Category Archives: FAITH

Not every year, but most, I give the ladies in our family (mothers, sisters, daughters) a devotional for Christmas.  It is my way of saying “I love you and here’s some hope and encouragement during the good and inevitable not-so-good days of the upcoming year.”  (Oh, and I always get one for myself too!)

This year I found mother/daughter devotionals that have the same theme for the year and they are at great Cyber Monday prices:

1. COLORING DEVOTIONALS (the new trend)

Wholehearted: A Coloring Book Devotional

Moms, do you daydream about slowing down? Here’s a way. Picture a morning cup of coffee, an array of pencils and a few minutes to color your thoughts on the devotional you just read.  Click on the picture or the link above to see more:

Faithgirlz: 60 Days Of Discovering God’s Hope and Love

This is for girls 8-12 years old..a great present for your daughters or nieces or granddaughters! I love anything that encourages creativity and provides an alternative to screen time.



My Prayer Journal: A Three Month Guide to Praise and Thanks

I shared in a recent FB video about how writing down my prayers has really helped me focus during my prayer time.  This prayer journal might be the perfect gift for yourself or for others who want to grow their prayer lives.

My Kid’s Prayer Journal: 100 Days of Prayer and Praise

What a gift to our children to help them learn how to pray and give praise to God! And, this is something you can share together if you both have a kickstart to your year with these devotionals.



JESUS ALWAYS: Embracing Joy in His Presence

These devotionals are timeless-I read them year after year and the truth is fresh each time. Of all the devotionals out there, Sara Young’s speak to my heart the most.

JESUS ALWAYS: 365 Devotions for Kids

This is one of my FAVORITE kid’s devotionals.  It is simple but full of truth.  We used to read it at the dinner table for our family dinners.

Hopefully you found one of these types of devotionals that you would love for yourself or for a family member (or friend!).  Starting the new year on the spiritual right foot is a beautiful gift!



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In December on the Blog- another kitchen makeover, holiday design tips, and more Christmas spirit coming your way!

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Our daughter, Hannah, was home from college last weekend.  Jon and I took her out for breakfast one morning and I just couldn’t help but stare at her .  There she was, in the flesh, sitting across the table eating chocolate chip pancakes and telling us about life at school in Arizona. I reached across the table to hold her hand, and she laughed and said, “Mom, why are you being so weird?”  I laughed back, “I know, I just miss you when you are away and am so glad to be talking to you face to face.”  

I do miss her, but I am really thankful for this little technology marvel called Facetime that she and I use when she is back at school.  It is the next best thing to watching her eat chocolate chip pancakes in person.  I love Facetime because I can experience her world a little better.  Sometimes she is walking through campus, or washing her face in the mirror, or in line at Chipotle.  I’m right there, connected with her.  

It is a far cry from communication of the past.  My in-laws were in town a couple of weeks ago and they were telling stories of when my father-in-law, Vin, was stationed on an aircraft carrier at sea for six months at a time while in the military.  Letters were the only way of communication to his wife and kids except for the occasional phone call.  These phone calls would have no prior notice and my mother-in-law would have to just hope she was at home to receive the call on her land-line.

I am sure during those many months home as a single-mom, my mother-in-law longed for a face to face conversation with her husband, or to reach out and hold his hand, as did my father-in-law on a ship at sea for days on end.  And I’m sure they would have been thrilled to be able to FaceTime each other each night.  It would have dramatically changed the experience for them.  

I think that we often communicate with God in pre-FaceTime mindset. 

We send up a “letter” to God, a one way form of communication with hopes of receiving an answer back sometime in the future.  We perceive our relationship with him to be long-distance.  We hope we are listening and aware when he hopefully decides to respond to a prayer.   When we pray it is without assurance that someone is really listening on the other side.

And then we wonder why our connection to God is struggling and why he seems unreachable.

It’s time for a technology update in our prayer life.

I just finished reading the newly published book, Talking To Jesus, by Jeannie Blackmer.  Jeannie writes about how the bible records many conversations people had with Jesus, and if we took a fresh look at those conversations as “prayers” it gives us a whole new perspective on how reachable, close and present Jesus really is.

Men and women in the bible approached Jesus during his time on earth with different requests or situations.  And he responded.  Like when he was sought out by the grieving ruler whose daughter had just died of a mysterious illness.   Jesus responded by walking to the ruler’s house, taking the child’s hand and commanding her to wake up. She immediately began breathing again.

