BRB… Waiting for Baby Steiner

maternity shoot

Aloha friends!

Jason and I are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our precious baby girl and will be taking a brief hiatus for her arrival this summer! We can’t wait to catch up with you and share our many life updates in the fall. Thank you for your continued support + prayers for our ministry and our baby girl. And be sure to connect with us on Instagram for baby updates throughout the summer!

Have a blessed summer!

in Him,

Laura

PSST! Our store is still open!

Aloha, Coffee, Jesus Tank TopGrab your “Fueled by: Aloha, Coffee, Jesus” tank while it’s still hot!

SHOP NOW! Take me there

 

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Shannon Melek Photography

 

 

Where Do You live? Location Matters.

where do you live?

“Where are you from?”

Who hasn’t been greeted with this question at some point?  We usually ask it to get a feel for someone’s roots; their personality; their style.

I am one of those small town girls that can claim a lifetime split between two towns.  The biggest town I’ve ever lived in has a population just above 3000 people.  I enjoy living in a place where the only traffic jams are caused by the train blowing through town, where you can find a parking spot anywhere you go unless it’s for a packed out sporting event at the school, and where you can let your kids roam a little bit without worrying *too* much. Continue reading

Finding Rest in Unfinished Work

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I have a constant to-do list running through my head these days. No matter how hard I try to organize my schedule, no matter how much effort I put in to filling out my weekly planner, no matter how early I get up or how hard I work, the days keep ending before the list does. Every night as I crawl into bed I turn off the light and leave a stack of things undone. Unfinished business has become the theme to my life these days. Continue reading

The One Thing to Get You Through Your Busy Life

The thing about life is that it has a tendency to swallow you whole. Have you noticed? One minute you’re skipping through your day, dolling out your yes’s and your I’d be glad to’s like free candy and the next you’re in over your head, swamped by all the many things you thought you could manage. Over-committed and overwhelmed you’re now trudging through the day, biding your time till the next cup of coffee – hoping it’ll hold you over to the moment you can at last crawl back into bed. I know the feeling, I’ve been there before. And let me tell you the one truth that got me through: this season won’t last forever.

I’m absolutely in favor of guarding your time. Create a sabbath, set aside time to rest, allow room for white space on your day timer. But as a fellow human on this walk through life let me share something with you: you are going to encounter strenuous seasons. You can’t escape it. No amount of carving out free time and declining invitations can safeguard you from the constant whirl of our world. We live on a spinning planet, one that is imperfect and subject to chaos. Of course we are going to find ourselves encircled with hard days, arduous work, or at the bare minimum – busyness. It is the fate of being a mortal on this side of heaven.

But let me remind you once more, this season – whether busy with work, plagued by illness, racked with financial crisis, burdened by relationships, or dripping with stress – won’t last forever.

Three months ago we warily put a cast together and began rehearsals for the annual musical at our local high school. Everyone involved in the production put in countless hours of work, we all spent more late nights at the high school gym than anyone should in their lifetime. From my perch at the piano bench I watched each night as the show progressed, characters developing, harmonies getting tighter, dance steps improving. By the time we arrived at opening night and the curtain opened, all the long hours and short nights seemed worth it. I was mesmerized by the sheer joy and delight radiating off that stage. The season didn’t last forever, and what’s more – it was worth every moment.

The human body has a very high capacity of tolerance when there is anticipated joy at the end of all the hardship. Just look at all the people who’ve run marathons and climbed mountains and birthed babies. Just look at soldiers and first responders and firemen. Just look at Jesus, hanging on the cross, nails hammered through his hands and feet, thorns stuck into his head, suffocating to death as his blood trickled down his naked body. Endurance was possible because the agony wouldn’t last forever. Endurance was possible because there was joy at the end of it all.

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12: 1-3)

There it is, the model of endurance set before us by our Savior. He didn’t enjoy the cross, he didn’t relish his time spent dying a most excruciating death, he didn’t savor the mocking voices that ridiculed him as he struggled to take his final breaths. But there was joy ahead of him, the joy of reconciliation with his children and a future together in eternity with him, and so he endured. He knew the season wouldn’t last forever, and there was joy at the end of it.

