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Inspired Blogger

Inspired Blogger: Jolene Underwood

June 30, 2014
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InspiredBlogger_new I met Jolene when she began linking up to The Weekend Brew.  Immediately I knew she was a woman with a big heart.  I have enjoyed getting to know Jolene over the last few months and know that you will grow to love her just as much as I do.

Without further adieu, please welcome Jolene Underwood!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My life is nothing like I thought it would be. I never thought I’d live to get married, let alone have kids. Now, I call myself “mama to many” due to being a mom to bio, step, foster, homeless and our babies in heaven.

I met my husband as a single mom of two boys.  He was a single dad of one.  We began our marriage with the joy of Christ, but early on legalism entered.  We tried to make control a venue for providing structure. We embraced the world of “how you should be” or “what you should think”.

Over the last few years God’s grace has been breaking us free. In 2012 we moved to the country to live as foster parents on land owned by our agency. We faced an incredible number of physical, emotional and spiritual battles. I have never been so exhausted and overwhelmed, or so moved in my heart and soul. On the last day of school in 2013 we moved home. By then we’d cared for 13 foster children in addition to our other four.  By now I was probably dealing with PTSD and couldn’t keep going like I was. This last year has been one of healing & rest.

How long have you been blogging and how/why did you start?

I started my first blog, JavaJo at Home, many years ago, but did virtually nothing with it. It was going to be a homemaking, herbal, gardening, DIY blog. Eventually I realized that those weren’t really the things that drove my writing. In 2013, I started His Not So Perfect Housewife.  It was my way of telling others that I fall and fail too.  Still, it wasn’t capturing the heart of me.

In January of this year, 2014, a vision for my writing became clearer. I started Joleneunderwood.com with the tagline and social media handle of @FaithEyes.  I am learning to trust that He sees all things, and I cannot. In believing that God is good and trustworthy to lead us, we can walk without fear.

What is the purpose of your blog?

To share faith journeys filled with grace.

I’m not a blogger who will tell you “10 ways to fix something”. I may, however, share ten ways I’ve made mistakes and how God spoke to my heart through them. Personally, I’m tired of reading all the “answers to good living”.  God is our ultimate source for living well, and living well doesn’t equate with perfect children, perfect marriages or perfect faith. I’ve seen Christians hurt themselves & each other by refusing to talk about anything seen as negative. I’d rather recognize the reality of suffering, trials, anxiety & fears, then walk through them with the Creator of all things. So, I share journeys that have grown my faith. I also seek to encourage others to find freedom & courage to live by faith.

What do you most enjoy about blogging?

I’m learning the craft of writing and having a great time with it. For many years, writing was put on hold. Now, the words are filling up in my mind & I am freed up to take this journey. As I write, healing takes place, the Lord ministers to my own heart and I provide a place to connect with others.

What are you passionate about?

A lot!

When God opens our eyes to the need which is all around us, we cannot shut it out. My eyes have been opened. I am forever changed by my experiences, especially as a foster mom. I’m compelled to bring awareness to the foster care needs right here in America.

I love to encourage encouragement & connection. God has designed us to be in community and the enemy continually tries to draw us into isolation.  We are also often blinded to the cries of hearts right in our midst.  Let’s learn how to listen well & love well.

I’m a bit passionate about my hobbies and can get distracted easily. But, I’m working to find balance.  I love gardening organically, natural living and herbs. Currently, I have plans to become a certified facilitator for the Kendall Life Language Profiles, with more life coach training to follow.  My husband and I found it to be an extremely eye opening and helpful tool.

Who or what inspires you?

Music can really ignite my heart and rejuvenate my soul. I love Matt Maher, Hillsong, Matt Redman, Jadon Lavik, David Nevue, Meredith Andrews & Third Day.

Tchividjian’s messages on grace and suffering have been powerful agents of change and healing for me.

Chip Ingram & Paul Tripp minister the messages of my heart and Jason Johnson with All In Orphan Care writes the posts for fostering & the gospel that I haven’t been able to write. Listening, reading, and studying set my mind ablaze with ideas and words to write.                                                           

Tell us something random about yourself.

