Vegas 2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

Mandalay Bay Aquarium | Vegas vacation | Meg Marie Wallace Blog |2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

mini golf | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay pool time | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Medieval Times Show | excalibur resort and casino | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017


Ya know…this blog is has a number of difference facets to it…on one hand it’s a place where I can open up and share thoughts, it’s a place where I can tell stories, it’s a space where I can serve others and come alongside people who have questions, it’s a corner where I can talk about Jesus and just be real about what life looks like following Him, and it’s a spot where I can simply share the things I love, products, places or whatever is on my mind…but it’s also a space for sharing life. Just normal everyday life. This past month on our family Vegas vacation we had the best time together. We had lazy mornings eating huge homemade breakfasts, played duck duck goose around the hotel coffee table, visited the Mandalay aquarium (which I’d highly recommend), ate way too much at Steak N Shake, played in the pools for hours on end, went out to eat…and spent a ton of time going up and down escalators and swinging our kids in circles in the extremely large hotel lobbies!!! (which is SO FUN and FREE by the way!!!)

A few more of my favorite memories are man cub #4 eating too many M&M’s and throwing up…which is now the second time he has puked in a hotel room in Vegas (we are NOT off to a good start with that one….), aaaaalmost beating my brother in poker (he won it all on the last hand…but up until then I was killin’ it), late night couples date nights with my brother/sister and their spouses…with NO kids, swimming in circles for hours in the lazy river, snagging cushioned seats with umbrellas after some sweet people left and offered them to us (they paid a high dollar for those seats and then just left them for us!), learning how much my family all hates eating chicken off the bone as much as I do (except for one kid who started grunting like a caveman as he ripped the meat from the drumstick….ewwww….no utensils are given at the Excalibur show dinner/meal), Matt’s amazing facial expressions as he threw the kids in the pool, the kids facial expressions being throw into the pool, endless hours playing round after round of mini-golf, the kids drawing pictures and leaving notes for all of the extended family there with us, repeatedly running the stairs right next to the kids going up/down the escalators because I know how poorly I ate and I made working out into a game of trying to beat them up to the top, kiddo #5’s sweet snuggles when he dreamed he was being chased by a bumble bee, the princess asking me every morning to braid her hair, watching late night TV eating Oreos with all of us in one foldout hide-a-bed…

I do hope you enjoy the photos and can smile along with us at the fun memories made this summer!  I’d love to hear what everyone else did! School starts for us next week and I cannot WAIT to tell the kids about their incredible first day of school surprise…….I’ll be posting about it here too….so stay tuned!!!!! #gonnabeagoodyear

open back grey romper & family update

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017

Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017
Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017  Mandalay Bay | open back grey romper | vegas vacation | meg marie and family | 2017


 ROMPER: Revolve  || BRA: Free People || BACKPACK: Nordstrom  || SHOES: Superga  ||

HAT: Cruzy & Lulu


The past few weeks have been a little bit of a whirlwind, but in a good way! Last month we closed our church plant down (that part was really sad though) and we are now praying about where God would have us go next. It’s very possible that we stay in California, but I also know that when it comes to long term planning it is tough to imagine living here. Cali is so expensive and although I would completely consider myself a California girl, and our family LOVES it here, I also am having to come to terms that it might make a lot more sense for us to move.

Last week Matt flew to Nashville to check out a church that might be wanting to hire him. While he was there I asked on my Facebook page what people thought of Nashville and there was not one negative comment. That really tugs on my heart. If I’m going to have to leave Cali, a place I love so much, then it might be a bit easier or take some of the sting off if we end up somewhere that other people love so much.

Next weekend he’ll fly to San Antonio to check out another church. Now, when I mention San Antonio to people there seems to be mixed reviews. Some think it’s amazing and others just give a blank stare….I think the jury is still out on that one, but honestly I just don’t know much about it. I’ve only been there once, and it was a LONG time ago….I have very few memories to draw from about the actual city itself. I’ll put it out there now just in case but if any of you have feedback about living in TX, more specifically the San Antonio area I’d love to hear your perspective.