Let that sink in.  Regular folks like you and me approached the Son of God and asked for physical healing, or to understand him better, or to calm a storm, or for wisdom or direction, or to describe the cost of following him.   And he listened and had a response to their need.

Aren’t those the topics we go to God with every day? What if we truly believed we had direct access to him anytime.  What if we embraced the fact that Jesus wants to communicate and respond to our needs just as earnestly now as he did in biblical times? How would that change our prayer life?

While true face to face conversations with Jesus will happen only when we get to heaven, I do think we can liken our prayer life to a Facetime call.  He is right there, having a conversation with me and acknowledging my questions and concerns.  His responses are not random.  I can picture his face and his loving expressions…and maybe entertain the idea that he’s eating chocolate chip pancakes while we talk.

I realize this metaphor might be stretching it a bit…but here my point.  Let’s not treat our interactions with God as if he is far away, with time and distance preventing intimate, present, personal relationship.

And the disciples asked Jesus, “Where are we going to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?”   Matthew15:33

Personal, present, honest.

What if we asked Jesus for help in our lives today as assuredly as the real people who did 2000 years ago?  What if we got rid of our old technology mindset?

Jeannie explores this idea with beautiful conversations and written illustrations in her book. If you would like to understand this personal way of praying even more, I would highly recommend reading TALKING TO JESUS.   Not only does she share the conversations people had with Jesus in detail and depth, but she then invites us into personal reflection that encourages us to go deeper in our own prayer lives.

If you struggle with prayer like so many of us, this book is a must read…you may even begin to experience Jesus like he is sitting right across the table from you, listening to you talk, reaching for more syrup. 

You can get the book here:

Blessings to you this week!



PS: I am posting on my Facebook Community Blog page every week with design tips, projects I am working on, parenting thoughts and faith encouragement!  Like the page at:

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Who is my cute-mom/designer idol of the year?  You can probably guess.  Joanna Gaines.  I just call her JoJo because we are close.  She is on our TV, on the Magnolia magazine cover that sits on our coffee table, on a book by my nightstand, and her signature design inspiration is all over our house.  Yep, closer than bark on a tree. At least from my perspective.

But why?  Why do I and so many others just love Chip, Jo and their show Fixer Upper?  There are many reasons (so many…) but I think the heart of it is transformation.  We are suckers for a good makeover, aren’t we?  We love to see old and worn transformed to new and beautiful.  Our eyes fix on the story of renewal, restoration, and an amazing reveal.  This is human nature.  It’s why we love stories of brokenness redeemed.  And Chip and Jo create this inspiring experience for in every show.

But there is a greater story of redemption that Fixer Upper always reminds me of. In our own lives, when we take that leap of faith and decide to follow God, we begin to experience our own makeover.   It happens when we ask forgiveness for our sin and brokenness, and invite Jesus to walk with us in all the intricacies of our daily lives.

It is then the construction begins.

Once in our lives, we lived covered in fading wallpaper and peeling paint, our fresh foundation layered by flooring we no longer wanted, and our cracks and mismatched rooms (which we tried to hide) were not really hidden from anyone.  We genuinely tried to present a better outside to the world, but if the world was to open the door and peek inside this is what it would find– shame, guilt, pride, arrogance, betrayal, greed, selfishness, idolatry.  It’s an ugly list, and not a complete one, but we have all lived it in some way, shape or form.

But then, Jesus invited us into relationship with him.  And we took his hand, timidly, expectantly, and accepted.

He began to rebuild a new home in us.  Slowly…over time.  Tearing down old patterns and thoughts, removing walls we had built, opening up space and breathing room in our souls.  He peeled back the layers of protection we had covered ourselves with and like a life-giving balm, painted his word on our hearts.

This is what God does.

He is a restorer.  A redeemer.  A perfect designer of the life he has invited us to.

A life of confidence and peace and love and joy and grace.

And he hauls away all the old–that ugly list from before.  He heals the wounds of shame, he teaches us to not listen to the voice of guilt, he changes our pride to humility and grace, our arrogance fades away as we realize our identity in Christ, he forgives us for betrayal, he replaces selfishness with generosity, he asks us to worship Him alone.

God’s process of building is more than a few months.  It can take a lifetime.  So before the new home in us is finished, we can place a welcome mat at our front door.  It says, “Come in! I am a work in progress, but I have a master-builder crafting my soul.  Come in and see what he is working on today.”

So the next time you are watching Fixer Upper, think about these things.  Be reminded of how God is beautifully fixing us up!  He patiently works over our broken areas, with a good plan, carefully drawn.  If we let him, in his time he will do a great work in us.