Growing up I was in softball, volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, canoe racing, gymnastics, ballet, tap, jazz, swimming & dancing. I don’t like sports. I would have rather been in drama but I was too afraid of rejection to try. For more, 25 Random Things About Me.

Will you share with us one of your favorite posts and what you love about it?

“A Restless Wrestling”.  This post was written for a linkup on Jennie Allen’s site. Circumstances around going to her book launch were significant for me. This piece started from a place in my heart where confidence was growing. It turned into something that really is far too long for a “good” blog post, but I still love it.

Jolene Underwood - Faith Eyes
JoSidePink2-2Jolene Underwood writes about “living for Him with faith-eyes”. Through a number of trials over the years she has been challenged to step forward in the faith she professed to have.  God has continually beckoned her to “be strong and courageous”.  Through fear and failure, God’s grace has broken through.  God’s grace has brought freedom.  On the blog you will find stories of fostering, faith, family, fear, failure & freedom. She has lived imperfectly and continues to do so. With grace there is growth. She’d love to connect with you in the journey to live with “faith-eyes”
Inspired Blogger

Inspired Blogger: Ginger of Ginger’s Corner

June 2, 2014
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I have had the privilege of hosting Ginger on my blog for Featured Friend Wednesday.  I just love Ginger’s heart, and we are similar in so many ways.  I so appreciate her authenticity and the honest way she shares her life.  I am thankful to get to host her again as my Inspired Blogger for the month of June.  I hope you will take the time to get to know her more.  She’s a gem!

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Without further adieu, meet Ginger of Ginger’s Corner.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am wife to a retired Marine and mom to three teens/young adults. We have spent 24 years in this mobile military life and have had some great adventures. One of my favorite places we have lived is Okinawa, Japan.

As a speaker and writer, I love sharing with women. It is pure joy to encourage others to grow in faith. I have been speaking for nearly 10 years—yikes—where does the time go? Whether speaking or blogging, it is particularly fun when God gives me funny things to share. I really wish I could produce humor on demand, but for me it just doesn’t work that way. Humor is a gift and is simply one part of all that God puts in my heart.

How long have you been blogging and how/why did you start?

I have been blogging for 3 1/2 years. I really had no idea what a blog was when I got started. While living in Okinawa, I was involved with a women’s ministry on the military base. As part of ministry, God gave me a good idea for a book. The initial concept came together and I began to look into publishing. I realized blogging was a great way to share and develop my writing. Being a true techno-igno kind of gal, I had no idea how to get started until one of my college roommates volunteered to help me. I am so grateful for the kind friends who have pitched in and helped me along the way!

What is the purpose of your blog?

My tag line is “Where the Spiritual Meets the Practical.” This is the place where God meets me, where the spiritual meets the practical…my everyday life.  The blogosphere is a great spot to explore this process where the spiritual and the practical intersect in daily life. You will find a variety of posts– devotions, Biblical wisdom, how-to’s on spiritual growth, family life, military wife stuff, and sharing life as it is–all with the focus of applying spiritual truth in the nitty-gritty of our day.  Whether serious, reflective, humorous, or down-right zany, sharing practical ways to learn and live God’s wisdom is the heart of this blog.

I hope to encourage others to hang on to faith and dig in with God as I share what I am learning along the way.

What do you most enjoy about blogging?

I love being in the creative process with God. From idea to finished blog post, it is such joy to see where God takes this crazy thing called blogging. I really love getting to hear from readers as they add to the conversation.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about God’s Word, women’s ministry, and mentoring. I am grateful for the women who have invested in me with encouragement and wisdom, and I want to continue to pass on the same blessing to others.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by real women who live honestly for Christ with wisdom and joy.

Tell us something random about yourself.

Random? Hmmm… Interesting random? Impressive random? Or just random-random? How about clutzy-random? I once dropped a running hair drying in the toilet.

Will you share with us one of your favorite posts and what you love about it?

When You Are Afraid You’re Not Good Enough.  This post gets at one of the areas I struggle with. In writing this post, God ministered to my heart and taught me some important insights about using our gifts with confidence. This is a post where I was simply God’s typist, and I still receive encouragement when I read it.