This season of travel and exploring new possibilities has a lot of exciting things to it. We are taking it one thing at a time, one opportunity at a time and are enjoying talking through where Matt is at, what he sees himself doing, where he could thrive and how he might use the gifts he has in preaching, leading and serving the church.

But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough at times too. If I’m honest I wonder if he’ll find an amazing position somewhere that’ll be a struggle (as far as location) for me/the family to move to. Or worse still…we’ll pick a location based on where the family would love but Matt won’t thrive in the role/job/position. We are praying that one of these options will begin to rise above the others as a good fit for the whole family. Thankfully we aren’t in a hurry and we are really waiting on the Lord to direct and lead us.

On a side note, this little romper I wore in Vegas has turned out to be one of the most worn, most versatile outfits I’ve bought in a long time! I wore it on a date night with some tall wedges, to the pool as a swim coverup, here in these photos with a hat for our last day wanderings around Mandalay Bay and also in the car for our road trip back home from Vegas to CA. It’s unbelievably comfortable, doesn’t fall off my shoulders and the fit is perfect. Mine is a size XS and I’m 5’4 in case you needed help with what to order…I get that sometimes the pics online make it tough to gauge.

And these shoes. I’d never heard of Superga before oh my word I love them! I normally live in running shoes (or flip flops) but sometimes an outfit like this needs something a little less clunky. I added my own insoles in the bottom and they were perfect for how much we walked around that day. Not one blister!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! And if you have any info/feedback on the San Antonio area and whether or not you feel our family would enjoy living there please let me know!

xo MM Meg Marie initials

P.S. Homeschooling mamas….if you’re out there and you happen to read this…I’ve got books on the way and extra curriculars all planned out…but I’m curious if you all have tips for giving kids their lessons each day? I’ve got some planners that I purchased for each child, but how far out do you give them their lesson plans? Meaning, should I set them up each night for the following day or plan out a week in advance? Any further than that and I’m afraid it’ll all be messed up when we have a day that doesn’t go as planned. Would love your thoughts. This year has to go better than last year!!! 😉

 

what forgiveness is…and what it isn't

My recent post about hardness of heart in marriage and the difficult work of marriage has raised a lot of questions on the issue of forgiveness.

What exactly is forgiveness?

I spent a number of years defining “forgiveness” incorrectly, and it had some fierce ramifications on relationships in my life.

I once thought forgiveness was:

-overlooking, minimizing or tolerating…

-mustering up the strength to say it wasn’t a “big deal.”

-the willingness to never talk about “it” again.

-the expectation I’d just “get over it.”

-only for people who asked for it…in a really sweet way and with the correct wording.

At least that was what I was taught anyway…

…and oh how terribly wrong that was…

But here’s the thing, forgiveness is not just a hot topic for husbands and wives to wrestle through. Forgiveness impacts every single relationship we have: friendships, siblings, extended family, parents, children, coworkers, neighbors, church family.

Relationships across the board are challenging and conflict is commonplace, which means it is crucial for us to understand what forgiveness is…and possibly more important…what it isn’t.

So what does forgiveness really mean?

Forgiveness is: 

-one sided. You can forgive whether or not someone asks you to forgive.

-an act of the will. Choosing to forgive is an act, a decision, an event…it’s taking on the mindset that you will extend forgiveness, freeing your heart from the trap of bitterness and wrath.

-sometimes a repetitive process. Similar to the process of grief, we lack control over whether or not an area of forgiveness will come up again. It is common for the pain, emotions, memories, heartache or grief to bubble back up. There’s nothing wrong with that. Yet you can choose to continue to “walk in forgiveness,” sorting through those emotions/thoughts/feelings as they come with the backdrop that you will continue to be forgiving.

-not deflecting or minimizing. It’s not saying, “It’s no big deal” or “It’s not that bad.” Forgiveness names what was wrong, yet chooses to move out of it. That process can be quick and painless, or deep and time consuming. Forgiveness costs something, and the cost is often pain and heartache.

-absorbing the offense. Picture a dry sponge soaking in water. Absorbing means taking on the heartache, processing it, learning to live with it, and grow out of it. Absorbing simultaneously means letting go of the right to be resentful, bitter, and cold-hearted.

