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Giovanna’s Modern Nursery

Giovanna means “gift from God” in Italian. She is our rainbow baby born on May 13, 2019. We were set to be married in October 2018 but found out that I was pregnant so we moved our wedding up to June. Sadly we lost that baby but kept our new wedding date. Shortly after our marriage we found out a baby girl was going to be joining us. Now we have 5 kids, 4 girls and 1 son. Their ages range from 10-16. And then our little sunshine is 6 months old! She brings us all so much joy and we just see a precious gift from God every time we look at her face.

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Beauty From Ashes

In the last decade:

I was left at the altar 6 days before a wedding of 150 guests.

I was with that person for a decade prior to that.

I found Jesus.

Got my own apartment and lived on food stamps for 6 months.

Went on a series of unfortunate dates.

Swore off Dating. Forever.

The same day I swore off dating I met this nice guy with two kids.

7 days later my mom took me on my first tropical vacation to celebrate turning 30. Prior to that I had only been on a plane twice in my life.

While on vacation my kid’s father told me he was dropping our kids off at my grandma’s and moving to Arizona.

Does that sound crazy? Yea I know.

And crazy but it was true so I came home to my 2 kids and no help because their dad vanished across the country .

Guess who didn’t ?

That nice guy I met a week before vacation. 6 months later I moved in with him.

I sent an email resulting in an amazing job and wonderful friends I still have today.

We built a home.

Got engaged.

Had a miscarriage.

I resigned from my job.

Got married.

Found out I was pregnant.

One child survived attempted suicide.

Somehow we all survived the blurry months after that.

Giovanna was born. On the same day as my first daughter’s 14th birthday.

She brings everyone in our home so much Joy, she’s a little bit of Heaven on earth.

If the next decade rocks me to my core like the last one I know it’s going to be in BIG amazing ways and I’m here for it and I know that God is going to lead the way.

Something I haven’t mentioned to many people yet is that On our honeymoon I took a photo of the sunset. When I reviewed the photo there were clouds in the sky and to me they appeared to spell out a word. After looking I saw ZION.

So I read Isaiah 61:3 in the car driving to our condo because I didn’t know what Zion had anything to do with me.

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”

Isaiah 61:3

He did exactly what His promises told me He would do. He took everything that had Happened or was going to happen in our life and restored it all. Beauty for ashes. 2019 was a year of happiness, restoration, praise, financial security, love, hope. And I trust in Him 100%. Even before I saw it happen, I knew He would do it because that’s what faith is. I clung to that on my darkest days.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen”

Hebrews 11:1

If you are looking at their life and thinking it’s hopeless or pointless just for a moment consider that 2010 Andrea had no clue what was coming. I was living a totally different life and I didn’t even know Jesus in 2010. I was a different person. I couldn’t see the upcoming pain or the healing when it started. Now I can’t imagine living another day without Him breathing life and light into it.

Wishing a blessed 2020 to all of you! What did you learn in the last decade?

Want to connect in an uplifting community? Follow me on Instagram @apaceofgrace

You can’t write the story if you never even pick up the pen.

The last decade: reflections.

I’m going to put less energy in to things or people that are not producing fruit. The measure of your work is in the fruit. What are your actions producing? Bitterness resentment,and unmet expectations? Reevaluate because Maybe it’s not the move.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

I’m going to redirect my investments to things or people that maybe I don’t know well but should see how Jesus loves them. I’ve chosen to stop trying to bridge a gap by myself in one-sided relationships. Sometimes seasons, relationships and friendships simply come to an end. It is part of life. Just like leaves fall and flowers grow there is a cycle. It is not malicious, it simply is. There is a time for everything. For such a time as this.

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. “

James 4:13-14

I will continue to focus on small achievable goals, most specifically about time. Time is priceless and we can’t get it back. We literally don’t even know how much we HAVE but it’s our most precious and valuable resource and honestly we really blow it sometimes.

Being busy isn’t always productive so don’t just make a list of stuff to fill the time, be intentional. And also are you filling the time because you’re avoiding something ? Probably should deal with that first just sayin’.

I have already started to scale back my life for the last few months. My goals aren’t huge life-shattering awakenings but they’re life-giving achievements.

1. Be more intentional with my time.

2. Invest in my family and my marriage.

3. Identify the things keeping me from 1&2.

4. Refer back to number 1 if I’m not sure what to say yes to.

Saying no might cause a ripple of changes based on the expectation of the other side. But you can’t be everything for everyone. Ever run yourself ragged to show up for people who don’t notice, unless you DON’T show up? Yea- count me out. I don’t have time. Following God’s will for your life will cost you. Relationships, plans, jobs, friends- but it’s worth it!

I’m not a resolution person and never have been but I’m all about growth. Looking over this past decade seeing myself as someone who didn’t know herself and really had no identity to the life I have today; well it’s completely changed. Literally nothing about it is the same except my first name is still Andrea. Everything is so beautifully written- even when complex, tragic, and scary- exactly the way God intended to write it.

