Heart of the Word: Ephesians 5&6

Hello, friends,
How are you? Have you been enjoying our time in Ephesians?
The month of February has been a lot more hectic than I ever anticipated, but this study, along with a few other resources I’ve been using, have helped me stay steady in my faith and consistently connect with God. I started 2015 in a very disconnected and dry place spiritually, and I’m thankful that over the last two months, God has been slowly drawing me back to Himself and speaking to me through His word. I’m finding new rhythms and routines, each one breathing new life into my quiet time with Him.
Today, as we close out our first Heart of the Word study through Ephesians, I wanted to share a little bit about the resources that have been blessing me this month.  (And I apologize for the late post today, but like I said. This month. ::insert crazy face emoticon::) ;)

One of the biggest messages God has been speaking to me through all of the resources below is the reminder to remain steady and firm in my faith and trust Him in everything. He has been encouraging me to continue on the path He has marked out for me, leaving comparison behind and fully trusting in the plan He has. The reminder to be steady in my faith is such a good and timely one, because it’s so easy to be shaken in the midst of the unexpected, or when life doesn’t look the way we think it should.

But with His help, I am finding strength, steadiness, and a faith that allows me to live fully and freely for Him, knowing all of my unanswered questions and concerns remain in His hands.

He has also been reminding me of the importance of our thoughts and what we choose to focus our minds on. He has been showing me that I am continually being made new in the attitude of my mind, and that a mind and heart focused on Him brings LIFE and HOPE and PURPOSE.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. – Phil. 4:8

These resources below have helped me to intentionally fill my mind with His truth, His goodness, His promises. They have helped me focus on the best, not the worst, when I am tempted to worry, complain, or compare my life to others’. I hope they encourage you, too.

Heart of the Word Study


I have loved having a book of the Bible to anchor myself in this  month. When I wasn’t sure what to read, I could open up to Ephesians and see what God wanted to reveal.
As I read through the final two chapters this week, I was again reminded of the power of our faith. Ephesians 6:16 tells us to take up the shield of faith. I am so encouraged to remember that our faith is a shield, that there is power in remaining steady and firm in Him.

The One Year Praying the Promises of God

Oh, this has been such a blessing to read each morning. I love the combination of scripture, devotional, and prayer. I have felt both empowered and encouraged to be reminded of WHO God is and what He promises.


Wholeheartedly: A Devotional for Singles

This devotional by Natalie Metrejean has been infusing my season of singleness with new joy and fresh purpose.  I am digging into the scriptures and prompts with a hungry heart, excited for the Lord to continue to speak to me and direct my steps.

I Am They album

And finally, this album has been a bit of a soundtrack to my days. It’s another way I am reminded of who God is and all the ways in which He is good and faithful. One of my favorite tracks is Over and Over again.

I will find you over and over again, your love and your mercy begin, no matter how far, you’ll find me where I am. 

And since FIND is my word for 2015 this song is pretty perfect for where I’m at.

Make a Way is also a favorite right now.

Wherever you lead me, I know you won’t leave me. Wherever you call me, you will make a way. Wherever we’re going, I will be holding to the promise You have made. You will make a way.

I totally recommend giving this album a listen. Crank up the sound, sing out loud, dance around…however you most love to worship. Your heart will be blessed for sure, and you will be reminded of just how good and amazing He is and how very much He loves you.

And now I’d love to hear what you’ve been learning and what life has looked like for you recently. What’s God been teaching you? Where has He been leading you? Join the link-up below!

P.S. Stay tuned for future #HeartoftheWord study plans! And thank you for being a part of this first Heart of the Word journey with us!

God’s Plan for You is Right on Time


If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen this photo. It’s part of a new ‘lil collaboration I have going with one of my talented friends Kelsey of Pinegate Road. It’s my words + her lovely hand lettering. And while it’s not a fancy or complicated collaboration by any means, it’s giving me lots of fresh inspiration for new stories to write and tell. (You can follow this collaboration on Instagram using the hashtag #aptdnotes.)

You’re blessed when you stay on course,
walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD.
You’re blessed when you follow His directions,
doing your best to find Him.  (‭Psalm‬ ‭119‬:‬ 1-2 MSG)

I’ve been thinking a lot about these verses lately and how it can be easy to take our eyes off the path God has for us. When I start comparing my story with others,’ I’m tempted to veer off course and write things the way I think they should go. I wrestle with God over timing, circumstances, and the way my current season stacks up against those around me.

