Real Talk Tuesday: Operation Slimdown

Oct 11, 2016

Hi Everyone!

Nate and I are now here in Bakersfield, and we are starting find our groove.  For those of you who know the Parrish people well, you know that our work habits are very different, and our creative processes are very different, so working together can be quite the task. But we're actually working it out quite peacefully, and graciously, and working together has been really wonderful.

The other thing that has changed a TON in my life is how much time and energy I have to spend not only investing in relationships but also in my health, spiritually AND physically. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen in my stories and on my feed that I've gotten back into going to the gym.

Before now, I HATED the gym. It felt like a chore, and I thought it was boring. I don't really know what changed my mind, other than the fact that to be quite honest, I hated the way I looked, and I hated the way I felt. The way I looked on the outside was a terrible reflection of the way I felt on the inside. I'm excited by, and about life! I have so many things to be thrilled about, and no amount of pink hair, or make-up or cute clothes (which weren't looking so cute), could mask the fact that I looked tired, and that I had stopped trying. It was time for a legit change. Not to mention I was paying for a really nice membership that I was not using.

So, its been about a month, and I'm really going strong. Actually look forward going to the gym. I've found a routine that I like, and I've started to see a change, not only in my body, but in my soul as well. I'll be doing a post on unforeseen benefits of exercising pretty soon. But here's what has helped immensely to stay the course.
  1. Give God all the Glory- I saw a graphic-tee that said "Love what the good Lord gave you". I agree 100% we should love what the body that the Lord gave us by taking care of it, and remembering that our bodies are temples. The same power that rose Jesus from the Grave lives in me, and judging by my health, I had let idols take over the temple. God deserves all of my life, and that includes my health.
  2. Cute Gym Clothes- Seriously, this helps so much. Think about it. Have you ever put on an outfit that you regretted and it ruined your whole day? Maybe it's just me. I know active wear is pricey, but places like Plato's Closet and Crossroads now carry it. Just run them through the wash, you'll be good to go. I got two pairs of really awesome Nike Leggings that run $80 and over for 20 bucks! If you DO have the cash to spare though, there is no shortage of cute stuff!
  3. Yummy Water- I know, another seemingly petty thing, but if you're not a water drinker, you're gonna need to start being one, and putting cucumbers, frozen berries, lemons, or my new favorite Mint leaves, really helps! (also, it gives you an excuse to get a cute new water bottle) 
  4. A HEALTHY energy drink- I have never ever advocated energy drinks, and I still don't. I think Rockstar and Red Bull and Monster are among some of the worst things you can put in your body. The crash your body goes through after such a caffeine/sugar rush is way worse than a coffee. Green tea is a good sugar free option, but for those of you who need sweet (like me), I use an Advocare product called Spark. What stands out about Spark, in my experience, is that besides giving you more energy, it also increases mental focus. Seriously, I went one day without drinking Spark, and it was my worst workout to date. 
  5. A health monitoring app- The one I use is called My Fitness Pal, by Under Armor. It's super user friendly. You put in all your specs (weight, height, activity level, health goals) and it gives you healthy guidelines to follow. It does take a little discipline to put in all your meals and your daily exercise, but lets be real, you're probably on your phone anyways. 
  6. A Friend- I don't actually work out with Nate. I'm not nearly to the point where I can keep up with him, but it helps that he already loves going to the gym, and is already in the habit of eating a healthy diet. I'm not facing this uphill battle (for now) by myself. I have major encouragement to keep going.
  7. Grace- I'm not a body builder...yet. Just kidding, I don't want to be a body builder. But even so, body builders weren't always that ripped. They had to start somewhere. It is so easy to compare myself to the super in-shape people at the gym, but I'm on a journey to be more like Jesus, not to be more like the impossibly buff woman who always ends up next to me and runs for an eternity while I walk. Remember, comparison is the thief of all joy. 
These are the things that really help me. I hope that if you are on a similar journey that this might help you as well. I've been working out and eating better for about a month, and I've lost a total of 7 lbs, and I'm just now starting to see a difference in the way my body looks, but I  feel so so so much better, and my self-confidence has improved as well.  If you workout junkies have stuff that you do that help you, leave a comment below. I totally want to hear your ideas, and testimonies. See you guys soon!

