Making Friends + Partying with a Purpose

I've just started planning our 4th annual Let's Party Like Girls night and am so excited! The concept for this party began when I realized though we had lived in Denver a little while and I knew people...I didn't really have many friends.

Ughhhh...the feeling of not having "my people" pained me. It's such a hard and empty feeling, isn't it?

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I started thinking of all sorts of reasons to have people into my home and getting to know them in a deeper way than simply small talk at sports practice and school dropoff.

I stopped waiting for an invitation and began opening my own door. Things like playdates, coffee dates, book club, Bible study, etc.

When brainstorming, it occurred to me that my great love of parties could be used in a purposeful way. Thus Let's Party Like Girls was born.

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(invite example is from year two!)

This is what I posted when first talking about this party four years ago:


Do you ever get so caught up with life...trying to be a rockstar mom and best wife ever, keeping up with school activities, sports, volunteering, Bible Study, work, laundry, carpooling, grocery shopping, more laundry, the never-ending house clean up...that you wake up one morning and realize...FRIENDS!

Do I even have friends anymore? I need girl time!

I need adult conversation and to shower and put on those heels I used to wear all the time. I need encouragement from my people!

 So I've decided to have a party, for no reason at all except I need my people. I need some time to connect. I really, really want to love on the women around me and for us all to be surrounded by a whole bunch of pretty.

I want it to be all about us...just for one night.

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Since the first year, it has evolved into something even more beautiful than connecting, making friends, and feeling loved on.

Not only do we strive to honor and love-on the women who attend...

we also honor and care for women both locally and globally.

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By working with the Denver Dream Center, we care for the children of women who are struggling. One or both parents are incarcerated, families are in a difficult season. These are children who likely won't have gifts to open on Christmas morning, nothing to bring them a little magic and joy during the upcoming holiday season.

We set up an Angel Tree last year and through it, 40 children and a handful of families...were all sponsored in honor of our Lord's birthday. Amazing world-changing women stepped up and now these families had gifts on Christmas!

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Several of you who saw my posting on social media even reached out and though you didn't live nearby or were able to party with us, you still sponsored a child, or two, or five!

This year we're also teaming up with Free The Girls, which is an organization I've personally been involved with for several years. By simply donating gently used or new bras, women rescued from sex slavery have inventory for bra-shops in their local marketplace...and because their clients are women, they have very little interaction with men while their heart, body, and soul continues to heal.

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For those of you wanting to be involved...or those of you who want to do your own similar event here's some more fun:


To get in the door, we ask that each guest brings a bra (or two or ten!) and a bottle of wine.


Every person who takes a child from the Angel Tree is entered into a raffle (the more you take, the more you're entered!).


The raffle is super fun...last year our giveaways were included a Kids Advent journalAnchored Press devotional plannersNoonday Collection jewelry, a bag from JOYN, goodies from Fair Trade FridayBought Beautifully, gold-foiled prints, journals, and even a beautiful (original!) fashion illustration were gifted to squealing ladies.

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I also gave away books I love...some by friends and some by ladies I'd like to be friends with: Curious FaithLooking for LovelyThe Nesting PlaceLoving my Actual LifeGirl Meets ChangeHello Beauty Full, and a few others.

For many of the gifts, I pulled names from a hat. But for others, I'd describe the book or explain the heart around something and toss it onto the ground in front of me saying, "Whoever feels like they need this in their current season, grab it quick!"

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Small business owners and authors are so generous with donating. If you're interested, here's how you can be a part of our incredible night!

How can you get involved??

1. We are looking for charitable donations for this amazing, grass-roots, support-raising evening. These donations will be used as raffle prizes for donors.

What do you get?

-Besides that awesome tax write off, your name and product will be featured here on the blog as well as my social media outlets!

- If you are in the Denver area, you will also get a personal invite to this amazing celebration that empowers women and brings some cheer to kids who could use it the most.

Win-win, right? Please please email my assistant (and best friend) Kiesha at if you are interested!

Click here for my initial inspiration as well as Year 1, Year 2, and last year (Year 3).

