Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Things You Should Know

One // You should know about this video: 

Kid President is just plain awesome. This video is gauranteed to brighten your day. And if it doesn't, try this one.

Two // You should know about this app: 

Think of Instagram, but with prompts. You can create your own "Do" that other people can post a picture to, or add a picture to someone else's. Considering I looove Insta {we're on nickname basis}, you can bet I'm a fan of this. 

Three // You should know that I am going to Uganda. 

I know, I know, you already knew that, huh? But did you know that the fundraising cut off is in 20 days? Cause I didn't really until yesterday. 

If you've been feeling it on your heart to give, I would be so blessed by your generosity. To find out more about exactly where your contribution would be going, you can read all about our mission trip here, or on my fundraising page here. On that page, you'll find a link if you'd like to donate. 

Four // You should know that you are so, so loved. 

By Jesus, and by me. :)

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, lovelies!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There's Beauty in the Breakdown

A little over 3 months ago, I had a coffee date at Starbucks after church one Sunday. So unusual for me, I know {hint: sarcasm}. I look back on that coffee date, and can't help but smile at how much beauty came out of it. 

I was meeting with the head of Reality's children's ministry. I was serving in the nursery at the time, and had been for just over a year. We were talking about some changes in the curriculum, as I was enjoying my favorite Starbucks salad. Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, the words "women's ministry" came up. Two words that got my heart beating a little bit faster. I could tangibly feel the passion in each of the quickened beats. 

I knew we were here to talk about the babies, but I couldn't ignore the pulsing of my ignited heart. And so, I asked a simple question. "How can I get involved with women's ministry?"


I remember the first night of our study so vividly. I was so dang excited. Sure, I had never led a Bible study before. And no, I had never even done a Beth Moore study yet, but none of that mattered. I could sit there and list out my doubts as to why I should not be co-leading a study on arguably the most difficult-to-interpret book of the Bible, or, I could find my confidence in the Lord. 

I chose to do the second. 

And besides the confidence, I found humility. I was humbled within the first 15 minutes of our first week, realizing that no, I was not needed at the check in booth. My micromanaging tendencies were not necessary, and I felt the Lord pull me away from the logistics, and lead me straight to an empty chair beside a woman I had never met. We shared a conversation that was probably one of my most treasured moments through out the entire study. {And she turned out to be a fellow blogger's mother in law, how sweet is that?}

We broke into our small groups that evening, and I found myself staring into all new faces. Besides my co-lead, I hardly knew a single person in our group. One particular woman was very clearly hesitant about continuing the study. She made her feelings, frustrations, and concerns very known. I prayed for her that evening. I asked that if God wanted her to be in this study, that He would bring her back. And if I'm being honest, zero percent of me felt prepared for the challenge that she would bring with her. 

She did come back, every single week. And she is now a dearly treasured friend. 


The group was a quiet one. Week by week would come and go, and it was usually the same people speaking during our small group discussion time. Studying the book of Revelation is no easy task. There was little time for personal sharing when we were diving into homework questions that zoned straight into this deep and mysterious part of the Bible. 

I have no doubt that that was His intention, though. As I looked around the faces that were becoming more and more familiar each week, I could see God working. Even if I wasn't hearing about it, I knew He was up to something. Up to something good in each of these women staring back at me.


Yesterday was our last meeting. We got together for a giant potluck, and only really had a few final questions to cover as we enjoyed a feast with our small groups. It was casual, though. No agenda, just fellowship. 

We talked, and we laughed. We enjoyed way too many desserts, so I guess you could say we prepped our stomachs for Thanksgiving. 

The conversation was light, until it wasn't. Until one brave soul opened up her heart, and with it came the tears. {The same brave soul that almost didn't come back the first week.} It was clear that it was time to pray, so we left the casual setting of the potluck dinner, and found ourselves in the same room where we met each of the 11 prior weeks. 

We went around the circle sharing our prayer requests. Each woman shared a piece of her heart in that moment. There were tears, assuring glances from friends, and slow words piecing together rapid thoughts. 

In those moments, I felt Jesus. I felt the final pieces of any walls that we had up crumble down. I felt the beautiful confirmation that this group was every bit intentional in His plan. Each woman was brought here for a reason, and He intentionally left this sweet, raw, real moment for our final night. 