Workout stuff

Walking Through Unavoidable Stress

Jul 27, 2016

Hello everyone!

Since our major announcement, that had nothing to do with having children, life has flipped 180 degrees, upside down, crazy! We've left Napa, and are now living with my folks in Stockton. We're living in the apartment on their property, so while we totally have our own space, we haven't really un-boxed anything and won't until we actually move in the middle of August. That means our place looks like an episode of "Hoarders", In fact I have no clue where my Bible currently is. I took it out of a box . I know some of you are already feeling uncomfortable, but you know what, it's life!

Chalk it up to having never really done anything like this before, but I was shocked how I subconsciously want to get to a new normal that I know won't exist for another 6-8 months. It's an inner struggle that has left me very very stressed, and it completely snuck up on me.  I looked at my tired self in the mirror and it hit me, and maybe this is you, but when I'm stressed this is what happens to me:
This is a picture from when we still lived in Napa, but the mess communicates my life right now.

  1. I don't sleep at all.
    My brain just won't stop. I'll find sleep randomly if I slow down for a little while, but when it's actually time to sleep I just keep thinking and thinking and thinking. (A white noise app if helpful for this)
  2. I eat.
    So much emotional eating happening right now.(That's had turned it's ugly head in the mirror as well, gotta get find that inner peace/ Bible quick and get my butt to the gym!)
  3. I shop.
    Obsessively. Retail therapy has always been my go-to. But after a little while everything looks the same, and shopping becomes more depressing than theraputic. Retail therapy is not real therapy. 

So.... I've been praying and reading about what to do and how to survive so my three not so healthy defense mechanisms don't kill me. This is what has worked for me.  Maybe your defense mechanisms are different than mine, but I hope maybe this is can help you if you find yourselves in this crazy state of extreme transition.

  1. Read your Bible.
    I have been reading Nathan's. Turns out, it says the SAME EXACT thing. I bought myself a little journal. Starting my day with the Lord, with a cup of coffee, reading and writing a little. This changes everything
  2. Tidying up.
    I don't have a ton of control over my surroundings right now. There is not a single thing I can do about the mess of boxes. But I CAN keep the kitchen clear. I CAN clear off the little breakfast nook. I CAN keep the desk in bedroom clear. Focusing on the things that I can do...that's the sweet spot.
  3. Make To-Do lists.
    I don't know about you, but when I see a sink full of dishes I just shut down. I get overhwhelmed at the sight, and pretend like its not there. The reality is, if I just tell myself "one dish at a time" it'll take me no time at all, and before I know it, the pile is gone. To-do lists are what tell me that my "dirty-dish pile" life can be done. Just one dish at a time. 
  4. Find/Create/Define a creative space.
    Nate and I need creative space. Looking at stacks of boxes has got to be the least inspiring thing in the entire world. My friend Alyssa, from college just wrote this FANTASTIC article for Trouve Magazine about getting back your creativity, and for me, finding or creating a define creative space just spoke to me in a very profound way. For now, it looks like I'll be going to a coffee shop, but I plan on defining a space in our new place in Bakersfield.
  5. Find your jam.
    This is my worship playlist. When I need to just be quiet by myself, or actually do the dishes, or box up a million things, or separate my clothes into Goodwill piles, this playlist keeps my focus on the big picture. I'm not doing this more no reason. God is moving Nate and I in a brand new and super exciting an wonderful direction. God is showing himself faithful to us! This playlist reminds me of that.

  • Pieces -Amanda Cook
  • Out of Hiding -Steffany Gretzinger
  • God I Look To You - Jenn Johnson 
  • King of my Heart- John and Sara Macmillan
  • Place of freedom- Highlands Worship
  • Jesus is alive- Fellowship Creative
  • Here-Kari Jobe
  • Come To The Altar- Elevation Worship
  • Make a way- Desperation Band
  • Refuge- Parrish 

Well friends, thats about it for me today. Hoping to have some outfit posts and more women in worship soon! Have a fantastic week!

Things We Don't See Coming: More Parrish Announcements.

Jul 2, 2016

Good morning everyone! It's July! Can you even believe it?! I have to mention it every single time, but I LOVE wake up to overcast chilly foggy Napa mornings. It gives my morning routine just a little something special. I don't know, my coffee tastes just a little better.