-not becoming the martyr. While forgiveness is costly and painful, it should never be an excuse to play the victim. The process of “walking in forgiveness” ultimately brings a sober response of joy.

-not an opportunity for gossip. When you share your story with others, guard your heart against using that as an opportunity to bash someone else. “I’ve forgiven ______, but you’ll never believe what they did to me…”

-not letting the offender off the hook. Holding someone accountable for their actions (or lack of actions) is responsible and loving. Just “moving on” is not the same as forgiveness.

-not tolerating abuse. Forgiveness does not mean staying in a harmful situation or tolerating abuse. You can draw firm boundaries while also walking in complete forgiveness. Forgiveness is about your hearts response to an offender, but you can (and should) still seek help, get out, call the police, press charges…whatever may apply.

-trusting God with justice. God tells us that “vengeance is mine.” When you forgive, you transfer power over to the One who will determine the consequence. You give up control to punish or get revenge.

-not a decision someone else can make for you. People in your life may make you feel obligated or hurried. It can be tempting to forgive just so others will still like us, accept us, or not think badly of us. Saying you forgive to avoid rejection is not genuine forgiveness. Likewise, people in your life may tell you not to forgive when you feel you should. The act of forgiveness should not be motivated solely by the opinions of others.

-NOT the same as reconciliation. There’s a huge difference between the two…and this just might be the turning point…a key to understanding forgiveness and the role it plays.

Reconciliation is:

-two sided. Reconciliation means both the offender and the offended are willing to move toward one another with soft, humble hearts…both having a genuine desire to be re-united, to be at peace with one another. You can choose to forgive even if it is not asked of you, which frees your heart, but unless the offender chooses to repent and ask for your forgiveness reconciliation may not be possible.

-a linear process. Soft-hearts lead to Brokenness followed by Confession, Repentance, and Restitution. Forgiveness can happen anywhere in that process, but the point here is that forgiveness is a part of reconciling but it is not the same as reconciling.

-a humbling, beautiful, sometimes painful experience that points the offender and the offended to Jesus.

Forgiveness is ultimately about Jesus

Focusing less on the person who has offended and more on the Person who offered up His life for you (and me) is the heart of true forgiveness. When we set our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we learn what it means to forgive as we have been forgiven. Jesus is our example, as he chose to forgive and love us while we were His enemies, while we hated him. The more we realize our own need for forgiveness the more we are compelled to extend it.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in forgiveness, gives us the ability to extend grace, strengthens our faith, gifts us with inexplainable joy, and creates in us a heart of compassion for others.

Forgiveness is opportunity to encourage others to look past us, our hurt, our pain and our suffering to see Jesus more clearly. He paid the ultimate price for your sin and mine. Each time we speak of our stories and share of forgiveness, both what we have offered and what we have received, we have an opportunity to boast in the greatest act of forgiveness when Jesus gave up His life for our sake.

People may wonder where your hope comes from, how you have joy and strength to forgive and it is one of the sweetest opportunities to speak of the grace of God…choosing, even in your hardship, to boast in Him.

Will you choose to forgive? Will you use this, yes, even this, to boast in Jesus who resonates with your suffering, is near to you in your heartache, and empowers you to walk faithfully through it?

Sweet friend, I promise, His grace is more than sufficient. He sees you, He knows every hair on your head and every detail of your life…and He loves you. You can trust Him with your heart…

__________

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 

Ephesians 4:31-32

keep it simple mama: our kids only need two things

keep it simple: our kids need two things |meg marie Wallace blog | parenting

I’ve never been good at gardening. Taking care of plants does not come naturally to me. What I really want is someone who understands the love language of nature to teach me what to do to keep my plants and flowers not just alive, but flourishing.

It is easy to think that motherhood is like caring for a garden and simply making sure our kids have what they need to stay healthy, clean, and fed. We exhaust ourselves meal planning, scheduling, homework helping, carpooling, cleaning and making sure we won’t run out of diapers before our next grocery run. We have lists and to-do’s and need-to’s and sometimes it can feel like just keeping our kids alive is overwhelming enough!

But how can we create a family that doesn’t just survive, but flourish?

Let me break it down as simply as I can.

