I am a natural planner. I’m pretty sure I was born this way. Even as a young girl I remember always wanting to know what was going on and what to expect next. And that desire has stuck with me throughout my life. I love to dream and plan and set goals. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but oftentimes my desire for the future has held me back from truly appreciating and thriving in the right now.

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In the past couple of years especially, God has really pointed out this tendency in me. This realization was a bit sobering. When I get to the end of my life, I want to know that I have truly made the most out of every season I’ve been in, and not just wished for what was coming next.

It can be too easy to get caught up in the mindset that “the grass is greener on the other side” and then start wishing to be on the other side of so many things. Wishing to be finished with school…to land that dream job…to meet “the one”…to be married…to have kids…to live in a certain town or state…to own a house…to get a raise…for our babies to sleep through the night…for our toddler to be potty trained…for that next opportunity to come…for Friday to just get here already. We can spend our entire lives wishing for the next thing that we think will make us happy, but once that thing comes we are already too caught up in looking toward the next best thing that we forget to truly enjoy what is right in front of us. I don’t want to live that way.

If we constantly buy into the lie that the grass is greener on the other side then we will never enjoy our lives. We will just continue to be miserable. The truth is, the grass is greener where you water it. When we are caught up in looking for the next best thing, we neglect where we are right now and then it’s no wonder that where we are right now starts to look a little brown and withered.

Picture a tree that is planted in the ground. If the tree isn’t well tended to, then it will only grow shallow roots and will become susceptible to drought and could more easily wither up and die. But then picture a tree that is planted and then looked after and well loved, this tree will grow deep roots that will help it survive even in the harsher seasons. This tree will thrive and bloom where it’s planted.

I want to be like that second tree. I want to grow deep roots, bloom, and thrive where I am right now. No matter what that season looks like, I want to make the best of it. I want to cherish these days, because I know before long they will be in the past.

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  - Philippians 4:11b-13

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” – Andy from The Office

You know what…we’re in the good old days right now. The season you’re in right now has the potential to be your best yet. So let’s grow deep roots, bloom where we’re planted, and thrive.

Welcome the New

  Tiffany  February 13, 2015   2 Comments

For the past month or so, God has been speaking to my heart about the fact that He is wanting to do something NEW. Sometimes we can get so stuck in the past that it actually limits the new things that God is wanting to do in our lives. God can do anything, yes, but since He gave us the freedom of choice, He needs our cooperation and willingness. I’ve been reminded of the story of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19, where God rescued Lot and his family from Sodom, and in turn rescued them from destruction. God told them to “Escape for your life. Do not look back.” But as they were fleeing, Lot’s wife looked back on the burning city and she was turned into to a pillar of salt. God freed her, but she decided to focus on the past, and that lead to her destruction. She was frozen in the past and was unable to walk into the new things God had for her.

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This is a bit of an extreme example, but it hits home for me. I know there are situations and seasons in my life that I am tempted to look back on. Some good, some bad. When you’ve been hurt or rejected, it can be easy to dwell on that and allow it to dictate your future. Or even when a good season has ended, we can sometimes look back on it with such desire to experience “the good ‘ole days” again that we completely miss the amazing new that is right in front of us.

God has more. He is always wanting to do something new in us and through us. What a blessing! This is one of the reasons why living life with Him is never boring. It’s quite the opposite. It’s exciting!

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“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:18-19

Recently I have been listening to Bethel Music’s new album “We Will Not Be Shaken” nonstop. The song “Jesus We Love You” is one of my favorites, and the verses have especially spoken to me.

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Old things have
Your love has
stayed the same
Your constant
grace remains the

Things that we thought were dead
Are breathing in life again
You cause your Son to shine on darkest nights

The hopeless have found their hope
The orphans now have a home
All that was lost has found its place in you

You lift our weary head
You make us strong instead
You took these rags and made us beautiful

Whatever you have dealt with in your past, whether it was good or bad, remember this–it is in your past. The hurt, the rejection, it is behind you. You do not have to deal with it anymore. And those good times? Yes, it is good to remember and be thankful for the good! Do not forget the great things God has done. But my friend, what He has done in the past is nothing compared to what He has in store for your future. It’s going to be good. Really good.