ANYWAYS! Thats not what I wanted to blog about! I don't normally blog on Saturdays, but today I have not so normal news... or maybe it is... I don't know.

I don't think we really understand our absolute inability to know the future. We make plans, and we think we might know how things are going to go down, but we literally have no idea. At this time last year we were really excited about Nate joining a band called Kutless. This past year with them has been nothing short of adventure, and we are looking forward to as many adventurous years as the Lord allows. But if you've followed the Parrish's on social media, you have seen that this past year has also handed us it's fair share of serious challenges (you can read about that here if you're curious). These past six months have forced Nate and I to really look at our life and seriously pray about what God has for us. For most of that time, I never once gave a single thought to the fact VCS may not be the plan for my entire life. I loved my kids, I loved my co-workers, I loved my principle, I loved my classroom, I loved literally everything, and I rocked at being a teacher. There was no thought of leaving. Until Nate said that we should put out a resume´, so thats what we did.

We thought we'd get some feedback, but we really had no idea that God would put Hingepoint Church in our path. Our first interview with them was weirdly great. We knew that this wasn't a chance meeting, we knew that God was up to something. Our three Skype interviews were more like conversations (I've never laughed so much in a job interiew). But the deal was sealed for us when we actually met them all in person. Hingepoint people were our people, and without even knowing it yet, in the hard times, God was actually molding us and making us into Hingepoint people.

So, the original idea in the beginning was that Nate would be "the" guy and I would help. BUT our actual position is a gift that only God could have given us. What sold us and confirmed in our mind that God was putting these pieces together, was that we were BOTH being hired. We were offered the position of Worship and Creative Arts Directors of Hingepoint Church on June 20th, and with happy and grateful hearts, we have accepted :)  Nate and I are for reals walking into our dream job. Our deepest desire forever has been to make music and lead worship together. yay!

Finally, the last piece of this CRAZY puzzle, is that Hingepoint is in Bakersfield CA. So while we are CRAZY excited, we are so so sad to leave our loved ones in Napa, Vacaville, and Sacramento. Bakersfield is about 4.5 hours away. We are embarking on a WHOLE NEW ADVENTURE. New people, new city, new house, new church, new everything. We would absolutely appreciate your prayers as we go forward into this next step. We leave Napa July 16th, and will be in Bakersfield early August.  These next few days will be such whirl wind. Packing, Getting dinners in with good friends, Kim Kardashian level ugly crying, so much to do...

Wow, guys. Who knew? WHO. KNEW?!  See you soon!

Women in Worship: Carly Voinski

Jun 22, 2016

I have to say, if you would have told me a few years ago that I would be asked to guest blog on the topic of being a woman in worship, I would have laughed in your face. Not because I didn’t love God, I did. Not because I wasn’t serving in a church, I was. But because I was left feeling that women in worship were somehow “less than”, that we weren’t as important, that we couldn’t be used by God to do as much as our counterparts and that frankly, no one cared. I am so thankful that Rachel asked me to write for you all, because it has reminded just how much God has worked in my life since that 

I’ve been serving on a worship team consistently for the past eight years. A lot can happen in eight years, and musically, everything can change in eight years. And so it has. I was around for the transition from hymns and 90’s praise band style to contemporary worship band. Not easy. I could get into the typical messiness of the transition for all involved but really, as a woman in worship, the effect on me is something I don’t think any of the men we serve with would understand.

I was a young wife at the time, a brand spanking new mom, and 22. I dressed “on trend”, I sang with a loud voice, and I chose not to stand still when I sang. I was a distraction. That’s the most appropriate word for how I was left to feel anyway. I was in a constant battle between being me and being who others thought I should be. Everyone had a comment. I was too dressy. I wasn’t dressy enough. I should wear flats. I should wear heels. I should wear baggier pants. I should look put together……..what?! 

By the way, no matter how much anyone says “it’s not personal”, it is. It’s very personal. The hurt goes deep. Here I was with both the heart and skill for this ministry, but all I was ever talked to about was how I could change myself into something someone else felt more comfortable with. And I was alone. There were zero other women to talk to about this. Most times I was the only woman at practices. My female peers didn’t know exactly what to say. The only difference between me and them was that they weren’t on a stage in front of hundreds of people each week. So, all of this to say that I was left feeling that the desire in my heart, to be used by God to lead others in worshipful response to his truth, would never be satisfied. 