Ginger_newSpeaker and writer, Ginger Harrington ministers to women in a variety of ways. Encouraging women to discover practical ways to go deeper with God is an emphasis evident in her popular blog, Ginger’s Corner: Where the Spiritual Meets the Practical.

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Inspired Blogger

Introducing Inspired Blogger Gina @ Contemplating Beauty

April 30, 2014
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I have been following Gina’s blog for a while now.  I’ve always been captivated by the beauty shared in her space, through her every day life, through the struggles she’s triumphed over and through her beautiful photography.  I just know that you will be inspired and encouraged as you visit her space and read her words.

Without further adieu, meet Gina of Contemplating Beauty

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Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi there! I am a city girl gone small town, and love any beauty I can set my eyes on. I am a mother of a 19 year old daughter, married for 12 yearsrs and I’m in love with my little bichon-poo Nell’s. I love to write, crochet, worship, read, explore new cities, and decorate.  I love nature!

How long have you been blogging and how/why did you start?

I’ve been blogging for about 3 years. I originally started because I had to quit my job due to an illness I was battling. Blogging/writing helped me have an outlet to share!

What is the purpose of your blog?

I’ve learned that my main gifting is sharing. Sharing my heart for others. Sharing my stories for others. Sharing my struggles for others. I have a heart for connecting with God and people in true authenticity.

What do you most enjoy about blogging?

Like I mentioned earlier, I strongly feel like our stories and our lives are for others. When the bible says to ‘Mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice’ we can’t truly do that unless we are intentionally connecting with others. I have such a passion for that. So through my blog, that is my goal. If 100 people read a post, but say “only” 3 felt moved or gained something, then that’s what matters. I am a classic “wounds turned into wings” gal, and sharing my journey with others hopefully helps others find their wings.

What are you passionate about?

My heart yearns to have a heart like Gods. I literally beg Him to give me a heart like His. Unlike most people, I am into being refined! I actually welcome suffering because I know it’s in the darkness of that that light will eventually come through. That is where healing happens, and where our character is built. It’s where God does His most astounding work IN us. So I guess you could say I’m most passionate about finding healing, becoming whole, and relationships.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by faithful people. When I see a mother lose her child, and press on in the deepness of that pain, I am inspired. I am moved when others see and believe how BIG God is and that He’s got things taken care of ahead of time for us already. It’s inspiring for me to see women dealing with their wounds and brokenness, and to find healing and redemption. To live in authenticity, because it’s such a rarity. On a more shallow level, I am inspired by nature, art, and all the things I love that others do really well: painted flowers, amazing crafts, delicious recipes, and beautiful singing voices!  One last thing that inspires me: People who sell their homes and pick up and leave the comforts of life and go live in a remote place, become missionaries, open shelters or homes, or explore and travel! It’s also a dream of mine!

Tell us something random about yourself.

I guess something random would be that I don’t like trends. That’s not to say I would never or have never followed one. But for instance. I am super annoyed about the Essential Oil trend happening right now. It baffles me. I’ve been using oils for 13 years, it’s not a new concept at all, yet people are suddenly buying kits and using them just because they are trending? How does this happen!? Haha!  I also don’t like trendy lingo, like when “swoon” was cool to say, I mean I didn’t even know what it meant! My biggest pet peeve is the whole “your’re welcome” thing that’s surfacing after someone makes a statement or shares something with someone. HA.

Will you share with us one of your favorite posts and what you love about it?

Sure, probably the one I wrote about on my sexual abuse story. I’ve realized through the years in sharing my story, that there are many women who have been through similar struggles, but they haven’t spoken, or written about it. It means a lot to me that I can be a voice for some. I also like the poem I wrote I Want To Be Her. It hits home with so many women, sort of like my latest post on comparisons and trying to find your place in this world through figuring out your key gifting.

Gina(Square)Gina blogs over at Contemplating Beauty where you’ll find her thoughts on faith, family, struggle and relationships. She’s a city girl at heart, living in a small town. She’s been a mother for 19 years and married for 12 years. If she’s not writing you will find Gina reading, praying, drinking a latte’, walking her Bichon-Poo or crocheting. She loves people, nature, crafting and art.your