So, let’s be like Paul and “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14

What lies ahead for you is far greater than what is behind you. I don’t know about you, but that gets me excited! :)

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I am so excited to be sharing my first post on Illustrated Faith as a part of the Education and Creative Team! I’m showing step-by-step how I completed a page in my Bible from start to finish. Head over to Illustrated Faith to check it out!

Recently I discovered the joy of Bible art journaling, and I must say…it has completely revolutionized my devotional times. One of my goals for 2015 is to read through the Bible, not just in a way that checks it off of my to-do list, but in a way that impacts and changes me from the inside out. I started art journaling in my Bible shortly after the new year began, and it has truly done just that. Changed me. When I read my daily Bible readings and then take the time to creatively express on a page what I learned, I begin to retain and understand His word like I never have before. It has been amazing!

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I have always been an enthusiast of all things creative, and I also have a great love for encouraging others in their walks with God…and sharing this with others has been an amazing chance to combine those two passions of mine.

If you would like to keep up with my Bible Art Journaling progress, feel free to follow me on Instagram where I’ve been sharing the pages of my Bible throughout each week.

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Since beginning this in the past month I have received a lot of questions from people about this, so I wanted to answer a few of those here.

Where is your Bible from?
My Bible was a Christmas gift from my amazing parents. I have this ESV Journaling Bible from Crossway in the leaf cover design. They also have a black hardcover Bible.

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How do I get started?
This form of worship may not be for everyone, and that’s totally okay. But if you feel like this is something that resonates in your heart, then I encourage you to dive right in! You don’t really need much to get started, just a Journaling Bible, and a good pen. I also recommend following a Bible reading plan that will keep you in God’s word daily. There are many great plans out there, but right now I’m doing the 365 Days of Truth plan by She Reads Truth. Once you have those few things, you have all you need to start. Spend time in the Word, and then pick a page with a passage that speaks to you, and then draw, color, paint, write, create. Don’t let perfectionism hold you back. I have made many mistakes on my pages already, but that’s okay and I think that the imperfections can make it even more beautiful and meaningful.
Bible Pages 1

What are your favorite products?
I kept things simple and started out with just the products I had on hand. I even used my son’s Crayola crayons! You really don’t need anything fancy. But as I’m continuing, I’m slowly adding to my supplies and learning what works best on the thin Bible pages and also discovering what I enjoy working with the most.

There are a lot of great products out there that you can use, and I’m sure I’ll continue discovering more. But right now, here are the items I reach for the most.

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There are many other products that I’ve been trying and loving, and I hope to share more of that with you all as I continue to experiment and explore.

The greatest resource I’ve found, however, has been the online Bible journaling community, Illustrated Faith. It has been amazing to join together with other creatives as we explore God’s word in an artistic way.

If you would like to join in, you can check out the Illustrated Faith website, Facebook page, group, and #illustratedfaith Instagram hashtag.

Shanna Noel, the founder of Illustrated Faith, is the one who first introduced me to Bible journaling in this way. She is a great inspiration to me! (You can follow her on Instagram at @shannanoel).


This brings me to an exciting announcement! A couple of weeks ago, Shanna Noel invited me to be a part of the Illustrated Faith Education and Creative Team! Soon I will be sharing tutorials, peeks into my creative process, and other fun posts on the Illustrated Faith blog.  I am so excited and honored to be a part of this  team along with a group of such amazing women.

I plan to continue sharing my Bible art journaling journey here and on Instagram. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or have requests for specific posts you would like to see.

If you have done Bible art journaling, I would absolutely love to see some of your pages! Feel free to leave links to your work below. And if this has sparked your interest and spoken to your heart, I encourage you to grab a Bible, take the leap, and dive right in! :)

[Note: Some of the above links are affiliate links. I receive a small percentage on each sale. However, I truly do love each of these products, or else I wouldn't recommend them.]