There was something in me that kept going though. Looking back on it I see how the strength of the Lord carried me through the hurt, through the messiness. I think many young women would have quit and left “church” all together, living a life of hatred towards the church of their parent’s generation. I’ve seen it, our words can drastically pull a person away from God. Apparently God’s plan for me was different. His plan for me was to dig deep into understanding both who I am in Christ and what he has planned for me.

My confidence comes from Jesus, not myself. I know that I am a child of God. I am seen as righteous in his sight. I am forgiven, loved, and accepted. I am an heir of all things in heaven and will be higher than the angels. I have a strength that can do all things. I have a voice to praise God. I am a daughter of the High King and He has a plan for me. 

When God uses the people in your life to confirm his plans and promises, it’s amazing. I began to get asked to lead worship at other events. Not long after, the leader of the worship ministry had enough faith in me to talk to leadership and have me not just sing on a Sunday, but actually lead on a Sunday. I got connected to and began writing for their site and connecting to other worship leaders all over the world. I wasn’t alone anymore. I was living out the desire that had burned in my heart for so long. The lies I believed; that I needed to be someone else, that I could never be effective, that I wasn’t good enough, that people wouldn’t take me seriously; they’ve vanished. The people in my life are supportive and encouraging. The people with which I serve and do life with know my heart and who I am. I’m not hurting. I’ve actually been very comfortable. Now that’s a scary word; comfortable. Guess what? God heals hurt, and he stretches comfort. 

The church that eight years ago made an uncomfortable transition has grown, has been blessed, and has cast a vision to plant churches all over our county in New Jersey. The first church plant will launch in early 2017 in Toms River, New Jersey, where I will be the worship leader. Scary. Exciting. Terrifying. Fulfilling. 

On the days when I was so hurt I would cry to my husband, or worse, cry by myself, the idea of launching a new church as the worship leader couldn’t have even entered my imagination. I was focused on the circumstances around me and ultimately the real distraction, which was the enemy trying to make me quit. The idea that God would fulfill my desire in such a way was beyond comprehension for me. 

Worship women, stay strong. Be confident in who you are. I can testify that it’s true, when you are aligned with God your desires match up to his will. You are not alone. It is easier, now more than ever, to connect with other women in our situation. Be a mentor to someone younger. Be an encourager. Worship the Lord with the voice he has given you. Follow his lead and enjoy the ride.

A lot can happen in eight years. 

Bring it On: Meredith Kinleigh

Jun 15, 2016

Hey, everyone!  My name is Meredith Kinleigh.  *insert lengthy, choreographed handshake here*  I’m a new artist in the Christian Music scene, and I just completed my first tour!  I was out with Jason Crabb and Natasha Owens in February, and then Natasha and I jumped over to the Bring It On Tour with Kutless and 7eventh Time Down.  I couldn’t have imagined this adventure that was awaiting me.

I’ll tell you what…my blog title is easier said (or typed) than done, and I’ll tell you why.  If you were to ask me to describe myself as a character in a book, I would say “’Bilbo Baggins’ from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.”  Ok so, no, I don’t have hairy feet, and I’m considered fairly tall as a person.  I’m like Bilbo in the way that I enjoy the comforts of home.  I like my daily routines.  I enjoy knowing where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing “tomorrow.”  Know what I mean?  I’ve never considered myself a huge adventurer or risk-taker.  I dislike saying “goodbye” to who and what I hold dear, and I’m not a huge fan of major change.  The Lord played the role as “Gandalf” in my life and called me on this grand adventure that is seemingly quite the opposite life for a person like me.  