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If you live in the Denver area and would like to attend (bring friends!!), stay tuned for announcements via social media or email Kiesha (see address above), who will make sure you get an invite!

Take Joy,


How to Rest + Be Still

Life is busy and bustling and very rarely is there time to sit and rest. Are you in this same season?

Every night I sing to the girls after our prayers. They make their minds known while shouting out their favorite end-of-day songs: Jesus Loves the Little Children, Twinkle Twinkle, the Rainbow song...and one I made up when Anton was an infant called Be Still.

Based on the hymn we sang in church as a child, it goes like this:

Be still (insert child's name), and know He is God...that Jesus loves you, Mom and Daddy too. So close your eyes...and go to sleep. Every time I sing it, it's like God's murmuring it right on back to me because I'm tired and have a hard time settling down to rest.


This has been an extra busy season, with Ben still settling into his new job and me trying to figure out what life as an author looks like: completing my manuscript, getting gigs on my speaking calendar, coming up with good content both for my own blog and for articles I'm collaborating with on other peoples sites and magazines.


What's funny though is that I work so hard to ensure our extra business doesn't affect the kids that I end up just creating a whirlwind of exhaustion. I want our kids to know that my ministry won't disturb our family-memory-making that when I am with them, I just have nothing left.

Instead of allowing our family time to fill my bucket back up so I can pour out...

I'm left dry and parched.


During church last week, a friend filled in for our sick pastor and spoke about this very subject. Our family intentionally hunkers down during the winter months, when cold weather sweeps through our Colorado mountains, but fall is just a busy one with six kids in activities, clubs, friends, homework, and all that fills the outside school hours.

I needed this reminder on rest.

Why do I look at Sabbath as something unattainable, though?

Are you the same? Our friend Eric (who preached last week) talked about how the Sabbath isn't supposed to be a 24-hour span of time full of what we cannot do...but isn't that often what we think?

When I hear the word Sabbath, I feel I need to somehow figure out how to just be still and relaxed and quiet for the entire Sunday hours. Like I need to do literally nothing.

But as a mom that just doesn't seem possible!


We live in a neighborhood full of Jewish families because we're so close to the Synagogue. It's amazing to watch their diligence walking to and from service on Saturday: pelting rain, blistering sun, and deep snow, it doesn't matter.

A few summers ago, a someone's dog got out and was running around the street. A knock on our door brought me face to face with a smiling woman who said she heard we "take people in" (hah!) and would we be willing to take in this lost dog because since it was Sabbath, they couldn't use their phone and locate its owners.

Huh. Is this what Sabbath looks like?

Am I supposed to rest in a way that I cannot even help a lost pet?

How are we supposed to rake the leaves and go to Costco though, if this is the only free day we have? What about those of us with kids that need to be run around town for sports and birthday parties?


What about the toilet that keeps plugging up and the necessary trip to Home Depot? Sunday is the only day we have to get all this done and prepare ourselves for the week ahead. Sunday is when we do meal-prep and change the sheets and make sure all the laundry is put away.

So someone...

please tell me how we're supposed to keep this Sabbath?

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Our sermon on Sunday reminded us it's more of a heart issue.

Sure we can go to Costco...but when we do, let's not get riled up with the crowds and our children touching things and making the trip take longer. Let us instead take a step back...walk a bit slower.

Stop for the samples. Let them play with the karaoke machine and the keyboard piano or drum set. What if we actually made Costco...or Home Depot...or raking the leaves...or whatever it is we're needing to do, into an experience.

What if we did our week's meal prep with the kids instead of ushering them out of the kitchen? What if we slowed down enough that we enjoyed our tasks, rather than simply rushing through them?


We may not get as much done on whatever day we choose to rest on, but isn't that the point?

We don't need to literally do nothing.

We can still go on a hike, bike ride, or fishing with the family. But if chores need to be done and errandss need to be run, we can do it with a different viewpoint.

Our tasks can still be done... but with our hearts positioned differently, it could become more restful.

More rest-filled.

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What do you think? How could you honor the Sabbath and put rest in its rightful place in your life?