He is so kind, and so sweet, and so loving. I'm thankful for the way that He beautifully crafts each and every piece of our lives together for His glory. I just had to document the journey of this Bible study. Because as in every other story in life, He is in the details. His love is in the details. 

I hope you find Him in your details today. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hiking & Sweaters

Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend. My Saturday was quite possibly the most perfect weekend day ever. There was most definitely some productivity involved, with pictures to prove it:

But you know what was not documented? The remainder of my day, which included 8, yes eight episodes of Friday Night Lights. 

Do I wish I had done something more productive with the rest of my Saturday? Nope, not one bit. After a jam packed work week, it felt quite heavenly to melt into my friend's couch and mentally move to Texas for a solid 6+ hours. 

There's something special about my friendship with these girls. 

You know you're at a solid place when you don't find yourself trying to fill each and every silence. When you don't worry if it's awkward, and don't stress that running out of things to talk about means your friendship is doomed. 

I love the fact that we can laugh over eight episodes of Friday Night Lights, forgetting about work and work and work and anything else that might cause stress in our lives. I love the fact that yeah, there are silences, because they already know basically everything going on in my life. I love that we have the same sense of humor, and know when "Just kidding" means I'm actually not kidding at all (ahem, Kali). 

I basically just love them. 

And I also love Friday Night Lights. In case you didn't catch that. 

And since I've unintentionally been keeping fashion in Instaworld lately, this definitely deserves a blog post: one shirt, two ways. 

Ever wanted to wear your super oversized, comfiest sweater to work? Voila, add a skirt, belt it, and pop on your heels. 

Feel free to use this trick the Monday after Thanksgiving. You're welcome. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday // Week 3

Keepin' it short & sweet today. This girl's got a date with the gym at 6am, and I'll be thankful if I make it there! 
{Ba dum chhh}

Here's 5 other things I'm thankful for this week:

What are you thankful for? 

Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hello, My Name Is ...

This is my third time participating in this link up, and it's by far one of my favorites.
{Thanks, KerrieKerry!} 

Each time, it causes me to really pause and reflect. What is my identity? Who am I to you, God? All good questions that I really should be asking myself each and every day. Because the answers to those questions, they change everything.

They change how we look at other people, as those we can serve instead of those who can affirm us. They change the way we serve, as something we are blessed to do instead of something we have to do. And they change the way we feel about God, turning Him from a distant big figure to a near Big Father. 

This round of Hello, My Name Is comes at a good time for me. I'm slap-bam in the middle of a season of change. The kind of change that I can feel God working in, so it's a good change. But it's also 100% something I didn't see coming, and that can cause some discomfort. I've got to re-find that perfect spot on the couch to sink into the cushions and get comfortable again. 

This change is showing me how narrow my vision can be. It's taking long term plans I had made for myself, and shattering them to create new ones. It's a beautiful process, really. But you know what I'm realizing? How much of our identity can get wrapped up in our plans. And really, how much of our identity can get wrapped up in things that aren't God. 

So I'm having to take a step back. It's my natural inclination to think everything through, to dream all the way through to fifteen years down the line, and even if it doesn't happen exactly the way I dreamt it to be, at least there's some false stability in that. 

Today, I honestly couldn't tell you what a month from now will look like. And that thought can get my heart racing. It can get my thoughts anxiously swirling around. But it also brings me to a deeper place of surrender, and puts verses like:

I cry out to God Most High, 
to God who will
fulfill His purpose
for me

Psalm 57:2

 to so much more meaning. The fact is, God does have purpose for my life. Whether I can imagine it, or not, that doesn't change His plans.

And so today, I find my rest in a simple, yet profound piece of my identity. 

I am His. My plans are His. My life is His. My identity is His.

And knowing that, my friends, is a thousand trillion times better than knowing what my life will look like one month from now. 

Hello My Name Is

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hey You, You're Really Loved

This weekend was so good. One of those that was good for the soul, just the right amount of weekend perfection to launch into a 5 day work week. 

A girls night out to a chick flick, a Saturday morning Pilates class turned coffee date, a birthday celebration that resulted in a 45 minute drive to our closest Target, and a girls spa afternoon. 

It was wonderful, the kind of weekend that leaves me feeling so blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life. 

But if you asked me what my favorite parts of my weekend were, you know what I'd say? The moment when I was sitting alone in a coffee shop, tearing up over a book that I swear God wrote just for me. Or the moment when I felt like my heart was going to explode over the amount of God's love and presence that I was feeling. Or perhaps the time I spent on my carpet, staring at the ceiling and having a full blown conversation with my Father. 