See, on tour, you have no idea what “tomorrow” will bring or look like; some days you may not even get to shower, which isn’t awesome.  You might as well throw routine out the window...along with your shampoo...(totally kidding).  Overall, we had sufficient shower privileges, but little things like that can really stretch you as a person.  Being 1 of 4 girls on a tour of 25 people was quite adventurous, I’d say.  It was definitely “the land of the bros,” but all the guys were great.  The tour pranks were kept very much at bay, which I was grateful for.  :)  I wasn’t used to staying up so late, so that took some getting used to.  Sleeping on a bunk in a moving bus is an adventure in itself.  And so is trying to curl your hair in a bathroom on a moving bus (I really think that should be added as an Olympic sport.)  Furthermore, it was not an easy thing to say goodbye to my family and church for a month and a half, nor saying goodbye to dear friends on tour made in a short period of time not knowing when/if we’d ever cross paths again.  If I could have it my way, I’d have best friends forever and ever who would all be across the street all the time.  Hahaha.  I also have never been a huge fan of “the spotlight.”  I am an extrovert, but I’m one of those introverted extroverts.  In other words, I deal with a lot of shyness.  Putting myself out there and putting on a show on the stage is something that I have really had to work on.  I have literally had to practice “getting outside of myself” because if I don’t feel super “in the zone” during a performance, I’m tempted to “revert to form,” which in my case is just standing there and singing.  Ok...all this banter to say…TOUR LIFE = GOODBYE COMFORT ZONE.  

As hard as it was and is at times, I’m so grateful that God decided to call me into this kind of ministry and gently pull me out of my coveted zone of comfort.  Looking back, I see how His plan was completely flawless.  He has taught me SO many things on this journey, but I’d like to share two specific ones with you all.  The first truth He has shown me is that this journey has been propelled SOLEY by His sufficient and unending grace.  I’ve realized that my own strength is nowhere to be found, and that is pretty wonderful.  Now, I’m not saying that people who are totally adventurous and made for the road are at a disadvantage to receiving God’s grace if they’re called to tour life.  Not in the slightest!  They rock and roll and receive His grace in other ways.  My experience, however, has been quite different.  
This is a picture that I saw on Facebook right before I left for tour that really inspired me:

Awwww snap!  So much truth in that simple picture!!  God often calls us to a purpose that we can’t imagine ourselves being able to fulfill, but that’s a beautiful thing because God’s grace is able to SHINE through our successes and victories.  We don’t have a single chance to give credit to our own abilities.  Stepping out of our comfort zone where life stays ordinary gives God the opportunity to do extraordinary things in our life; it gives Him a chance to “show off.”  

The second truth God has revealed to me during this journey is that not only does He want me to step out of my comfort zone for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of others.  Now, hang with me for a second…I’m gonna bunny trail really quick.  I’ll make it back to the original point, I promise.  :D  Whatever reason that we are paralyzed to our comfort zones (fear, anxiety, worry, pride, inflexibility, stubbornness) stems from selfishness…whew, that’s heavy, I know.  You might be thinking, “How could being afraid come from selfishness?”  Well, who are we looking at and focusing on if we’re not looking at Jesus?  Ourselves!  We think we know exactly what will happen if we step outside our comfort zone; we worry about silly things and expect the worst, not even considering what God can do.  When we’re afraid, we’re not trusting in Him; we’re putting Him in a box and limiting His power.  Oftentimes, we think WE know what’s better for us than what GOD has in store for us to help us grow and mature.  As I reflect on when I took the somewhat nervous leap into this career 2 years ago, I can say without a doubt that I am not the same person that I was.  I cannot put a price on what God has allowed me to experience.  There have been hardships and struggles along the way, yes, but there has been SO MUCH fulfillment, joy, and victory- things I doubt I would have experienced at my desk doing children’s ministry at my church in my little hometown (AKA “comfort zone”).  I have overcome so much since then that wouldn’t have been possible staying in that comfort zone.  So, the best way to overcome selfishness and all the mess that it brings is looking at Jesus and loving Him so much that we desire to please Him.  What has He called us to do?  He has called us to “make disciples of all nations.” (Matt. 28:19)  Don’t you think that the heart of God is to bring joy to His children and then send us out to tell others about that joy?  In other words, His perfect plan will be for the benefit of our lives AND for the benefit of others’ lives.  This is your cue to say “Yessss, she finally brought that bunny trail back to her point!” ;)  

All comfort zones have a limit.  You can only advance the Kingdom of God so far by staying in one place.  I have found that the best antidote for overcoming any negative feeling that would keep me from stepping outside of my comfort zone is realizing that I have been given life to pour it out.  And that comes with the best fulfillment we could ever desire.  By first dedicating OUR heart to the Lord, He will then give us HIS heart for others.  But do not think that God won’t take care of you while you’re constantly pouring out.  He will constantly be pouring into you.  God has promised that He will be with you always.  Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  And we all know that there is nothing but perfect peace, perfect joy, and perfect love in His presence.  