Take Joy,


Friday Five v. 1

Ok, so there are times I just really want to share things with you when I happen onto funny or inspiring Instagram posts...or yummy looking recipes on Pinterest...or a super cute pair of shoes I found online. You know, the fun stuff you text your best friend about.

That being said, I've decided to put together a post from time to time called Friday Five...which is five things I've come across that week that I loved or wanted to share!

So here are this week's Five!


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How cute is this fall pie?! I love spending a little extra time on the tops of mine (see here) so I'm totally going to have to try this darling design! They've included other ideas and tips, as well!



This is one of my favorite sweaters evvvveeeer. I wear it with ripped jeans or my faux leather pants and is the perfect amount of slouchy without being so sacky I look like I'm drowning.

And guess what?! It's on massive sale! Head here to shop (it also comes in Wine and Black)!


This is a real ad for Montgomery Flea Market and is actually yeeeeeears old and has been my favorite for a long time, but I just had to include it for anyone who just needs a chuckle.

Owner Sammy Stephens' commercial is so amazing that it went viral and he even ended up on Ellen. It's really the best thing ever.


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Ohmygosh is this not the cutest room EVER?! Forget it being for kids...I want to sleep here. Destination Nursery, I've never bought anything from you, but now I want everything.

Did you notice that cloud with rain pouring down from it hanging from the peak of the bed? Ahhhh! The cutest!



Get THIS. Someone is literally grocery shopping for me as we speak.

Last weekend I was in D.C. visiting my best friend (and celebrating another friend's 40th bday), when Kiesha began telling me how she has her groceries delivered now.

I rolled my eyes and laughed, saying how it sounds like a dream-world, but too expensive for me. She proceeded to tell me that because she only receives what is on her list, there's no chance for "impulse buys" and has actually been saving an average of $100/month!

Ok, not gonna lie. I was intrigued.

So after asking some friends what their favorite companies are in my area, I found InstaFresh. And you guys...these are the stores they deliver from:

. Safeway

. Whole Foods

. Natural Grocers

. Costco...YES...I said COSTCO!! Can you imagine NOT hauling your kids there, but having someone else shop your list for you?!

. There are several others, based on where you live and what's around you, but I was in.

So I just got a text saying someone named Triban has started shopping for me and my items will be delivered in about an hour.

I can't even handle this.

Want to try it? Head here and then use my code: TANDERSON3B716D

This is just the coolest.

Enjoy your Friday!

Take Joy,


My 1st article as the "Mommy Style Contributor" for Denver Style Magazine

You just never know who you're going to meet. Last spring when helping plan a fashion-fundraiser for MOPS Corporate, I met the sweetest woman named Heather. I was standing toward the back during our event's fashion show, taking photos because I was in charge of social media for the evening.

Next to me was a girl with spicey short hair and killer heels. We started chatting while she, too, was taking photos and video, posting it up on Instagram.

She mentioned working for Denver Style Magazine and that she was posting to their feed.

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Because she was kind, genuine, and easy to talk to, I loved her instantly. (How could I not adore her when she sends such kind Thank You notes like the one above?! It's such a lost art, don't you think?)

Little did I know, Heather is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the whole mag! Since then, we have worked together on several projects...and now I'm their Mommy Style Contributor!

Ohmygosh it's such fun.

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I thought I'd show the Fall 2017 edition with you since it released a few short weeks ago. I'll continuously share my articles each time they drop since sometimes us moms get into fashion ruts (I'm with ya, girl. You know it's true for all of us at some point).

This particular article was all about simple ways to get out of our yoga pants and into things that are stylish, yet easy to wear (yes, I wrote case you're wondering).

If you live in Colorado, you can pick up a physical copy at several locations around town. But even if you don' can read the digital copy (yay!).

When in the planning stages, I had sent them a huge file of Pinterest-style inspiration photos and Heather and her counterpart Kelsey brought over thousands of dollars worth of inventory for me to wade through while my hair and makeup was done.