This weekend, there were plenty of moments enjoyed with incredible friends. But there were also plenty of moments enjoyed with just me and God. And I really don't have words to express how special that is. 

His love is what changes us. It completes us, satisfies us like nothing else can on this earth. And moments like the ones I had this weekend are when it really hits me that the God of the universe loves me. That He is crazy in love with little ol' Amy Reed. 

I think back to the days when I was chasing after all the wrong boys looking for someone to make me feel loved, and I wish I could go back and give that girl a hug. I wish I could wipe those tears off that freshly broken-hearted face, and tell her not to worry. I'd tell her that one day, she'll find the love that she's looking for. And those people who say chick flicks aren't real? The ones that say romance is just fiction? They're wrong. I'd tell that sweet little Amy Reed to keep believing and dreaming, because her story very much has a happy ending. 

Romance is real, because our God created it. He is the definition of a romantic, and He loves us so much. I hope you feel that today, and every day. I hope you know that the God of the universe is crazy about you

Happy Monday, my friends! You are so, so loved. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday // Week 2

Haaappy Thursday! First thing I'm thankful for is the fact that today is my Friday! Thank goodness for flexdays. (If you're wondering what a flexday is, check out this post). 

But besides that wonderfulness, here's my Thankful Thursday list:

One // Holiday flavors at coffee shops. 

Really makes it feel like the Holiday season. And when it's still in the 70s, you can use all the Holiday feel you can get.

Two // Lipstick. 

I'm so glad I got over that "I can't pull off lipstick" self consciousness. Trying out new colors is really fun! I'm especially thankful when the lipstick is free. {Thank you, Influenster!}

If you're a lipstick fan like me, you can check out the above color right here.

Three // Fellowship. 

This week, I got a lot of sweet fellowship in. Whether it's a lunch date, a dinner date, or getting together with a community group, I just love fellowship. 

For so long, I tried to do the whole Christian thing without Christian friends. There's something so special about getting together to talk about how good our God is, and to share all of the crazy things He's doing in our lives. I need it, I crave it, and it keeps my heart right with the Lord. 

So to all my fellowship pals, thank you. I love you a whole darn lot. 

Four // This verse. 

It's been speaking some powerful truth into my life, lately. There's been some changes going on in my neck of the woods, but change that brings a whole lot of peace, and excitement. 

I'm starting to learn about what it really looks like to walk in the freedom of the Lord. And I like it, I really do. 

Five // You guys. 

Yupp, you. You who took my pictures for this post {ahem, Madeleine}. You who blasted the post out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You who prayed. You who offered to give away an item. You who gave your hard earned money to help support this dream. 

I can't even list the way that you guys have blessed me in the past 48 hours. Almost $500 have been raised in those 2 days alone, and I officially have less than $2,000 to raise! 

That may still sound like a lot, but I know God is so ready to do this. It's my prayer that this doesn't just bolster my faith, but your's too. Some of the moments I have heard the most clearly from the Lord were when He was calling me to give financially. Those moments are so special to me, they remind me that God absolutely does talk to His children. 

I pray that everyone who hears about this Uganda fundraiser will see God through it. And you know how they're gonna see it? Through you guys. 

Thank you for showing God through you. You guys bless me more than I can say. 

What are you thankful for? Erin & I would love to hear!

Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Need Your Help

A few weeks ago, I woke up just like any ordinary morning. I read my Jesus Calling, put in my contacts (I'm blind as a bat), and got ready for work. Typical morning routine right there. 

As I was getting ready, my mind wandered to the daunting amount of money that needs to be raised for my Uganda trip. The amount of money that if I'm being perfectly honest, I had kind of resolved to figuring out on my own. God had raised just over 1/3 of my $3,700, and I was feeling blessed with that amount. "Thank you" does not even begin to cover the gratitude I feel to the amazing generosity that makes up that 1/3. 

All of a sudden, a quiet voice confronted me. I was using that content feeling to mask what was really below the surface, doubt. 

I want to have big faith. I believe with all of my heart that my God can do crazy, beautiful, magical things. I believe that He is all powerful, and all sufficient. And I want nothing more than to see those crazy, beautiful, magical, big things in my lifetime. 