Our children have two basic needs: milk and honey.

The “milk” refers to the basic needs of a child: food, drink, general hygiene, clothes, rest.
The “honey” refers to the sweetness of life, the treasured things that make life enjoyable, meaningful and special. The honey is the seed of oneness that when planted blooms into something altogether lovely. The honey is what memories are made of and where bonding begins.

keep it simple: our kids need two things |meg marie Wallace blog | parenting

Just like a garden…oneness, togetherness, bonding and relationship in a family doesn’t just happen, it is cultivated. It takes intention, pursuit, effort and patience.

I want to pass along some ideas for how to not just focus on the “milk” but how to make “honey” and create sweetness in your home.

  1. One On One Time: We have a large family, so this may matter much more to me than to those of you who currently have one child. Regardless of family size, the idea is the same. Spending 5-10 minutes of intentional one-on-one time with just one child can lift the most downcast spirit, restore the most broken relationship, and can soften the most angry heart.
    Ex: take a short walk, sit on a curb in front of your house, take just one to the grocery store with you, pick some flowers together, put the other children to bed and keep one up a little bit later.    
  2. Don’t GOSSIP!: Be careful to hold your tongue on the negative, and be sure to let it loose often with the positive. As parents we must never ever speak poorly about our children. You can crush not only a spirit but kill the relationship with criticism, sarcasm, and ridicule. I know it’s easy to call it “relating,” or label it as “asking for help,” but may we never speak of our children in a damaging or belittling way. Guard your words carefully. Guard how you tell stories to other people. Instead, choose ways to speak well of them, not only outside of the home but inside as well.  Speak in a way that if overheard they would feel a sense of encouragement, pride, trust, love, and affection.
    Ex: If someone else tells a story and asks if you can relate with your own kids, respond in a way that keeps the focus on you, rather than exposing your child.”Yes, I can relate to that, but I know that when my kids behave that way I can really overreact.” or “Kate, that is so kind of you! Thank you for loving your brothers like that.” or “Corban is the BEST sharer! It melts my heart to see how generous he can be with his toys.”
  3. Get Silly!:  Don’t be afraid to put on some music and have a few dance parties. My kids love when I get on the floor and play “puppies” with them. Games like hide and seek or twister that get everyone involved can be so much fun! Letting them see you loosen up will be memories they’ll remember and talk about for a very, very long time! 🙂 Trust me! 🙂
  4. Let Them Help: I love to build, paint, and craft. Bringing my kids into those things that I love does slow it down for me, but it is so worth it. My two year old even knows how to bang real nails with a real hammer into a real piece of wood! He also knows how to empty the dishwasher and switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Letting (notice I didn’t say making) them help is a joy for them. Including them in a task or a project and taking the time to slowly teach creates amazing memories AND a helpful member of the family! 🙂
  5. Storytelling: Make up fairy tales and let them choose their own adventure. Did anyone else read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid? My family LOVED those! Begin with a description of that particular child and give them a pretend setting. And then let them choose their own adventure. When they stop talking, pick up where they left off and take the story to the next part of the plot. Stop when you think they could carry it again…and keep the adventures going!
    Ex: “There once was a little blonde haired girl who had blue eyes, a button nose, and loved unicorns. One day she decided to put on her best fairy princess dress to go out to hunt for a unicorn…”
  6. Speak Softly: Your tone matters and, yes, the volume does too. But when I say “softly” I am not talking about refraining from being firm or requiring obedience. What I do mean is speak to them in ways that you would desire to be spoken to. Speak to your kids in a way that is loving, gentle, and kind. Be mindful that your tone does not give the impression that they are in your way or that you could be doing something more important.
  7. Read To Them Often: Yes, reading books like Curious George or Winnie the Poo are great. Reading any book to your child is a win. But when talking about the “honey” of life, make an effort to pick books that are of good quality, that are written well, that really allow the kids’ minds to run rampant with imagination, that allow them to dive head on into the story as if they know the characters themselves.
    ****I’ll put together a list of recommended books that are age appropriate soon! Reading together as a family creates a oneness through shared experiences and shared characters.
  8. Create Nicknames: I once heard someone say that we only create nicknames for people that we love or people that we hate. And I think it’s true! I have a nickname for each one of my kids and it’s because they are my favorite people on the planet. Coming up with a special name, letting the child know the meaning behind it, and using it often can be such a meaningful thing. I find that when I call their nickname rather than their real name the response is not only quicker, but often times much more open to what I have to say.
  9. Enjoy The Frivolous: Create opportunities to get out the nice tea set or the fine china. Look for ways to spoil and enjoy. Create opportunities for the extraordinary. Ex: Decorating the house in a special way, or get dressed up and going on a family date together, plan a big trip or an unexpected trip to the toy store.
  10. Say Yes Instead Of No: I know, as parents we have to say “no” a lot. But look for opportunities to say “yes” as well. Whether it be an extra snack, or that toy they went crazy for at Target, or a picnic in the living room, or a later bedtime for tonight, surprise them with a “yes” every now and then!
  11. Enjoy The Ordinary: Let’s admit it, most of the time as mothers our days look the exact same. The majority is the mundane. The routine is the normal. Make the “regular” become the “honey” as you enjoy the little things and create fun from the simple.
    Ex: the tickle monster is going to grab their legs before they can get into their car seat, pretend to sit on them when they’re in a chair, accidentally bump into them just to be able to steal a hug…
  12. Give Grace: Yes to the kids, but let’s start with ourselves on this one. Sweet momma, sometimes we need to set aside the “milk” in order to give our kids the “honey.” The laundry can wait another day. Our kids need the “honey,” but…let’s be honest…we do too!!!! ♥