Three months have passed since Gideon’s birth, and I am now ready and excited to share his Birth Story with you. This post is a long one, but it contains a story that is near and dear to my heart, and I feel led to share it with you. My hope is that this encourages you, no matter what you may be facing in your life.


When I saw those two pink lines on that stick on November 13, 2013, I was filled with one of the greatest joys imaginable. I ran into our bedroom, jumped onto the bed, hugged Jonathan, and told him, “We’re having a baby!” And then he held me as I cried. Tears of happiness mixed with tears of worry. I loved this baby so much already, and I didn’t want to lose him.

Within the four months before the beginning of this pregnancy, we had experienced two miscarriages. Those losses were two of the hardest times of our lives. It is difficult to put into words the kind of grief we experienced (as I know so many who deal with miscarriages do.)

But God had promised us more children. He had promised us that He would turn our mourning into great joy. So, even though my mind wanted to think “Don’t get your hopes up”, I knew that was exactly what God wanted me to do…to get my hopes up. To put my hope in Him and trust Him with this baby.

So that is what we did. I won’t pretend like it was easy. Any time I felt a twinge of pain in my abdomen, tears would fill my eyes and fear threatened to take over. That is when I had to close my eyes, push aside the thoughts of worry and doubt, and whisper, “God, I trust you.” And then allow my heart to be filled with hope, joy, and peace again.

When I was 8 weeks pregnant and we went to our first OB appointment, it was amazing to see our baby on that ultrasound screen and to see that heartbeat. This was farther than we had made it with our last two pregnancies. And our precious baby was looking so healthy. I sighed a deep sigh of relief.

In the weeks and then months that followed, I had to continue trusting God. At our 16 week appointment, we were surprised to find out early that we were having a boy! We had felt all along that this was another boy, and it was wonderful to finally be able to call him by name…our precious Gideon James.

When I reached 18 weeks in this pregnancy, my trust was tried more than ever. I started having contractions. Not just the normal Braxton Hicks contractions that you expect at this point in pregnancy, but very painful ones…and a lot of them close together…every day. We were dealing with some difficult situations as a family at this time, and my doctor told me she believed the contractions were brought on because of the stress associated with this. I needed to relax and rest…and trust God.

For the remaining 5 months, there were multiple trips to the doctor, many weeks of bed rest, a lot of tests and monitoring, and numerous contractions. It was scary. There were days I just spent crying because of the pain and the uncertainty. But in the midst of it all, I felt God there saying, “I am with you. I’ve got this.” And so I continued to hope and trust.

Even though I was having contractions nearly non-stop for months, our baby continued to be healthy. I was healthy. This pregnancy was a healthy one. And for that, I was so thankful.

On June 25th, things started to get crazier. The contractions got even stronger, and got to be about 2-3 minutes apart for a long time. We went to the hospital. They admitted me, and then tried to slow the contractions down. I was only 35 weeks along, and they really wanted him to stay in there until at least 37 weeks. They gave me some medicine through an IV, the contractions slowed to 10 minutes apart, and I was sent home.

Contractions continued to be close together, I went in to the doctor’s office a couple times in the following days for monitoring, but I wasn’t progressing fast enough to be admitted. On June 29th (Liam’s 2nd Birthday!), the contractions got extremely painful, and again, they were 2-3 minutes apart. Back to the hospital we went! (Thankfully, we had celebrated Liam’s Birthday the day before). I had progressed more, so they wanted to keep me overnight for monitoring. These contractions were very painful. They were the worst I had experienced yet, and really felt like it could be time for him to come. They told me that it was very likely that I would have to have a c-section that night, because Gideon was still in the breech position. I was given some pain medication so that I could try and rest, but the contractions were so strong that I still felt them all night long. However, by morning, the contractions (although still painful), had eased up and were now only 10 minutes apart again. I was then sent home to continue to wait things out.

In the 11 days that followed, contractions continued. They normally stayed about 5 minutes apart (and many times even closer), but never got further than 10 minutes apart. The intensity would vary from uncomfortable ramping up to very painful. We made many more trips to the doctor’s for monitoring, and although I was still in these early stages of labor, it wasn’t time for Gideon to come yet.