On that typical morning, it suddenly hit me. If I want to see big things in my lifetime, I have to be willing to ask for them. And so, I did. I got on my knees, and surrendered this fundraising effort to God. I said goodbye to the doubt, and chose to believe that my God can most definitely raise this $3,700. Every last penny.

Which is why I'm writing this post today. I fully recognize that in order to entrust this to God, I have to get out of my own way. I have to step outside of my comfort zone, and do something that doesn't exactly come naturally to me. 

For those that don't know, I'm going on a short term mission trip to Kisoro, Uganda in January. I'm so beyond blessed and amazed that the Lord led this opportunity my way, and have no doubts that He has chosen to send me on this specific trip. 

Church planting has been on my heart since I felt called to go pray over Boston in 2012. I had only been going to my now home church for a matter of weeks when I made the initial deposit, but I just knew. I followed the call on a trip where I knew no one, and my life changed in so many ways. 

In Uganda, if you can't walk to church, you can't get to church. Our goal on this trip is to plant churches so that everyone in Kisoro has access to a church where they can meet and worship Jesus. The ultimate goal is that one day, everyone in Uganda will be within walking distance of a church, within walking distance of a place where they can come and hear about the amazing love of Jesus Christ, and experience it for themselves.

I want nothing more than to go and serve as many people as possible, but I have no doubts that I will walk away learning equally as much as those I'm serving. I hope to witness the power of the gospel in a life changing way, and to be reminded of just how big and diverse this beautiful creation called Earth is. 

So how can you help?

I can't do this without you. I wouldn't even be here fundraising if it wasn't for the encouragement, love, support and prayer of so many people. 

You can donate. If you have it on your heart to help financially, you can do so here

You can share this post. Or my fundraising page. Share it on your blog, on your Facebook page, on Instagram, Twitter, anything will be incredibly helpful!

You can donate an item for a giveaway. I will most likely be putting together a giveaway next week, and anyone who has already donated will be automatically entered. If you'd like to donate something for a giveaway, please let me know!

You can purchase a necklace from my sweet friend's etsy shop. She is so generously using her profits to support my trip.

You can pray. Prayer is so powerful. If you can't contribute financially, please don't underestimate the help of your prayers. Like I already said, I wouldn't be where I'm at without the prayers of others. Both with this Uganda trip, and in my walk with the Lord in general. Prayer is His gift to us, because He responds!

And I'm just gonna go ahead and say thank you right now. Because regardless of the response to this post, I have some of the most incredible people in my life. I am beyond blessed. 

{For the story behind the scarf, watch this video}

Monday, November 11, 2013

About This Girl

I've done this before, but I've been seeing some new faces around here, so I figure it's time for a standard introduction post. If you're a newbie, please comment and say hello! Leave a link to your blog, because I'd love to stop by and get to know you. 

The name's Amy, and the blog is Sweet Home Santa Barbara. Sweet Home SB is pretty much a reflection of my life, and seeing as the last 2 years have been jam packed with a whooole lot of growth and change, you bet this bloggy here has gone through its fair share of changes as well. 

I really, really love Jesus. And lately, that's been taking the fore front on this here blog. After a long day sprinkled to the brim with both work and fun, I love nothing more than coming here to pour out my heart for anyone who enjoys reading. 

This ain't no place for rainbows and butterflies (I apparently like to pretend I'm Southern sometimes). You can count on the fact that I keep it real. I really do love sharing my struggles with you, because I have no doubts that someone, somewhere, will find encouragement through them. The same way that I find encouragement every day through all of you amazing bloggers out there. We're all in this together, eh? (Gotta throw some Canadian in there, too).

If you're into the serious stuff, you can check out my story with purityalcohol, or an eating disorder. Don't worry though, I don't always keep things super heavy. I love to blog about my amateur passion for running, and the beauty of the Santa Barbara life. To see where I put in my 40 hours a week, you can read all about my corporate world here

My social media form of choice is definitely Instagram. You can find me at @sweethomesb, where you'll also find too many pictures {nosuchthing} of coffee, fashion, Santa Barbara scenery and fun adventures with amazing people I'm blessed to call friends. 

I was born and raised to be a Boston fan, so you better believe I proudly rep that gear whenever the opportunity arises. 

And I think that's enough about me. So tell me about you? 

**PS: A very special thank you to all of the Veterans out there. "Thank you" does not even begin to cover how blessed we are by your service.**

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday {link up}

Hello, lovelies! 