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There were racks full of clothes, shoes, and accessories for each look. While my hair was curled or braided, Heather and Kelsey held up various items to gage my thoughts. I'd tell them if I loved it or if it should be nixed.

That to say, the items shown are genuinely things I'd wear. I didn't want them to put me in clothing I wouldn't don in real-life...thankfully, that wasn't their goal, either! They trusted me and my ideas, only suggesting things, rather than forcing my hand.


The whole process was lovely and incredibly fun (though...sigh, all the clothes had to go back to the Denver boutiques they came from). They even played around with the kids during my wardrobe changes, doing pretend model shots (the boys may not love being in photos, but the girls do!).

Here are some more fun (unedited) pics from that day that didn't make it into the magazine. How FANTASTIC is that braid?!

The Winter Edition comes out toward the end of November and that article will be surrounding A Family Night In, full of cozy sweaters, pj's, and the like.

The whole fam will be in it that umm....praying for good attitudes for all eight of us. Bahahahahaha...if you've ever done family photos, you know what I'm talking about. ; )

Once's the Fall article! xo

Take Joy,


P.S. Click below for the talent from the day!

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Why it matters what we spend time on (and Bible verse printable + lock screen)

The other day, we chatted about the below verse on our Bible Nerd Facebook Page:

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:15b

I love how this passage reads in The Message:

Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.

Wow. Makes me think twice about what comes out of my mouth. You too?

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A few days later, I was reorganizing the bookshelf in my office and began leafing through Jen Hatmaker's book, For the Love.

Noticing I marked the whole book up like a madwoman when I read it a year or two ago, I noticed a common thread: freedom. Freedom to say no, freedom to set boundaries, freedom to be the best sense of the word.

Freedom to have pink hair... freedom to juggle work and kids... freedom to know what works for me and my family... freedom in the abundant love of Christ.

"God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong." (p71)

What does this have to do with Matthew 12:15?

Let me tell you:

input and output.

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Back in the 80's, I was a painfully shy, sweet(ish) Sunday School girl who spent most of class fixing my ever sagging tights where the crotch somehow always ended up mid-knee, the thin nylon sagging around my ankles, (I know I'm rambling, but please tell me I wasn't alone in this).

But when I wasn't wriggling around trying to get my undergarments just-so, I remember singing my little heart out. And I recall singing particularly loud to a song named "Input, Output".

Do you remember it?

Warning: it's sung in a computer voice.

Mhm. Yep. I never claimed to be cool.

Anyway, it goes:

"Input, output, what goes in must come out.
Input, output, that is what it's all about.
Input, output, your mind is a computer whose.
Input, Output, daily you must choose."

 And as cheesy and lame as the song is, complete with computer voice and motions, it's stuck with me.


Because it reminds me that I need to be careful what I spend time on and in.

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If I pray and work hard on kindness and patience, I'll speak in a way that will make our children feel my love for them as they grow. They will see freedom in Christ through my words and actions.

But this not only means feeding our hearts with meat from The Word. It also means we need to be careful what we spend our time watching or listening to. What conversations we're having with others.

It also means if we're angry or dissatisfied, we need to have an outlet for it...before it comes out in an unhealthy way.

I'm a (recovering) Stuffer. I hate confrontation and will just press anything unpleasant down further and further, hoping it'll just go away and I'll get over it. unhealthy!

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It wasn't until being married that I realized that's NOT ok! You cannot act in this way when you're on a team with someone for life. Your spouse will think everything is peaches and cream and then WHAM! A typhoon hits and takes everything out in its wake. It ALL pours out.

The little issue from that day and everything all the way two years ago back. And his head will be spinning with confusion.

Talk about things AND pray about them.

Find a friend, your husband, or a counselor to just be crazy open and honest with.

And wouldn't we rather overflow with love, kindness, goodness, generosity, and encouragement for others?

. . . . . .

Enjoy this lock screen + printable!

I challenge you to forward this post or the image itself on to a few friends who you cherish and think may love it, too! xo

Printable + Lock Screen can both be found in The Library.

(Remember... for access, you must subscribe to the blog via email. The password is at the top of every email sent out!)

Take Joy,