I began to feel like he was never going to come. The uncertainty of “Is he coming now? How about now? No? Now?” really wore on me. But again, I was reminded…Trust God. He’s got this. Gideon will come in the perfect time. Don’t worry.

On July 10th, after being monitored for more painful and very close together contractions, I saw my doctor again…and she said that it was time. I was at 4cm and was progressing at a faster rate now. Gideon was measuring large, and didn’t have much space (or amniotic fluid) in order to turn from his breech position, so we needed to have a c-section. We went ahead and scheduled it for early the next morning, and the doctor sent me home to hopefully get some rest before the big day…with instructions to come in before that if things got more severe.

I left that appointment on cloud 9! I was SO excited to finally meet our boy the next day.

We went home that night filled with excited anticipation. I was still having contractions, but it felt easier because there was an end in sight. My dear friend, Cyndi, picked up Liam to stay with them that night and the following day. That way, my Mom (who was visiting) could be with us at the hospital for the birth. We ate dinner, got everything ready to go for the morning (although it didn’t take long because our bags had been packed for months anyways), and Jonathan went and got us Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dessert (I had Peanut Butter Cup Yum!!). I went to bed at 8, and got several hours of good sleep. I woke up at 2am because my contractions were very painful again, and about 4 minutes apart.

My waking thought was of the promise that God had given us all through the past year:

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” – Psalm 30:11-12

My eyes welled up with tears, because I knew that today was the day that we would see this promise fulfilled.

At 5am on Friday, July 11th 2014, we loaded our van and drove to Williamson Medical Center here in Franklin, Tennessee. We checked in, and then the nurse brought us to our room. They hooked me up to monitors, an IV, and asked me all the questions they needed answered before surgery. Jonathan then got into his scrubs so that he could be in the Operation Room with me.


The thought of having a c-section made me nervous. It was completely different from what I had experienced before. But I had a peace about it. I knew that God was with us, and would help me every step of the way.

My doctor came in and answered any other questions we had. She was very encouraging and positive and really set my nerves at ease. What a blessing she is! The anesthesiologist nurse came in as well and talked to me some more about what was going to happen.

At about 7:15am it was time to head to the OR! The nurses wheeled me back, and at the door I said goodbye to Jonathan, and he sat right outside in “the black chair” until after my spinal was taken care of.


Once I was in the room, things started to happen pretty quickly. I got onto the operating table, they did my spinal block, I laid down, and they made final preparations for surgery. My lower body was completely numb, but I was very alert and able to move my head and arms. I was so thankful that I would be able to be alert for the entire experience. I didn’t want to miss a thing! There was a curtain up though, so that I couldn’t see the surgery itself taking place. I was very grateful for that. :)

As soon as they were ready to start, Jonathan was able to come in and sit right next to me holding my hand. What an exciting and special moment this was! I was smiling ear to ear, excited to meet our little guy so soon.

They started the operation, and within minutes I heard that first cry and my heart leaped for joy! Our Gideon James Zajas was born at 8:04am on July 11th, 2014 weighing 7lbs 10oz and was 20′ inches long. My eyes filled with happy tears as they lifted him up so we could see his face.

They quickly checked his vitals and made sure he was doing well (and he was!), and then they brought him over for me to hold. Words cannot express the kind of joy I experienced when they placed him in my arms for the first time. I loved this child before we even knew he existed, and when I held him it felt like my heart grew in size.



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After a few minutes, they needed to finish my surgery and sew me up. So Jonathan went with the nurses as they brought Gideon to the nursery to be evaluated and cleaned up. This was the part of the morning that seemed to take a long time (even though it didn’t). I couldn’t wait to be reunited with my baby again!


Once they were finished, I was brought back to my room where Jonathan met me. And shortly after, Gideon was brought to us. When I held him, I never wanted to let go. What a blessing this boy is. What a great demonstration of God’s love for us. I am so thankful.



I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day. We were just soaking in the sweetness of the moment.


My mom, who had been in the waiting room, came in to meet Gideon. What a blessing it was to have her there with us to share in the excitement of the day.