Thank you all so much for reading!!  I hope this post was a fun break in your day and encouraging to your heart.  I had so much fun reliving some of my recent tour adventures with you.  And a big thanks to Mrs. Rachel Parrish for allowing me the privilege of sharing on her blog.  <3  If you would like to see some pictures from and hear details about the Bring It On Tour and keep up with me during future adventures, go follow me on my social media pages  Instagram: meredithkinleigh; Facebook fan page: Meredith Kinleigh; Twitter: @mkinleigh; Blog:; Snapchat: mkinleighmusic.  Blessings and love to you guys!  -MKinleigh <3

Leaving Responsibility Behind

Jun 13, 2016

Hello everyone! So happy to blogging away on this foggy Napa valley morning. I feel like I really need to be soaking in every single one of these mornings, but more on that at a later time. I am finally on Summer vacation! Easter vacation was so early this year that it made the last 8 weeks of school absolutely unending. Normally we only have 4 or 5 weeks from easter to end, but wow... its amazing what those 3 weeks can do to a person. Anyways, how boring...sorry. But that's life right? Not always super cute and glamorous, and sometimes you don't wear make-up for two months, and you don't get your roots done on time.

Anyways, on to more fun stuff! Nate and I are beach people. We are California people to the core, and the past two summers didn't allow us much time to get to the beach, and it's looking like this summer might not be much different, so as we were laying bed Nate looked over and said "Do you wanna go to the beach tomorrow?" Music to my ears!

So here are some of our adventures. We went to Santa Cruz as we always do, and we definitely have our spots that we go to. "But first, coffee." That little buzz phrase just rings so true for me. We stopped by Verve Coffee (Nate isn't a coffee guy, but he insists we go to Verve every time. It's a major victory for me, but it really is that good). No pictures of coffee, but here are our gluten-donuts, that we probably the most delectable donuts ever (also, Nate posed for that picture on his own... He kills me with cuteness!).

Oh yeah, for those of you not following me on Insta, or Facebook (then how do you know this blog even exists?), I have pink hair now. I'm calling it my "Summer freedom" hair. If I've never bragged about my girl Amy James over at The Parlor in Napa, well, now I am. She is a master. I've been known to ask for some pretty crazy things on a whim... she's never phased. She's amazing, not to mention, she's a blast to be in the chair with. She's so fun and sweet, and adorable, and loves Jesus, and people. Seriously, She's a home-run. In fact, I've yet to meet a stylist at The Parlor I didn't want to be best friends with. They are all wonderful.
Parrish The Thought Blog
No waves today. I fact the beach was very very mellow, not a lot of people. I was able to read and soak up the 78 degree sun, and really just unwind. I'm currently reading Women of The Word by Jen Wilkins. It is seriously like sitting in coffee shop with someone telling you their journey of learning how to read scripture. It is just wonderful. Also, Matt Chandler writes the foreword, and even that is great. So, if you're looking for summer reading/study/practical advice on reading scripture, Women of the Word might be a good choice.
Parrish The Thought Blog
There are worse ways, and worse people to spend your day with.  I do love that man of mine. I've been recently reminded of how blessed I am to have someone to dream, and grow, and adventure with. It really was the most perfect day.
Parrish The Thought Blog

Stay tuned, more Women in Worship lined up, lot's of awesome news, it's going to be a great Summer! See you soon!

Women in Worship: Kaitlyn Hermening

Mar 23, 2016

My first experience on a worship team was at age fourteen. The days of braces, unattractive glasses, and major identity searching. It was an awkward time in life.