It’s so easy to think someone else is living a better story than we are, isn’t it? Or that because our story doesn’t look as far along as theirs, something must be wrong with ours — or worse, with us.

But those thoughts are just lies that we believe.

And we don’t have to believe them.

God’s plan for us is right on time, and He will faithfully reveal each next step for us when the time is right.

The second part of those verses in Psalms does require action on our part, though. The writer of this Psalm is reminding us that we are blessed when we FOLLOW God and do our best to FIND Him. That means seeking Him in everything, asking Him for wisdom and guidance, and making Him a part of everything we do.

I find myself comparing more frequently and feeling the most dissatisfaction when I’m NOT seeking God regularly. And I think that’s because when I’m not seeking Him and listening for Him in all I do, I can’t clearly see the path He has marked out for me. Instead, I see the path that everyone else is on and what I think is missing or lacking in my life. I completely miss the opportunity to praise Him for what He’s doing in my life and what is unique and special about the story He has especially for me.

I am so thankful that we can find Him in every season, in every chapter — in both the joyful and the challenging moments of our lives.

And even though I sometimes wrestle with some of my current realities, I take comfort in knowing that when I seek Him, He will continue to reveal the road before me and lead me step by step.

So, today, I am choosing to celebrate this particular part of the road I’m on, this part of my journey. I am choosing to look around at where I am with gratitude and with eyes that can see and appreciate beauty. And I am choosing to live with hope for what’s ahead, for all of the twists and turns and bends that I cannot yet see.








Calling All Dreamers: Amber of Beautiful & Beloved

Hi, friends! I have been loving this Calling All Dreamers series so much. Each woman’s words have blessed and encouraged my heart — and I hope yours, too. I’m excited to share the next post in the series today: Amber of Beautiful & Beloved . I’ve been so very blessed to connect with Amber. She has a soft, sweet spirit, and her words are always so lovely and encouraging. Welcome, Amber, and thank you for being here today! :)


I never fully understood the meaning behind this verse before.

I was never as full of dreams and desires as I am now.

I know that when I am with God, when I am trying to walk with Him and talk with Him, when I am seeking a relationship with Him, I begin to dream.




This dream could not possibly come true without God’s hand working ALL the things

Kind of dreams.

That is how I read this verse.

When I am delighting myself in the Lord

He will fill my heart with incredible desires and wild dreams.

Then HE will make them happen.

And when He does, I will point back to Him, and give all the glory to the one who deserves it.

The one who makes dreams come true.

The one who plants desires, and shines upon them so that they might grow.

The one who delights in me and I in Him.

Thankful to be dreaming with a Big God in my corner.

In awe of the desires that He has given me.

And excited for His will to be done.

Keep Dreaming Big with Jesus friends,

His good work in you is just getting started!

In Love,


Hi!  My name is Amber and I blog over at Beautiful & Beloved where you can read about beauty & love, God’s grace & God’s word, chaos & creativity.  I am the mother to 4 kids ages 5 to 9months and I am married to a handsome military man.  I am hoping to open my own boutique very soon so I am no stranger to God sized dreams and I am beyond delighted to be sharing with you all today!

Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Ashley Beaudin

Hi, friends! So happy to be sharing the next in the Calling All Dreamers series. Do you all know Ashley Beaudin? She is the beautiful heart and soul behind Overcome The Lie and The Story Project. I so appreciate her heart, and I know you will, too! Thank you for being here today, Ashley! :)

Plans, Discipline, and Dreamers

I have been thinking, as I usually do, and maybe some would say, a little too much. But I enjoy it. I enjoy the beauty of processing life, wrestling through what I am feeling and dreaming about how to move ahead.

One thing I am really good at is making plans, and one thing I sometimes am not so good at is following through with those plans. If you have hung around me long enough, you’ve probably noticed it.

I cope through life by making a plan. 

When I see something that I do not like in my life, maybe something I am struggling with, or something that feels out of control, I get out my pen and my paper, and I write out how I will change it.

But the thing is I never actually do the plan.

But why? Why do we get stuck in making plans without any life change?

I think sometimes making plans can deceive us that if we write it out or if we think about it long enough, it equates to actually doing it.

How many of us read magazines, books, and articles on eating healthy, but can’t seem to put down our can of Coke?

How many of us listen to sermon after sermon talking about faithfulness in the secret place but struggle opening up the Bible?

How many of us watch movies, read books, or like a Facebook statuses about fighting poverty, but can’t seem to stop for them on the street or go visit them where they are?

I am convicted. I am so convicted.