keep it simple: our kids need two things

 

 

an open letter to a critic & 9 reasons I responded

9 reasons I responded : an open letter to a critic | meg marie wallace

Last night, just after folding the last few loads of laundry and putting the last kiddo to bed, I set my phone down to plug it in and noticed I had received an email. My blog alerts me each time I receive a comment and, although it was late at night and I shouldn’t have been anywhere but asleep, I decided to read it. As I scanned through the words, I immediately could feel my face getting hot and my hands begin to tremble…embarrassment, fear, anger, sadness…right away the lump in my throat was there.

An unnamed critic had decided to let me know what they thought of me…and it wasn’t good. What do I do? Do I respond? How do I respond? Do I ignore it? Do I listen to this person? Do I take their advice? Which parts of this are true? Am I able to sleep with this on my mind? After talking it through and spending some time praying, I decided to write back…

And here’s 9 reasons why…

  1. For my own sanity. The man last week who sent an email full of curse words calling me a satanist was easy to blow off. But it’s the comments like this with half-truths that pull on my heart strings and press up against my own longstanding insecurities. These are issues I’ve spent countless hours/days/weeks/months/years fretting over…am I able to be “me”? Will people just stand back and judge? I know how far I’ve come and how He has grown me…and writing it out sure does help keep me grounded. Help me, Lord, to walk in the freedom you say is mine. Help me to walk carefully…help me to refrain from doing what I do – and NOT doing what I don’t do – simply to please others.
  2. To keep my flesh in check. The knee jerk reaction is to blow it off, get angry, or just take it personally and cry. But forcing myself to really think through a response helps me to be of sound mind and to work through how I feel in order to write out a loving response.
  3. To encourage my own heart. When I think of who I would be apart from Jesus, it is someone who would never in a million years put herself “out there” for others to see. I’m far too scared of what people think and would call myself a recovering “people pleaser.” But praise God, there is so much freedom now! As I learn more of who He is, and who I am in Him, I am continually humbled and rejoice in the freedom to be brave and be who I am made to be, enjoying how He has created me. Learning how to respond to people who miss who I am and what I’m trying to do reminds me of what I’m doing in the first place. Responding is a chance to re-focus once more on who I truly am in Him.
  4. To encourage others. I can think of four very close friends of mine who have recently expressed a strong desire to begin speaking more boldly, using their words and lives to proclaim Jesus. One has a love of food and want to use her skills in the kitchen to also speak of Jesus. Another has a keen eye for home decor and wants to use decorating homes as another way to speak of Jesus. Another is amazing at studying the Word…and wants to teach others, specifically women how to study on their own and how to enjoy it.
    Yet when I ask these friends about the hesitation they have each has responded with fear of what other’s might think. “I really want to but what if people don’t like this…or that…” And to you I would say, “go for it!” There will always be people who miss your heart and miss what you’re aiming at…but let them only sharpen you, humble you and help you again realize that your true identity is rooted in Jesus.
  5. Because this is a real person. Sure there will always be trolls out there who only wish to cut down and cause harm, but behind each word, email or comment there is also a soul. Although I am saddened by the negativity, I do still wish to treat people with kindness. Having soft hearts as I describe in marriage actually applies to other relationships too…even ones like this.