I know, it seems almost silly to compare our present difficulties to the sufferings of Jesus. How can a challenging job, or a teething baby, or college finals, or any number of our first-world problems possibly be similar to the death of God? And yet he invites us to look to him, look to his example of endurance, no matter what our circumstances look like. Surely if he withstood such agony we can make it through our challenges. You are not alone, he whispers. Look to me and remember: this season won’t last forever.

Does God Really Love Us?

MauiConflicting Character or Skewed Perception? Understanding the God of the Old Covenant.

The Old Testament has a way of making me feel completely inept.  I’ve read the New Testament backwards and forwards many times, but every once in awhile I’m convicted about my avoidance of the Old Testament with all it’s Law, it’s genealogies, it’s prophets, and it’s scandalous stories.  The Sunday school answer is that Jesus is just as much in the Old Testament as the New, but I as the reader still struggle to find Him there sometimes. Continue reading

How to Crave More of God

I looked out the window bewildered at the sound of rain. After spending the last week and a half in a pool of my own sweat, the hard rainfall felt like an answer to prayer after a long, dry drought. I did what I always do when it actually rains in Hawaii (we’ve always lived on the dry side of the islands), I lit candles and opened up every door and every window to take it all in. Out one window were dark clouds, and out the other was blue sky and palm trees. I knew it wouldn’t last long. I wanted to do all the cozy things and pretend we actually lived somewhere with real seasons, which I often crave here on this tropical little island. Continue reading

When You Need to Decrease to Increase

increaseGod has a way of teaching us something a million different ways until the truth we need to learn is pounded into our hearts and brains.

Let me expound.

Lent began the first of March. Decrease was the theme I chose to pursue these weeks leading up to Easter. Decrease of sugar, of resources, of achievements. A total decrease of self is really what it came down to. I was ready for me to be smaller, and hungry for Christ to become central to the entirety of my life. I opened my Bible, threw out the remaining Christmas candy, and began down the path of less. Continue reading

When Redemption Doesn’t Come

Culture is a powerful thing, isn’t it? We have these ideas about the way things should be, and I would say those ideas are largely shaped by what our culture tells us is good or right, whether that be national/regional, family, church, hipster, or some other kind of culture. We don’t realize how much the world and culture we live in infiltrates our thinking. Continue reading

Rocky Soil Overcome by The Rock

Spiritual Growth

A few weeks ago, in the early morning I was reading the parable of the soils in Matthew.  It’s a story that you’ve heard many times if you’ve been in church for any length of time.

He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.” Continue reading

Moving to a New Island, Baby Gender Reveal, and God’s Plan

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We just got home from a magical and lovely weekend spent with loved ones on Kauai. It was the perfect break after a long month of home renovations, termite tenting, and making arrangements to move from Maui to Oahu next month. And I had to shake myself and wonder when island hopping became a Monday morning norm, and how Hawaii has been home to us for nearly 3 years now. Regardless, Jason and I still debate regularly where we’re going to eventually “settle down”. Where do we want to live? How far do we want to be from family? Where do we want our kids to grow up? What do WE want to be when we grow up?

Can anyone else relate? Continue reading

It’s Time to Take a Risk

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I’ve been moving through these winter days like someone moves through icy roads. Slow, uneven, careful. I keep slipping, losing my footing, and then returning to the path more cautious than ever. In a season that is typically about setting lofty goals and determining to make this year count for something, I am over here watching yet another episode of Gilmore Girls and fighting the desire to stay on my couch for the rest of winter. An apprehension has crept into my soul, and I am hesitant to even daydream about what this year my hold, lest I trip over my feet as I attempt follow these dreams. Continue reading

Fighting the Good Fight

I know that faith is a wonderful thing. But I don’t think we can get the full “faith experience” unless we have the courage to enter into the fight. It’s easy to say you have faith until life throws unexpected tragedies and unfair challenges at you. In those moments, how can you believe that God is really a good God? To really experience faith, I think we have to be able to acknowledge how messy it is.