At the core of this beating heart is a dreamer. Dreamers see life with colours and words and ideas. They would go anywhere and do whatever it takes, because they do not see what everyone else sees; they see potential, possibility, and a promise. Like a wild horse, full of passion and enthusiasm, they find beauty in the chase.

My dreamers and my wild horses, pause with me, and breathe.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our pursuit that we forget we are worthy of pursuit, too.

And discipline is not your enemy. I know sometimes it feels like it is when all you want to do is shout from the rooftops and run free, but it actually makes you better.

Disciplining yourself is not punishment — it is recognizing how valuable you are. 

We have to stay close to His staff and His rod, not just one or the other. It is His staff that reminds us that we are His, but it is His rod that keeps us safe and from wandering. (See Psalm 23. Like right now. Actually go look.)

We need our dreams. We need the passion and the hope that you bring. You are the poets and the prophets, ushering in the wind of God to our dry bones. So dream big and dream wild.

But remember reality. Look in its windows and in its doors and see the faces and the numbers. Remind your heart that you are worth pursuit; you are worth discipline. And that plans don’t happen just because you wrote them out.

Plans happen when you get up every morning and when you start being faithful. 

This is something I am hearing in every corner of my heart today and maybe I just wrote this for me. But I am soaking this in and letting it change me. Changing how I cope and approach and respond.

Maybe discipline and faithfulness are like the harnesses of dreams and passion, not because they hold back but because they lead and protect. 

And I know there are some days when I wake up and my passion needs to be protected and needs to be led by the hand. Because I don’t want discouragement to have a chance.

Not a chance.


Ashley Beaudin is a 24-year-old freelance writer, visionary, and speaker. She is the editor and writer of The Story Project and the founder of Overcome the Lie. You can hang out with her some more at www.thestoryproject.org



Lately, I’ve been finding refreshment in the sunshine, in the spring-scented air, and in His Word, His truth, and His promises to me.

I also recently came across The Message translation of Ecclesiastes 9:7-9, and it is such a vibrant reminder to live fully each and every day.

Seize life! Eat bread with gusto, Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes — God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Ecclesiastes 9:7-9


Here’s an incredible hand lettered canvas of that inspiring verse by Lindsay Letters.

Hope you seize life today — and live colorfully and praise-fully!

P.S. What do you think of the blog’s new look? :)

Proclaiming His Peace


I want to proclaim His peace.

That phrase has been repeating itself in my heart all week.

I want to proclaim His peace over myself, over my friends and my family, and over my sweet blog readers.

I want to dwell in it, and I want to rest in it — saying no to the fears, doubts, and worries that so often clamor for my attention.

It’s hard sometimes, though, isn’t it?

Resting in His peace doesn’t always come naturally for  me. Sometimes, it seems easier to fret or worry, questioning things, wondering about the future, and playing the “what-if” game.

But I want roots that run deep in trust… 

I want to learn how to praise Him first, opening my hands and my heart to free the worries from where they’ve settled, allowing Him to replace the empty space with His perfect peace.

I want what Philippians tells me I can have — that in the midst of my praying and my praising, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle me down.

I don’t know what might be weighing on your heart tonight, what fears or unknowns you might be facing. But I do know that His peace is readily available for both of us, that His wholeness will come and settle our hearts and our minds, as we pray and praise and trust.

So, tonight, I’m proclaiming His peace — for me, and for you.

I’m settling in to rest in it, with thanks.

And I hope you will, too.



Thoughts on Being Brave

By far, the post that gets the most traffic on this little blog of mine is my Poem for Bravery. Week after week, people arrive at A Place to Dwell after searching for poems on bravery.

This got me thinking about being brave — what it looks like, what it means for each of us, and how we get there.

I think we all want to be brave, taking risks and making leaps forward that bring us to exciting new places. No one wants to be stuck or static. But why is it so hard sometimes? Why do we so often doubt ourselves when it comes to the bravery we carry around inside? Why does it often lie dormant, hidden away from the world and from ourselves? And how can we tap into it more often?

I’m learning that bravery comes more freely in my life when I trust Him more. (It so often comes back to trust, doesn’t it?) I am finding I can be bolder and braver when I’m in His presence, when I’m walking closely with Him and trusting Him to lead my steps.

Deeper trust leads to freedom —
freedom from fear, freedom from worry/anxiety, freedom from insecurity…The list goes on.
Deeper trust frees us from everything that overshadows the bravery we always have within us. 