Liam was so excited to meet his baby brother! He had been looking forward to this moment for a long time.

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The rest of our stay at the hospital was wonderful. We were incredibly blessed by the entire staff at Williamson. They took such wonderful care of us!

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Since I had a c-section, our hospital stay was longer (3 nights), so we had a lot of time to rest and enjoy this time with our newest family member. It was a very peaceful time that I am incredibly thankful that we had. When Monday morning came around, we were excited to get home and start settling in as a family of four.

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Over three months have passed, and we are more in love than ever! I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. The past fifteen weeks have been filled to overflowing with such love and joy. We had many friends come to visit and bring us meals and gifts, which blessed us greatly. Thank you to everyone who has celebrated with us!

This is such an exciting new chapter in our family’s life, and it has only just begun! We are loving every moment with our precious boy, and cannot wait to see all that God has in store for our little man Gideon.

We’ve made it to 36 weeks! YAY! Since I’ve had so many contractions and have been on bed rest off and on since about 20 weeks, I am very thankful that we have made it this far.

36 Weeks

The past week has been pretty exciting for us, to say the least. Last Wednesday I was admitted to the hospital because my contractions were 4 minutes apart for a long time. They monitored me closely and thankfully were able to slow them down. I was sent home late Wednesday night with orders to be on bed rest, so that’s what I did. On Saturday, we celebrated Liam’s 2nd Birthday a day early and had the best little celebration at home (I hope to share more on that soon).

I am glad we celebrated early, because on Sunday afternoon I was re-admitted to the hospital. My contractions started out at about 5 minutes apart and got as close as 2 and were extremely painful. We really thought Gideon was coming for real and it looked like Liam may have been getting a baby brother for his birthday! Since Gideon is still breech and not as far along as the doctors would like, they were really hoping that things would slow down. If this was happening for real, I would have to have a c-section, so I was trying to mentally prepare myself for that. I labored through the night with painful contractions (but very slow progress). They gave me something to help ease the pain, but I still felt them strongly. Finally, around 4am the contractions started easing up and spacing out. At about 7:30 Monday morning the doctor discharged me and sent me home with orders to be on bed rest, get as much sleep as I could, and with the understanding I may be back as soon as that night.

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We have made it two more days since then with no return trips to the hospital! Contractions have continued, mostly ranging from 5-10 minutes apart depending on the time of day. But they are not near as painful as they were Sunday night, thank God! I have been able to get a lot of good rest, and overall am feeling much better.

Tomorrow I have an ultrasound to confirm our little guy’s positioning and to get an estimate on his size and development, and then we will meet with the doctor to check on progress and to talk next steps (especially if he is still breech).

Although this pregnancy has been challenging in many ways, God has definitely helped us through it. And it has been a joy! I have had such a peace this entire time that Gideon is going to be just fine, and I trust that he will come at the perfect time in just the right way. In the meantime, I am so thankful to have my Mom here to help take care of Liam and myself. She has cleaned and done laundry and cooked and made each day fun for Liam. Having her here is such a blessing. And of course, Jonathan is the very best. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive and caring husband and father to our kiddos. He is amazing in every way!

Thanks to everyone who have been praying for and supporting us throughout this pregnancy! Words cannot express how very thankful we are for you all.

Who knows, this very well could be my last pregnancy update! We shall see! Either way, we are very excited for our Gideon’s arrival. :)

34 Weeks! I can hardly believe it. We only have three (or less) of these bi-weekly photos and updates to do. Craziness!

34 Weeks

We are nearing the end, folks. And we couldn’t be more excited! I have definitely been feeling the nesting mode for a while now. I am ready to have everything ready for Gideon’s arrival! My hospital bag is pretty much all packed and last night Jonathan setup Gideon’s bassinet in our room. This morning when Liam saw the little crib he was very excited to learn that it was our baby’s bed. He is so excited for his little brother to get here!

I have still been having tons of contractions most days, haha. I guess this is just the norm for me during this pregnancy. Some days are crazier and more painful than others. Monday was one of those days for me. The contractions ranged from about 3-10 minutes apart all day and many of them were pretty painful. They have since slowed down and become sporadic, so I think we are still good to go for a little bit. I go for my weekly appt on Friday, so it will be nice to get an update from the doctor.