I’ve spent some time trying to disconnect from social media and comparison to realign with my purpose. My purpose is to show God’s Love. Not to collect validation from others or stack up “accomplishments”. Honestly I’ve also found myself looking anxiously toward what’s NEXT.

What’s the point of all this? Am I doing enough ? We tend to do that when something comes to an end. As the decade ends and the new year comes so do the questions swirl. What are you going to do next?

First of all I can’t MISS God’s promotion. He’s in charge. I can’t make one decision or miss one event and miss my whole destiny. That’s not how it works. So I’ll go ahead and drop that box of pressure right now because it’s way too heavy.

Goals are great to have. Necessary. Everyone should always work toward something. Just know that it doesn’t have to be a tangible item that can be seen by other people. It could be mental health, it could be selfcare, it could be reading a book, or not responding to messages that make you sad, or more prayer time, or calling someone that you hurt. Write it down whatever it is and make small steps toward it.

Also don’t apologize for yourself if it’s a big goal! You are worthy and allowed to have those too. Don’t feel small trying to think big. Do not ever count yourself out before you even TRY. Leave in this decade your tendency to operate out of fear or what people think and start 2020 in a bold way. The only way to fail is to never try. You can’t write the story if you never pick up the pen (or keyboard, you get the idea),

But getting so focused on reaching some BIG thing and missing out on the little things that are most valuable robs me of joy. So I’m taking it back.

I recently read about the 10-10-10 rule by Suzy Welch.

What are the potential positive and negative results of the decision now and in the future ?

How might you feel about your decision in

10 minutes?

10 months?

10 years?

If the next 10 minutes could cause instant satisfaction but possibly regret in the next 10 months or 10 years, say no.

So yea I’m ready for the roaring 20’s. I’ve always loved that era and I’m ready to LIVE in it.

What are you going to invest your time in?


Want to connect in an uplifting community? Follow me on Instagram @apaceofgrace

10 things I reflected on this year as we head toward a new decade

6 years ago 29 year old me is barely recognizable. If I could tell myself some things about future me I would say this:


  1. You’re going to get through this, and you’ll be so amazed at all you’ve accomplished by the time you turn 35.
  2. You need to eat, you’re a Skeleton of yourself. Your worth is not measured in what a man thinks of you or what size your shorts are. (Size four I threw them away last year)
  3. You’re not going to be poor forever. Food stamps are nothing to be embarrassed of. Don’t hide in the grocery store. You’re feeding your children. You’re going to take risks and bust your butt to get things done. You’re going to forget how far you have come and need to go back and read your own testimony to remember.
  4. When you get knocked down you’re going to keep fighting. You’re a survivor. You don’t wait for opportunities to knock, you go out and find opportunities. You’ll send an email that results in an amazing job and some BFFs for life.
  5. Remember when you thought all you had to offer was supporting someone else’s career? You’re going to have your own and you’re going to struggle with the pressure and taking things personally, Wondering if you’re liked allowing it to consume you , but you’re going to learn A TON. It’s going to become part of who you are-Your mission & passion.
  6. Those two little girls are going to grow up so fast and be able to look back on the days there was no food in the fridge and think – how did mom manage all of this? You’re going to inspire them and one day , your teenager who hated your existence , is going to turn in a paper to her teacher about your resilience and perseverance and what an inspiration you are .
  7. You’re going to meet the love of your life. You won’t be looking for him. You’re going to try to act like you don’t care. But he’s going to be there for you when you need him the most – and he’ll never leave.
  8. You will make amazing friends at bible study. Yea you took a bible study – like 6 of them. You no longer feel intimidated by bible study you feel empowered by knowledge and truth.
  9. You’re going to suffer more sadness and loss. You thought it was hard now, things will get harder. You’re going to lose someone you love to alcoholism. God will guide you through it . You’re going to rely on Him for strength even more than you are today. You will suffer more loss after that. you’ll experience a life or death moment. You’ll make it your mission to inspire others. You’ll start writing again
  10. You’ll get married. You’ll have another baby when you said you will never have another child. You’ll take risks and say YES and you’ll surprise yourself at the outcomes.

The best part is-it’s not over yet. When you get to 35 you’ve only just begun to write the story.

So keep following Him. He always points you where to go. Don’t get swallowed up by the darkness, let your light SHINE. Bring it on 2020.

A tropical trip to celebrate turning 30 after a horrible year of transition and sadness. That girl had no clue the amazing life God had mapped out for her ahead.

Want to connect in an uplifting community? Follow me on Instagram @apaceofgrace

lies and other things I’ve told myself

In high school someone once told me the boys called me “fingers” because of my long “witch hands”. I started to hide my hands after that. Ashamed of them being seen and what people might think. Even still, As an adult when I got engaged two years ago I photographed my ring while holding it and not on my hand, because I still have that file of lies in the back of my mind. Things about myself to be ashamed of. The way God made me to be.