  6. My response matters, and yours does too. Responding may have far less to do with whoever actually receives my words…my responses to things like this likely has far more to do with my own heart learning to love those who are difficult to love. Learning to walk in grace and by faith pulls me toward Jesus, which only builds character. After showing this comment to a few friends the resounding response was to not give this person the time of day…but I know that how I respond to these things helps me grow stronger and is yet again another opportunity to speak of Jesus.
  7. In case anyone else out there is struggling with my blog in the same way. As mentioned below there are quite a few articles having to do with image, photography and what we put our hope in…but I’ll use this as another chance to say it once more. Apart from Jesus there is NO hope…apart from Him there is no good whatsoever in my life. Yet God is a good Father and He gives us all good things to enjoy, which includes photography, fashion, style and clothing…when put in they’re rightful place.
  8. I will not carry the ‘grenade’. Sometimes receiving critical comments feels like someone just dropped a bomb in your lap. And sometimes that bomb is meant to be picked up, examined and absorbed…as sometimes the things people say are right. Sometimes there is truth wrapped up in hurtful words and it would be beneficial to look past the sting and hear them. But sometimes that bomb is meant to be lovingly handed back to the one who dropped it. Sometimes what a person says is not true and that grenade that’s now sitting in your lap isn’t meant to stay in your lap. Praying through it, seeking wise counsel, and moving out of it means there’s no need to remain holding on to that grenade…don’t carry what isn’t yours to carry.
  9. To extend grace. Grace is undeserved merit or favor. Grace is giving when you know the other will only take. Grace is loving like Jesus does, who gave up His very life for our sake while were His enemies, and there’s nothing I want to learn more in life than to love like Him.

Below is the comment I am referring to. And under that is my response. My greatest hope is that in reading it you would be strengthened, firm and steadfast in your identity in Jesus. My prayer is that you would be free to live beautifully however you have been created, using whatever gifts, skills, talents, interests, or passions you possess for His glory and for the good of others.

May we not walk in fear of people’s opinions…you and me both. For those of you who are on the fence with a strong desire to step out in faith and use your life to speak boldly of Jesus, I cannot encourage you enough to please do so!!!! There is no fear and no condemnation in Christ Jesus!!! Be brave, sweet sister! Be brave in Him.

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Comment: “Do you ever get tired of posing? I’ve never seen anyone blog who posts more pictures of themselves than you do…why can’t you let your words be the focus? It’s hard to take you seriously, I think you have some great words and valuable things to say but you are constantly putting your face and body and “beautiful life” as the front and center. I can’t ever work past the vanity to truly appreciate what you are offering as I feel you are using your platform to promote yourself. I always wonder if you just pay someone to walk around following you as you pose everyday for a new photo shop…it completely cheapens who I think you really might be and who you want to be. Stop.”

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Hello stranger,

I see I have clearly touched a nerve within you to have warranted such a response. I do apologize that you dislike my content but feel your lack of softness makes your own message a bit blurry to hear. I was unsure as to whether or not I should respond to you because it would seem you are not desiring to begin an actual conversation, or help, as much as you desire to just put me in my place and make your opinion known. I do genuinely care for you as a reader, even without knowing your name, so I’ll give this an honest attempt.

To answer your first question, no, I don’t get tired of posing. I’m actually, within the past year, just beginning to be okay with pictures being taken of me at all. My nerves are slowly easing up and each time I’m becoming a bit more “me” in front of the lens. I’ve hidden on the other side of the camera for a long time and have finally realized that there is joy in allowing myself to be okay with photography and fashion.