For me, the hardest part about faith has always been the uncertainty. I always found it ridiculous that people believe in God with every ounce of their being even though they can’t prove his existence. I always thought praying was silly because you’re just talking out loud to yourself. “How am I supposed to believe in something,” I thought, “if I don’t know if any of it’s even real?” I needed proof. I needed to see the evidence. If I could just have that, then yeah, I would be so on board with the Jesus stuff. I dealt with quite a bit of frustration as I was wrestling with these things a few months ago.

It was hard to accept that I’d have to let go of my desire to know everything. To be okay with the fact that this life and our God are too big for me to ever understand completely. Faith is the assurance of things we can’t see. Faith is about walking, not seeing. Faith is “letting go and letting God” (Yeah, I used to hate that saying, too). Faith is fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

Uncertainty sucks. But as my newfound favorite writer Jonas Ellison says, certainty is “a false idol that never delivers.”  Certainty is “heaven for the ego and hell for the soul.” The uncertainty is what pushes our souls to believe in something that much stronger. Our lives are fragile and uncertain in themselves. This verse hit me with a pretty big dose of reality and humility:

For what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

James 4:14

Kind of depressing, right? But it puts this universe and this life into perspective. I’ve found that the more I let go of controlling my life and the more I fight to think about the bigger picture, the less my world revolves around me. It makes me want to believe in something bigger than myself. So I’ve poured more energy into learning about not only God but also Jesus (yes, this is a Justin Bieber reference) (but it’s funny because God and Jesus really aren’t the same person) (so technically he wasn’t wrong).

But that doesn’t make it easy. How do you remain steadfast in your faith in God when the news is saturated with stories about Aleppo, mass shootings and social injustice? How do you have faith when close friends or family are diagnosed with stage four cancer? How do you keep believing when a car accident rips someone from your life? Let me know. I’ll be trying to figure that one out for a while.

Anyway, I guess this is why they call it a faith journey. I don’t think people ever actually reach “maximum faith.” It’s an uphill battle and you’re going to get some bumps and bruises. Life will test your faith’s limits and there will be days when you don’t have any more faith at all, but that’s when you fight.

I don’t know why God does that to people, but I like to think it’s his way of toughening us up. To really see if we believe in something bigger than ourselves.

I’ve always pictured faith journeys to look something like a marathon or Bilbo Baggins’ trek to Mount Doom. It’s a messy, sometimes disheartening, really exhausting, (hopefully not near-fatal) fight. But you know you’re fighting the “good fight” because it’s worth it. I’m giving up on trying to know everything there is to know about faith. But I do know that believing in something bigger than yourself is always worth it.

Continue reading

My New Years Day Meltdown: An Honest Letter About 2017

2017

Hi Friends!

I took a much needed hiatus from social media this last week. My family was here visiting from California, and instead of documenting every moment with them, I savored it and drank it in. And I didn’t blog about 2016. Or my thoughts about 2017. Or my resolutions. And to be honest with you, it was so freeing. We had a week full of food fights, sunsets, and card games, with never ending laughs as we rode around in a rental van that barely ran. It was glorious.
And when my family left on New Years Eve, as much as I tried to shake it, there was no doubt a dark cloud looming over me all weekend.

I love the turn of the new year. The fresh, clean slate and promise of hope are inspiring. I’m a goal-setting, list-making dreamer with a perpetually restless soul that’s always aching to be part of a greater purpose.

So when I woke up on New Years Day, I never expected that our 2017 goal-setting session would end in the meltdown I had.

The truth is, 2016 may be in the past, and it may be last year, but it was also just last weekend. Problems and hurts aren’t erased. Stress and work and worries are still there. I wish the turn of the new year really wiped those things clean.

My sweet husband has so much grace and patience with me. I cried about missing my family. And being overwhelmed with more condo renovations, and going back to work, and hosting visitors, and vacations that may never come to fruition, and big life decisions: it’s no wonder the afternoon ended in tears for me.

