Let's be BRAVE together

Brave.

According to the dictionary, brave means:

ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage

To me, brave means so much more than that. Brave means deciding to get out of bed in the morning when you feel intense depression. Brave means choosing to stand for what is right, even when you face intense oppression. Brave means being you, being unapologetic about who you are and what you stand for.

As someone who has long been silenced by mental illness, I have been told by many that I am so "brave." Often times I feel anything but brave.

I urge you all to brave. Be unapologetically you. Don't let the pressure of others silence you from being who you truly are. Shine your light in darkness.

Today's shirt emphasizes being brave. We can all be brave together. I am so pleased to have partnered with Grace Holter of Hello, Grace today. I ABSOLUTELY love her products and the message behind them. I am rocking her new line and I love it. The shirts are handprinted and super soft, plus sooo cute! 

To visit Hello,Grace, click here. You can also follow her on Instagram @shophellograce

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Hey 2016, I'm ready for you.

Saying goodbye to a year brings lots of odd emotions. As I have reflected on my past year, I have realized how much God has been with me each and every step of the way.

The Z List was created in August of 2015. It was a huge leap of faith to take, and I haven't regretted it in the slightest. 

Life is the oddest dichotomy. Seasons are filled with immense pain and pleasure. 2015 was filled with seasons of depression, deep sorrow,  and anxiety. It was also filled with so much joy, grace, and gratitude. In every waking moment, I thank God. We aren't guaranteed anything beyond birth and death. What I have seen at work in my life is only a testament to the goodness and grace of the Father. 

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2016. 

Wow. It is a year of so much change, transition, excitement, etc. 

I am graduating college. With no immediate plans for grad school, I am faced with many unknowns. I have no idea what city I will be in, what job I will have, and so on. To put it simply, 2016 is filled with many unknowns. 

It also marks 5 years without my dad. That is such a mind blowing fact, because sometimes I still wait for his name to pop up on my phone or my dog to eagerly greet him as he walks in the door.

So yes, 2016 is a unique year.

Am I nervous? Yes. I would be lying if I said I was completely zen about this next phase.

But there is a deep peace emerging within my soul. That is a miracle in and of itself, because I almost never feel completely at peace. What I do know about 2016 is that I am not walking into these unknowns alone. Beyond my incredible communities that I am blessed to be a part of, I am led by my Father. And He is a good, good Father.

So yes there are many unknowns. 

In the unknown, there is a whole lot to be afraid of. But goodness, there is a lot to be excited for too! 

I absolutely love the phrase "the best is yet to come." And that is what I am choosing to be my 2016 mantra. I am looking forward to a year of grace, love, God's mercy and blessings. Maybe my year won't turn out how I am planning on it, but God is planning something incredible for my life and I need to be confident and assured that HIS plan is the best plan. 

New Year's comes with this tradition of writing resolutions. My best friend commented that gyms must love January 1st--because most people make the new year all about losing weight. Being healthy is always one of my ultimate resolutions. 2016's resolutions definitely aim at improving my relationship with Christ, because without Him I am nothing.  

I am also aiming to take more rests (no is something I need to learn), to constantly showering others in love and grace, and to exploring more of who I am and my purpose on this planet.

 

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Praying big things for 2016.  Excited to share them with you, and excited to see how your 2016 works out! Comment on your resolutions and how I can be praying for them.

xx,

 

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Merry Christmas from The Z List

Merry CHRISTmas!

If you celebrate the holiday, you know the greatest gift of all time came wrapped in swaddling cloth and placed in a manger. 

In the Christian tradition, we usher in the season with a period of Advent. During Advent, you light four candles. These candles represent peace, love, hope, and joy. All four tenants are core tenants of the Christian faith, and are exemplified in Christ. In a world filled with darkness and pain, it is difficult to find light. Jesus is my light. 

Sorry for the silence in the past week. I have been enjoying family time and a nice selah. I am so thankful for you and your constant support of my blog! It means the world to me. 

I have been lounging around so much lately, so I am all about the casual look. 

Throw a blanket scarf on and you're set. I love my blanket scarf--I picked it up last season at Zara and it has been an excellent buy :)

As always, wearing my trusty leather leggings. Got a new pair for Christmas, and I am stoked to rock em' all winter long. 

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I wish you all a very merry  Christmas! May you feel the love of God and the peace that is meant to exist during this season.

xx,

 

Thankful (part 1)

Today starts a new series I am doing in honor of Thanksgiving. I will be sharing small anecdotes and give you a glimpse into what makes me grateful. 

Part one is personal. I'm writing about a time in my life that I don't really remember. I know this story because it is my story, but I was too young to fully understand what exactly happened.

Not many people know this part of my story, so I thought I would share it. 

I am not supposed to be alive. 

19.5 years ago, I contracted a very severe case of bacterial meningitis. At first, my doctors thought it was the flu. Then, they assumed I had an ear infection. 

But a 106 fever is not the flu, and it certainly isn't an ear infection. 

My parents were at a Christmas party when everything started to unravel. My brothers were babysitting me. I was enamored with my brothers, but on this particular evening I could not stop crying. Actually, my brothers tell me I violently screamed the entire night. My parents returned, gave me some Motrin, and rocked me to sleep.

I woke them up at 4 in the morning, screaming and crying. When they took my temperature, they put me straight into an ice bath. The thermometer read 105.7. I am not a medical person, but I know your brain begins to fry at a certain temperature. 

My meningitis is a huge part of my life, even though I really can't remember anything about it.

I don't remember the ambulance. The transfer from El Camino to Stanford. The spinal tap. The medicine. The poking and prodding of the needles. I really don't remember anything.

I can only rely on the details my parents and others have told me. 

I know I was in a medically induced coma for 4 days. I know my brain glucose levels were low enough to make me nearly brain dead. I know that the doctors thought I was deaf, and severely mentally handicapped. 

I know that my meningitis was the result of a compromised immune system. Meningitis runs rampant at places like daycares and child centers. My mom stayed at home with me. Doctors were completely stumped as to how I got deathly ill. They told my parents multiple times that they would be lucky to have a partially functioning child. 

And when I woke up, and acknowledged my parents and the baby crying down the hall, the doctors told my parents that I was a living miracle. 

I'm not supposed to be alive, but I know God has an enormous plan for my life. We search for purpose. We search for meaning. 

In the midst of heightened anxiety and depression, I thank God every day for allowing me to have this life. 

I am thankful everyday to my Elohim for granting me the years I've had. 

Although medically I shouldn't be alive, God has a plan for me. And for that I am thankful. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley. I will fear no evil, for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

That is taken from Psalm 23. Psalm 23 has a special place in my heart. It was my dad's favorite Psalm, and I had the honor of reading it at his graveside service. 

Psalm 23 is also the epitome of God's promise to His beloved people. In the midst of tragedy, grief, sorrow, and even death, we are reminded that He is with us. Forever.

Thank you for taking the time to read! 

xx,

I guess they let babies eat cake in the ICU? :) 

I guess they let babies eat cake in the ICU? :)