Why can’t my words be the focus? Well, with all due respect they are. At many points along my blogging journey I have desired to simply be a fashion blogger. Some of the girls I follow are insanely successful just posting about what they wear and styles they love. It’s very tempting, for many reasons, to join in with them…but seeing as how clothes, style and the way I fix my hair are meaningless in comparison to the Truth and hope we have in Jesus my heart just can’t allow it to be solely that.

Yet, I would ask…does it mean there ought to be no place at all for such things? Does it mean there is no room whatsoever to enjoy photography, clothes and style? I have wrestled for a long, long time on this issue. Does loving photography, fashion and style automatically equal vanity?

And here is where I land…I believe God is a loving Father who has given us all good things to enjoy…for our good and for His glory. My face, my body, what I put on my body AND my words are all intended to be used for His glory. However, life is ultimately not about any of those things. Our clothing will rot, as will our bodies…they will fold up like tents and will fade away into dust one day.

Yet between now and then there is grace to enjoy all He has given. I’ll care for this tent as best as I am able, and I’ll use this tent to share truth and I’ll enjoy what I get to put on, and in, this tent. I do love fashion, I love hair, and I love being healthy and strong…and I love writing…but I love Jesus most. My plan for this blog is to take whatever I have been given, combine ALL the things I love and put them into a little space I call my blog.

To answer your next question about paying someone to take my photos…the answer is a resounding no. We don’t have the money for that…and even if I did I would loathe the idea of someone following us around all the time. My children have absolutely loved learning how to use a camera…one we’ve had for over 12 years but somehow still works decently. The 7 and 8 year olds have told me they’d like to be photographers someday and they argue over who gets to take the pictures each time. Sure, some of the pics are blurry, but I absolutely love the fact that they have learned a skill they will use for the rest of their lives…and more than that I adore that my blog is filled with photos taken by their sweet hands.

My amazing husband also takes my photos. He has encouraged me to be more bold and to be more brave in taking more pictures of myself as he knows the blogs I am most drawn to are the ones that have real photos of the writers. I love blogs with big pictures, colorful ones that fill up the whole screen, real ones of the actual author, not ones that have been purchased from someone else’s site. I dreamt for a long time of creating content similar to what I admired in others…and it’s taken far too long for me to be okay with creating that myself. Photography and style are two loves of mine…a creative outlet, an art form, something I celebrate…but in it’s rightful place.

I fully believe those peripheral things in life are not evil. Pictures of myself, or of me with my kids or of our outings/vacations together as a family are not wrong and I celebrate that my blog is something like an ongoing scrapbook made with and by the little people God has entrusted to me. I grieve that you feel my freedoms in being creative cheapen my words, but I would ask for you to read carefully the words I write when it comes to fashion, images of “perfection” and what true beauty really is. There is a dying world out there…one where people feel that great pictures, the “perfect” life and upholding their “image” is all that is worth pursuing. I desire to engage with that world and share a different story…a better ending…true life that can only be found in Jesus.

From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your perspective. It’s good to know how to pray, for you and for others, and how to continue to write. But at the same time I do plan to still use creativity, photography and fashion in this space. I would like to take the opportunity to encourage you to use your gifts and your passions in life fully as well, without fear of others opinions and without reservation…for your own joy, the good of others, and for His glory. Making much of yourself or myself is meaningless, but using your passions, talents, and gifts to point others to Him is surely something to celebrate. I would urge you to make life beautiful in your own unique way that others might see Jesus more clearly in all that you create and all that you enjoy.

I would also love to encourage you in the future to be slower to speak and to use your words to build and lift others up instead of tear down. When you have a grievance with someone it’s always best to begin a conversation by introducing yourself and speaking in a way that is helpful and welcomes a response. It isn’t loving when you simply assume you understand someone and let out your opinion without the plan for relationship. the Bible would refer to that as a “noisy gong.”

I’d also like to encourage you to ask more questions about people’s hearts/motives instead of assuming you see the whole picture. Humbling yourself to seek to get to know someone better might give you some clarity or perspective that you wouldn’t otherwise have had, or it very well may confirm what it is you feel you already believed to be true. Either way, the fact that you made a loving attempt to hear someone out will give you a much clearer voice to the person you wish to correct.