I am so excited for today's post. My beautiful friend (who I'm sure you all know!) Erin & I will be co-hosting a link up, Thankful Thursday, every Thursday in November. With Thanksgiving coming up, it seems quite fitting that we take some time to appreciate all the wonderful things that God has blessed us with. Big or small, we wanna hear em'! So get your lists, add your blog to the linky tool, and tell us what you're thankful for! 

Thankful Thursday

If you follow along on Instagram (@sweethomesb), you probably already know that I went home this past weekend. Visiting my family always leaves me feeling thankful, so you may sense a trend in this week's list. Today, we're talkin' my people. 

One // This woman. 

I would not be where I am today without my Mom. She is incredibly intelligent and analytical, and she so graciously passed down a portion of those genes to this lucky girl. I would not have been able to major in Math/Economics had it not been for her gift with numbers. 

But a good brain can only get you so far. My mom is the most hard working person I know. She is dedicated to her work; if she says she will do something, she'll do it. She taught me what work ethic looks like, putting me on the road to success from the moment I started to walk. I don't think I'll ever be able to adequately thank her for all that she has done to help me succeed in this life. 

Two // This man. 

My dad has a servant's heart like no other. He never complains about getting his hands dirty, putting in manual labor, or killing spiders. He also never complains when I take blurry photos of him. He always checks to make sure my car is in tip-top safety condition, and I'm fairly certain our pets would starve without him. Either that, or become obese from lack of walks. 

I'll be the first to admit that he doesn't get thanked nearly enough for all of the ways that he serves our family. I will never forget in college, when he drove up to Santa Barbara on Father's Day to help me move. It was the one day of the year that a father is supposed to get served, and here he was, serving me

Three // This guy. 

My brother is honestly, one of the best guys I know. For the majority of our pre-18 years, it was just the two of us. I've gotta say, he made growing up fun. We have the same sense of humor, which is a pretty awesome one if you ask me. He is generous, kind, and loving. He may try to pull the "I'm a cool guy" act, but I see the inner softy. 

When I was in elementary school, I had a friend over to do homework. I got thirsty, so I called out to my brother. "Mike! Will you bring me a glass of water?" I hollered through the halls. "Sure!" he called back, and just like that, water was delivered by my 5 year old brother. My friend was astonished at this behavior. "You're brother is so nice!" she said. And she's reminded me of that many times since. 

He came to visit some friends in Santa Barbara not too long ago. We got lunch, and as we were eating, I got up to get a glass of water. "I'll get it for you," he said. And just like that, he got up and did. He never grew out of that. I'd say he got my dad's servant heart, and it's gonna seriously bless some lucky woman one day. 

Four // This little lady. 

This girl. There really aren't words to describe our relationship. It is so special to me, and it inspires me to be the best role model that I can be for her. I feel like every time I go home, there are so many moments where she blesses me. 

She is constantly giving me gifts. Things that are special to her, she gives to me in a heart beat. This past weekend, she went on a camping trip with my dad. As a part of Indian Princesses (which I did when I was her age!), they exchange beads. She came home with a bag full of beads that she was so proud of. 

Before I left, she told me to pick a bead to take home. These beads were so special to her, and here she was, letting me pick one. I want to be like that, I want to freely give away the things that are special to me.  

Five // This place.

Walking the beach with my mom this weekend, I was just amazed at the beauty of this place that holds such a special place in my heart. San Diego holds so many memories, and it will forever be the place I call "home".

Not quite sure how I got lucky enough to have such an amazing family, and such a beautiful home, but I am certainly thankful for it!

What are you thankful for? 

Sweet Home Santa Barbara

Monday, November 4, 2013

Scenes from Halloween 2013

You like how I threw in some rhyming there? It's so strange to not start a post title with "31days // ". I kinda miss it! But it'll be good to let the not so serious posts creep back into this little piece of Blogland. So to add some fun to your Monday, I give you scenes from our Halloween festivities:

In totally abnormal procrastinator Amy fashion, I grabbed this costume from a nearby costume shop two days before Halloween. I knew it was a match made in heaven because:

a) It's already been proven that I can pull off Dorothy.

and b) my Dorothy faces have only improved in the last 16 years. 

Boom. Perfect costume --> perfect Halloween. 

And as icing on the cake, the evening ended like this:

When you find yourself in an In-N-Out drive through, you know you're ending a night to remember. 

Hope you had a fun Halloween! Would love to hear what you dressed up as!