And…if God created Joanna and all her talents, how much more can we trust his design work in us!



You can find more about life, faith and design on my Instagram @amyleehayes

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“Look at Mo!” several voices called out around me. I steadied myself on our boat and turned around to see our small white-haired Bichon Poo swimming frantically through the water towards me. His head was barely above water and the waves lapped over his face, but he was the most determined little dog-paddler I had ever seen.

Minutes before, my husband and a boat full of kids had pulled into the beach area.  As kids piled off to give turns to the next group, I kicked off my flipflops on the beach and grabbed a towel for the next ride.   I proceeded to wade the distance out to where the boat was anchored, not noticing our little puff ball of a dog whining and pacing on the beach where I had left him in the commotion of all the people getting in and out of the water.

I had reached the boat and was climbing aboard when Mo started swimming.

There are two things about Mo that you should know.


One, he has NEVER voluntarily swam in the water anywhere anytime (most likely because he fell off the back of a fast moving speed boat when he was just a wee pup and was under water much longer than he probably liked).

Two, he loves me more than I can even imagine.

It was the combination of these two facts that made the event so amazing. Mo, who most likely watched me in total anxiety as I left him alone on the beach to get on the boat, decided to overcome his great fear of the water out of sheer love. He was going to swim to me no matter what the cost.

I turned to my friend on the boat as we watched Mo paddle towards us and shook my head, “Mo loves me more than he is afraid of the water.”

Love casts out fear.
Fear holds us back from so very much.

Love overcomes fear, diminishes it, loosens its grip on our lives:
~It is the wife who continues to trust even when trust has been broken because she loves her husband more than the fear of betrayal.
~It is the mother who lets her child soar with her dreams even though she wants more than anything to just keep that child home, safe.
~It’s the neighbor who loves sharing God with others, because he knows what it has done in his life, more than the fear of being rejected.
~It is love of freedom that helps overcome the fear of letting that addiction go.                                               ~It is love of restoration and healing that allows us to swallow our pride (and the fear attached, of losing or not being right)                                                                                                                                                        ~ It is the love of pursuing our dreams that overcomes the fear of failure


Its you and me, loving God more than the fear of what life holds, and choosing to trust and walk with him even in the most desperate and uncertain of circumstances.

That day a little dog created a picture for me that I will carry forward.  I can push through my fears with love as my motivator.

What, friends, are we afraid of? Loss? Rejection? Betrayal? Death?  Failure?

Whatever that fear, find what you love MORE and lean into it.  Let it become more powerful than anything else.

Try this:  I love _________________more than I fear ________________.

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.  The Message, 1 John 4:18

And where do we find the strength to do that?  We fix our eyes on Jesus.  The one who gives strength, miraculous peace, healing, power, hope, and confidence to our fearful souls.

As Mo reached the back of the boat, his little eyes that were filled with terror fixed on me.  His mom.  The one thing that he lives for (pathetic but true).  I reached down and pulled his wet soggy body out of the water, wrapped him in a towel and held him close.   He didn’t care where we were going, or how long we would be on the boat.  It didn’t matter.  His fear was gone.  His love had conquered the distance between he and his mama.

Happy Valentines Day!


You can find more about life, faith and design on my Instagram @amyleehayes

Also, join our Blog Community on Facebook!  http://@amyhayesblog


Hello! Today on the blog I am sharing a story I have been wanting to tell for months…but it just hasn’t seemed like the right timing.  And then the Christmas season arrived and I began thinking about waiting– waiting for the celebration, anticipating the excitement of the season, and the waiting that happened for the generations of Israelites in anticipation of the birth of their King.

It reminded me of my story from the last year–one of anticipation but of much waiting.  A true time of testing for me.  You may want to snuggle in for the video which is a bit longer than I wanted–it is, after all, a story of waiting.  But it is a message of hope and encouragement for those of us who are expectant of life to somehow work itself out differently than it seems, that there is One who knows us and sees us while we wait.


You may be in a time of waiting, and it may not be wrapped up neatly in a bow like ours was in the end.  It may take a long, long time for the story to play out.

But please hear this–it is not how the story ends that is important…it is how God changes us in the midst of our waiting.

THIS is when he pulls up a chair to talk, because we are often ready to listen. Hear what he is whispering, lean in to his voice of love and grace and trust.

He’s got this.

Merry Christmas to you!

PS:  Please join me on my Facebook Blog Community page!  I post several times a week–notes of encouragement or I share great articles and tips I stumble upon:

Also, I am on Instagram @amyleehayes–would love to connect with you there too!

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