I know I’ve mentioned that I’m currently working through the Fearless plan on YouVersion (highly, highly recommend). As I make my way through this plan, I am opening my heart more to His truth — who He is and what He wills for my life, and I am being set free from the things that hinder me from having the kind of trust that produces a brave, courageous spirit.

I want to live this life as an adventure, with Him as my faithful companion and guide. When He wants to take me somewhere new in my life and in my faith, I want to jump at the chance, bravely following along, knowing that we’re going to end up somewhere good, even if the trip there challenges me in unexpected ways.

I want to recite His truth when the bravery feels hard to find, remembering that He desires me to be strong and courageous, and He will equip me to do so.

And I want to be encouraged that I can always draw on His strength and His wisdom, because He is with me wherever I go.

What about you? What does bravery look like in your life? In what ways has He been equipping you to live with faith and courage?

Friday Inspirations


After a hectic week, I’m keeping it simple today and sharing a little list of what’s been inspiring me this week.

*Can’t stop listening to Rend Collective Experiment.
*Loving this post about being fearless from Christy of My Wings Are Made of Faith.
*Enjoying the beautiful inspirations tucked between the pages of Life Beautiful magazine and The Simple Things magazine.
*Looking forward to trying this recipe for Bittersweet Lavender Hot Chocolate posted by Natalie of Good Girl Style.
*Currently being super inspired by these two YouVersion plans: Fearless and Soul Detox.
*Doing some research on being part of a CSA. Really trying to make a commitment to eat fewer processed foods in 2013 (as part of my 29 Things). Whole Living magazine has a section on CSA cooking. And this book looks pretty good, too.

Hope you’ve all had an inspired week. (I’m looking forward to doing some reading/writing/art journaling this weekend…and maybe making a little trip the library, as well.

Happy Friday!

Use Your Gifts & Spread The Courage

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know I write a lot about loving your story and living it with courage and confidence. I believe in that with my whole heart, and I’d venture to say I write about it so much, because it’s a reminder and a truth I need to hear often, too.


{image via Lionhart}

I’m honored and excited to be participating in a social media campaign called Overcome The Lie. Overcome The Lie is a week-long campaign focused on breaking free from the lies we as women have been told, maybe even believed, and celebrating our stories of how we have overcome any lie, big or small! It is being hosted by The Story Project in partnership with Lionhart. It runs from January 28-February 1.

My friends, there is so much power and protection in God’s truth, and I’m learning how important it is to live and rest in that truth each and every day. In my life, the Lord has really been setting me free from lies that prevent me from living fearlessly and fruitfully. He is teaching me that each and every season He places me in is important and beautiful and that He’s using me even in those seasons I call “seasons of waiting.”


The lie of comparison also is something He’s been setting me free from. My story does not/should not/will not look exactly like someone else’s. Sure, there may be similarities, which can be great sources of encouragement, but when we start comparing and feeling like our story doesn’t measure up — that’s when we allow the lie of comparison to steal our joy and hinder our ability to produce fruit.

As part of the most recent She Reads Truth plan (which I HIGHLY recommend), I read this scripture in Romans 12: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. It does not say some of us have gifts. It says we, meaning ALL OF US. We all have different gifts (also note it says different gifts), according to the grace given to each of us. Be encouraged to use your unique giftings in faith. You are beautifully unique and have so much to offer the world. Embrace those things. Share those things. Be brave in those things.

We can’t allow the lies we hear to keep us from living out our stories and sharing our gifts and our hearts. Because when we do share our gifts and our hearts and our stories, we spread the courage so others may do the same. A while ago, I read this quote from Katherine Center: “You have to be brave with your life, so that others can be brave with theirs.


{image via Lionhart}

Let’s do that together, shall we?

Let’s live out His truth, joining together through Overcome the Lie, and be brave with our lives, so others can be brave with theirs.

P.S. There’s going to be a Twitter party on January 30 in celebration of our stories and freedom in Him. I hope you’ll join me there. It’s going to be such a joyful, encouraging event. It starts at 8 p.m., using the hashtag #overcomethelie. You can RSVP here.

With Abundance


Ever since Natalie posted this scripture, it’s been on my heart and mind. I decided to create a desktop background, so I can continue to absorb this beautiful truth in the days to come.

Thank you, Lord, for everything this year will bring. The blessings. The pruning. The new beginnings. The grace. The ideas + dreams to pursue. The lessons learned. The restoration. Did I mention the grace?  The courage. The adventures. The beauty…All the things yet to be but that are already written, penned by your faithful, loving hand.

{You can download your desktop wallpaper, here.}