The files sat on a shelf in the depths of my mind covered in dust because it’s been accumulating for awhile.

Most of them Labeled: not enough.

I would suck my stomach in every day until my back and neck hurt, lest anyone see the real me. my less than. I’ve been doing that as long as I can remember. In fact I can’t remember a time I didn’t do it so I must have been a child.

And especially after my first baby. My Mushy stomach riddled with stretch marks. I would look at others at the pool in bikinis and think to myself, I haven’t worn a bikini since I was 17. I went to Florida with my friend. I remember standing there at 17 sucking in and thinking to myself, “I’m so glad no one knows me here.” I could have been enjoying my day at the pool but I had to maintain my dusty files. Labeled: Unattractive

I started to find my sense of self in other people. What they thought of me and who they said I was. I remember being pregnant with my first child at 19. I felt ashamed that I was not married. I would walk around filing more labels: worthless.

I’ve hated my nose for as long as I can remember. I don’t ever want to be photographed from the side, or the wrong angle to make it look bigger. I look at photos of myself and I pick them apart until I find the least offensive photo. People said to me, you look like Cher. I didn’t ever find that to be a compliment.

Something happened when My daughter was born this May. I’m not sure what it was but something finally clicked in my brain when I was 35 with my 3rd baby that this body carried to term and my heart so full. I can see the beauty now in who God made me to be. The files came tumbling off the shelf in to a heap on the floor and I had no desire to pick them up and organize them.

Yes sometimes I still struggle with my image. I look at myself and think why haven’t I lost more pregnancy weight. Why does my c-section scar look so unattractive? Why are my hips so much wider… I’ve had babies before didn’t expect that.

But I was not going to walk around apologizing for how much space I took up or if my pants were tight and unflattering. I didn’t feel insecure when I left my house about how I looked. In fact I didn’t really care. I was me and I was whole. I ordered a bigger size. I’m going to love myself today not wait for some day. So I have a mushy stomach covered in stretch marks. And no, I’ve never played the piano in my life sorry but my fingers are long that’s just what God intended.

Sure I could work out if I want to. Or not. I can contour my nose and play with makeup. I can do whatever I want because I get to choose .

I choose to love her more and stop trying to change her. She’s been there for me for 35 years and shows up every day.

Want to connect in an uplifting community? Follow me on Instagram @apaceofgrace

Stop looking for your SELF in others

I had totally unrealistic expectations for what it was going to be like to have a baby. Is that surprising ? Since I’ve had a baby before (twice) and four kids, I didn’t really anticipate the dynamic changing so much.

But the truth is that I get nothing done. Then I feel guilty for not having anything done.

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Anxiety, closed doors and freedom

I am not a religious scholar or theologist. I have not gone through seminary school and I will not be using biblical timelines to prove God’s existence. All I am is a basic chick that went through some heavy stuff, and ended up having encounters with the Lord that I can’t deny or try to take credit for. Partly why I have resisted posting this testimony is because I feared the judgment or the questions that I could not answer. All I have is my own experiences in my life – a life I lived without God until I was 29. And that is where my life became transformed. Read on to learn about how I overcame anxiety, started my life over with no money as a single mom of 2 with nowhere to live and I’d like to say I found Jesus but really He called me.

Continue reading “Anxiety, closed doors and freedom”

Transformation

Since 2007 I have grown through the journey of finding myself- in Christ and simply as a person. Grow through what you go through ! I lost a son, was left after 10 years right before our wedding, started my life again as a broke single mom, overcame anxiety, started a career after mostly being a stay at home mom for 10 years, found my soul mate, lost another baby, got married, resigned from my career back to stay at home mom life, had a baby. Pretty much covers it but there’s a lot of chaos in between there. I do a lot of relaxing… in my mind.


Over the last 6 years the transformation has not been for the weak!! It’s been gut-wrenching as I’ve been stretched, pushed to the brink, and built up again while my heart is purified. Actually it HAS been for the weak but the Lord has strengthened me. Not only have I transformed on the inside I’ve also enjoyed transforming the rooms in the home we built. This fresh blog is about every piece of life. I started an Instagram account to encourage women over a year ago after suffering a miscarriage. It was titled “a pace of grace” to slow down and find God’s Grace in everything. Now I am embarking on a life of a blended family marriage mom of 5, – basically starting over in babyhood again since our older kids are teens 10,13,14, 16 years old. I felt it was time to actually have a blog about all of the things! There’s a whole lot of shenanigans going on in this blessed mess. I hope this space brings design inspiration, life encouragement, and laughter. I’ll share more here than the characters allowed on the tiny squares of the gram. Want to connect in an uplifting community? Follow me on Instagram @apaceofgrace

-Andrea

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