I feel silly writing this now, but I know many of you have similar hurts and struggles. The New Year doesn’t mean everything is perfect and new. It’s not a magical day that fixes everything when the clock strikes 12.

But as believers in and followers of Christ, we are offered a new start daily. And with Christ, that does mean peace in the midst of chaos and overwhelm, comfort in the hurt, and hope in the future.

Friend, you’re doing just fine where you are. Don’t put pressure on yourself to live up to expectations this year that are going to end in stress or disappointment. Keep going on the road you’re on, and seek God all the way.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31

In Him,

Laura
founder + editor

How to Get Through the January Blues

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As long as I can remember Christmas has always been my favorite part of the year. The countdowns and candlelit services and waiting with ears strained for the sound of sleigh bells vividly return to me as I think about the past holiday seasons. And for as long as I can remember that eager excitement Christmas held, I also remember the enormous let down that sank into my heart as I climbed into bed Christmas night. When I was little I equated this feeling with not getting the right presents. But even now, as the importance of gifts has decreased, I can still feel that heavy weight of disappointment. Post-Christmas blues hit hard, whether your six or twenty-six. Continue reading

Wisdom: The Fruit of Humility and Deference

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A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Listen to advice and accept instruction and in the end you will be wise. Proverbs 19:20

I wish I had seen these verses 10 years ago. Not that I would have necessarily heeded them, because you know, when you know everything why would you need instruction or wisdom? Ha.

When I think of my teens and twenties, I see a woman who had a bloated head full of ideas for which I was ready to fight to the death. I suffered from a severe case of chronological snobbery depending on the topic at hand. Something I deemed repressive or archaic? My default argument was that those poor people just didn’t know what we know now. Something progressive that went against my hard-line thinking? Surely we need to get back to the ‘good ol’ days’. Continue reading

The Sustaining Promise of Hope

We are a people who have defied the notion of truth.  Right and Wrong? Subjective and malleable.  On one hand it’s good to appreciate nuance and differences and diversity and grey areas, but on the other hand we are killing ourselves when we throw away our plumb-lines; abolish our benchmarks; trample on our long-held standards.

We believe we are evolved and enlightened, and this is why we have the privilege of complete self-governance.  But as I look around, I see a world where evil is raging, and people are more divided than ever.

As I was reading this morning, I came across something that sounded like it was written about our modern era, but this was written nearly 3000 years ago.  There is something to be said for the timeless nature of scripture, see for yourself;

Our offenses are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities: rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, fomenting oppression and revolt, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.  Continue reading

Forgiveness and The 5 Words That Crushed Me

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A little less than a year ago, I sat blindsided in a then-friend’s kitchen, getting insults hurled hastily in my face. This woman was enraged. And wrongly so. I sat there, however, dumbfoundedly taking in every word like another dagger to my heart. “And you call yourself a Christian?!” She screamed with disgust.

This isn’t a story about all the mean things that were said to me. This isn’t a story about justifying my side of the story, or even explaining the backstory of the turn of events that led me to sitting there that bleak January day.  Continue reading

If You Only Do One Thing This Christmas

christmastreeI love the practice of advent, the sacred space it creates for holy waiting. I love the quiet anticipation for our Messiah’s coming. I love the dim rooms lit only by candles, the soft twinkling of lights strewn across trees, the early evenings and the choirs singing Silent Night. I love the marking on the church calendar that urges us to be still and prepare our hearts for the coming King. Continue reading

A Sign of Faith

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We’ve just put the finishing touches on our holiday collection at the lifestyle brand where I work. And you know what’s hot right now? Stars. These little pointed shapes are everywhere; jewelry, stationery, t-shirts, handbags, tights, you name it. Everything looks more festive if you put stars on it. I think it’s the sparkle factor!