And lastly, if you do love Jesus, and if we are siblings in Him, then I would urge you to treat people as you would want to be treated. Treat them as you would your own family, because in Him we are family, and to do so with kindness and compassion.

Grace to you,
Meg

vegas | blue denim ruffle dress

Vegas | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | Excalibur | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace

Vegas | blue ruffle dress | meg marie wallace


letter M logo   Last week I flew to Houston, TX for the Lee Labrada Classic and then drove to Austin for a massive jam-packed photo shoot with Jamie Eason and the two other Lean Body For Her teammates. We were pampered and spoiled and over the course of 4 days wore no less than 100 different outfits! I never in my life would have dreamed I could have been a model for anything.  I’m only 5’4 and I kept pinching myself the entire weekend that I was even there! The Lean Body team wants to promote fitness with class…meaning not the normal kind of booty showin’, bare bodied, sex appeal that most fitness companies do. I’ve been a part of the Lean Body team for 2 years now and have picked up on some of the values here and there…but being there, meeting everyone face to face and hearing the goals and the heart of the company in person was absolutely amazing. I’m sure I’ll be sharing a ton more as the weeks and months go on…but I just wanted to say I’m so honored to be a part of the Labrada family.

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After Austin I flew to Vegas and met up with my fam for a vacation. Matt drove ALL of the kids from Cali to Vegas by himself! I couldn’t believe he offered to do that but he really wanted me to get to be in TX. He and the kids so great! My mom booked a time share and my sister & her husband and my brother & his fam all joined us. I loved getting to sleep in the same place with sleeping bags on the floor and stuffed animals everywhere…seriously, I think we had about 50 stuffed animals with us!

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Our kids are notorious for losing their swim goggles, which meant everyone was sharing and a few of the boys ended up wearing pink goggles and borrowing adult goggles that were far too big for their faces. Crew finally feels more comfortable with swimming and seeing him jump in and literally scream his head off with excitement had us all giggling.

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Matt and I went to a night club for a date night out. As in a legit night club. When we first got married he told me he hated dancing, so we really just never did, aside from our wedding dance that is. But for whatever reason (maybe making the solo drive to Vegas gave him an added boost of bravery) he actually agreed to go with me and my brother/sister in law to this club. It was probably the most unlikely place you would have guessed we would be in…but once we got on the packed dance floor it was as if no one else was there. We had the best time and keep talking about how thankful we are that we are married and don’t have to date anymore! It was so obvious that every single person was on the prowl…and we loved being reminded that we don’t have to question who it is we want to spend our lives with. We were also joking that if this club only knew I was a pastor’s wife, mom of five, homeschooler, Christian blogger that they’d never have let us in! 🙂 But thanks to “Romeo” who got us all on the guest list and never asked any of those questions.

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We took the kids to the Excalibur for the Medieval Times show. We sat in the Austria section and they served the food during the show. But to keep with the “theme” they serve food without any utensils. One kiddo, out of the five, really got into it and ate his chicken right off the bone while grunting like caveman. 🙂 But the others just looked at me funny and refused to touch it…and it was then that I knew we’d be giving them cereal for dinner after the show was over! The show was amazing though! The sword fights and horses, the explosions, and the lights! The kids loved it all! Especially when a horse pooped right in front of the kids and they spent the remainder of the show trying to guess which performer was going to accidentally step in it.

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We made so many memories playing 14 rounds of mini golf, trying sodas from all over the world, playing family games until 2 am, eating far too much at Steak ‘n Shake, the lazy river at Mandalay, the frequent Starbucks runs to keep us going, playing duck duck goose every morning around the breakfast table, seeing the sharks at the aquarium and riding escalators a gazillion times over in every hotel! (more pics of all our adventures coming later this week!) signature xo meg

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This dress I have on was from Marshalls. The name on the tag is Style Envy and it’s a size S. I’ve tried to find it for you online but I haven’t been able to yet.  I’ll update here if I do come across the exact one, but I’ve also linked a few super cute similar options below as well.