Once we hit 37 weeks on July 7th, I would be totally fine with Gideon coming a little early. :)

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Next week, June 29th, is Liam’s 2nd Birthday. I can’t believe that it’s almost been 2 years already! What an amazing 2 years it has been. I’ve been going through old photos of my pregnancy with him and his birth day photos. It’s wonderful reminiscing on that time with him, and great to think that soon we will be experiencing the same thing with our little Gideon. :) Exciting times, for sure. We have so much to be thankful for!

Happy Friday!

Do you have any fun plans for this weekend? It’s been overcast and rainy (with some thunderstorms) here the past couple of days, and the forecast is saying it’ll be much of the same over the weekend. I’m hoping it will clear up some so we can go to the pool and Farmer’s Market tomorrow. Even if it does rain, I’m just excited to spend lots of time together as a family. Weekends are my favorite now!

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Here are a few of my favorite finds from across internet this week…

Hope you have an amazing weekend, my friend!

32 weeks down, only 8 or less to go!

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As we are nearing our due date (July 28th!), the reality is starting to slowly sink in…soon we will have another son here to love and care for! I am so excited! I often think of how Liam and Gideon will grow up together and get to be the best of buds.

I’ve had people ask me if I’m concerned about how Liam will react (negatively) to having another baby in the house. Honestly, when I think of adding another kiddo to our family, I only have positive thoughts. Although I’m sure there will be some challenges along the way, I expect it to be a great transition! Growing up, my siblings were my best friends (and still are). We had our normal sibling squabbles every now and then, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We got to spend every day together and would share the most exciting adventures. I have heard it said that the best gift you can give your child is a brother or sister, and I am excited to give Liam that gift (and hopefully a couple more after this one)! :)

The other night, while saying our bedtime prayers, Liam said “Gideon” for the first time while we were praying for him. It completely melted my heart. Now he’ll pat my belly and say “Baby Gideon” every once in a while. So precious.

It is very exciting to think that within the next couple of months our little guy Gideon will be here!

Last night I found this little snail on our sidewalk. I couldn’t help but kneel down and take a few pictures of him. How cute is he?! Jonathan said it looked just like the snail that he and Liam saw on a rock all the way on the other side of our condo the other day. My what a journey he has had! As I watched this little guy slowly make his way to his destination (the mulch next to our door), I was reminded of Philippians 3:13-14.

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“No, dear brother and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” - Philippians 3:13-14

Letting go of the past can be hard to do (sometimes it feels near impossible), but it is so important in order for us to step out into the amazing destiny God has for us. You cannot move forward into the new while simultaneously holding onto the old. It just isn’t possible.

In order for us to move forward into the new, amazing things that are in store for us, we must let go of the old. We cannot make progress if we are holding onto past hurts, things people have said or done to us, failures, or disappointments. We need to forget these things, and move forward, pressing on!

Sometimes I think it would be nice if we could literally wipe clean the memory of every hurtful thing that has ever been said or done to us. And maybe, even, to completely forget hurtful people who have been a part of our lives at one point or another. But so far, I haven’t found that to be the case. And maybe that is by design. After all, isn’t it the good and the bad that make up a compelling story or adventure? We would never have a victorious ending if there was never anything to overcome.

I’ve found that forgetting what is behind us is a continual process. It’s not just a one-time thing. Whenever those negative thoughts or feelings creep in, choose to cast them aside and focus on the truth of what God has said about you and the hopeful future He has for you.

Forgetting what is behind can also mean letting go of the “good ‘ole days.” I don’t think we should forget good times in our past, no, we should celebrate and be thankful for them! But if we continually live our lives longing for what used to be, then we will never experience the even better days that are in store for our future!

Just like the snail in front of our doorstep never would have made it there if he was fixated on his past (that rock on the other side of our condo), we will never make it to our amazing future if we are continually holding onto what is behind us.

So, friend, let’s let go and move on! **Cue “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen**  Even better days are ahead of you.