Continue reading

How to Make the Dark Days Light

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The days are getting short. The light is coming later and leaving earlier while darkness invades more of our time. Each day we lose a few more minutes to the night. I wake up in the dark, tripping over yesterdays shoes on the way to the light switch. An hour later it is still dark. Two hours later and the sky is finally turning that misty gray before the sun comes up. At last it is high in the sky, and then all too soon we head indoors as dark begins to set in again. The season of darkness is here. Continue reading

Transcendent Confidence: And How to Pray For It

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He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

There have been two times when I’ve clung to that verse for dear life.
The first time was when we were leaving our two boys, flying to Austin for a conference. I had never flown anywhere without them since becoming a mom.
As we were taking off out of Seattle I started to panic and I started to cry and in my head I was repeating “He is before all things and in him all things are held together.” I don’t have a fear of flying, and I had never had anxiety about a takeoff before. I remember being so afraid that something would happen to us, or happen to our boys, and it just terrified me to be going states away from them. Continue reading

The Rules: What it Means to Play by the Rules or Be Totally Free

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The kids are back in school and it’s been a year since I worked for anyone else. I’m in the process of paving my own trail as an entrepreneur and the Freedom Tower is visible from my walking path every day. I’m learning to be led exclusively by the Holy Spirit and the autumn winds are bringing in change. All of these things have me thinking about things we have to do and should do and could do and may do, and what it means to play by the rules or to be totally free.

So let’s talk about the rules. You know, the don’ts and the shoulds and the have tos that are meant to keep us out of trouble and make us ‘good’ Christians. Continue reading

His Banner is Love: Truth You Need to Hear

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Written by the lovely Kaci Nicole

I’m a big words girl.

I love writing, and I love the feeling of finding a perfect quote.  Goodness, “Words of Affirmation” is even my top love language.

My love for words stems from the fact that I believe in their power.  Power to influence and power to change.  Think about God’s first recorded words in Scripture, as He is creating the world.  Of all the methods He could have chosen (which is oh yeah, anything), He chose to speak the very universe in which we live into existence using words.  This means that His words have the power to change reality.  I think He has instilled in our words the same capacity. Continue reading

When Saying No Gives You Freedom

Freedom

Many times in life we are pulled in so many different directions, and as women we tend to be the caretakers. We take care of the children, the household responsibilities, we take care of the family member or friend who desires a helping hand, we loan ourselves to the neighbor or the new mom down the street, and most certainly to the church when every task arises. We are the caretakers of everyone but ourselves. Continue reading

Practicing the Art of Walking

The Art of Walking

Walking is hard for me.

Ok, not the physical act of putting one foot in front of another. I can do that without a problem.

But going at a walking pace when I could be moving faster is very difficult for me. Why go slowly when you could move quicker? Why burn 100 calories walking when you could burn 200 by running? Why let your eyes leisurely move across the page of the book you are reading when you could speed read and get through twice as much content? Why take the scenic route when you could arrive at your destination an hour earlier? Why play your scales at tempo largo when you could click it up to allegro and let your fingers fly? Why adjust your morning schedule to accommodate the shuffling pace of a toddler when you could just pick them up and run your errands at double the speed? Continue reading

3 Ways to Better Understand Scripture

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Towards the beginning of September, I was up early with a cup of coffee, hanging out with Jesus after Hubby went to work and before the kiddos began stirring. This particular morning, I felt the Lord trying to get a point across to me — something minor, yet really influential and exactly what I needed (imagine that!). The point was this:

When I don’t quite understand something in scripture, I must speak it, until I understand it, until I believe it, until I truly walk it and live it out with joy in my heart.

Continue reading

3 Things to Stop Believing About Marriage

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I never wanted to get married.

When I used to hear about or see pictures of people I knew getting engaged, I cringed on the inside. “That sucks for them”, I would think to myself. I feel like I have to mention this was before recommitting my life to Jesus, and I was much younger back when I felt it necessary to feel bad for people who were getting engaged. I viewed marriage as something everyone was doing because it was trendy, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

Little did I know, a few short years later, I would be married and living on Maui after a 7 week engagement. Continue reading