back.
Let's do this again sometime, deal? deal.
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