You should know that when I was three years old I was taken in to see a doctor about my extreme shyness. According to my parents, I would only speak to the two of them, my sister, and maybe a grandma. Further, my dreams of becoming a dancer were crushed when my mom removed me from ballet lessons (still bitter); I definitely pulled off the pink tutu but couldn’t manage any of the moves without desperately clinging to my teacher’s hand.
 ParrishTheThought- Women in Worship
The Lord has a sense of humor in how He shapes our paths. Little Kaitlyn wasn’t a likely candidate for leading any sort of group in something that called for public speaking, singing, or playing an instrument. At sixteen, however, I attended a youth worship conference, which exposed me to this specific ministry. Displayed before me was a team of musicians who used music as an avenue to connect with God’s heart, in response to Who He is – expressing their praise and worship through song. My heart was stirred deeply in ways I didn’t fully understand. I just knew there was a newfound passion for others to engage with God and experience His Presence, similarly to how I had then.

This was a definite turning point in my life. As my relationship with the Lord increased in love, I became a bolder and more passionate person. I finished out high school leading for my church youth group and went on my way to college to further study worship and music ministry. In the classroom, a lesson was emphasized repeatedly. It was one I’d already known experientially but was finally able to attach words to: Your private worship leads to your public worship.

I’ve heard that the way we view our earthly dad is generally associated with how we view our heavenly Father. Ephesians 3:14-15 mentions how God is the source for all fatherhood and family. The closest picture we may have to how we relate to Him can be modeled in our relationships to our dads. How do you identify?

Maybe your dad is present and engaged in your life. You feel secure as his daughter, well-loved and cherished. Maybe you appreciate him but feel disconnected - two distant lives in the same home. Maybe yours was absent or distracted – abusive, even, or a source of deep hurt. You might have learned valuable lessons from him and held him as a standard for all future relationships. Or, you might have learned from everything that was lacking, so that you would know what to avoid.

It’s only natural that you would approach God in a way that’s familiar to you, until the relationship develops in trust and healing. Do you feel the need to present to Him a cleaner, better, less needy version of yourself? Do you feel more like His employee versus His child? Are you aware of His care, leading you to have such freedom to tell Him anything and everything? Is your relationship with God a healthy one? Are you shame-ridden to even get close?

“Unreserved / Unrestrained / Your love is wild for me / It isn’t shy / It’s unashamed / Your love is proud to be seen with me / Your love’s not fractured / It’s not a troubled mind / Your love’s not passive / It’s never disengaged / Love keeps its promises / Your love’s not selfish / Your love is pure”
–“Pieces” by Amanda Cook

What made the difference for me was letting God tear down false thought patterns I had built about the gospel and letting Him plant HIS thoughts in my mind. Regardless of whether or not I may actually have the healthiest earthly relationships (as I am blessed to have a wonderful dad), my own sin and the reality of a fallen world can distort how I relate to my heavenly Father In the private is where I saw the unhealthy thoughts I really believed. When nobody else was around, I was left to confront those with the Lord and truly deal with them. I started learning His heart in the private.

If I am secure in my relationship, I will lead worship from that place of confidence. My journey has been one of blossoming into a woman who knows that her authority comes from truth. God has and is teaching me to shed away old shackles of fear and self-deprecation and shame. Instead, He clothes me in light and joy! I can live freely because my Father loves and chooses me. What perfect love He has for us that He restores us to wholeness and gives us abundant life!

My authority does not come from anything in and of myself (2nd Corinthians 3:4-6, 5:18-20). I can sing and declare truth because truth is not dependent upon me. He has validated me, and I can rest on His word.

Dearest daughter, live and lead unbound.

Kaitlyn hails from the great state of Virgina, and blogs with Worship Exposed, a team of Liberty University grads who love God, and others through worship.  If she and I didn't live on two opposite ends of the country, she'd be a regular coffee date pal for sure :) I just love her, and her heart for Jesus, and her heart for worship. If you, or someone you know would like to be a part of the Women in Worship column, please don't hesitate to email me at

Real Talk Tuesday: Learning The Value and The Responsibility of Saying No.

Mar 22, 2016

Good Morning!
It's cloudy here in Napa, but thats not gonna get my spirits down! I've got two days to go until I get to pick up Nate from the airport, two days until Batman vs Superman, and last but not least, two days till...Spring Break! Only good things coming my way :)
Anywho, this past week has been incredibly busy. If youre a teacher, you know, the Spring is like a speeding train that comes to an abrupt halt at the end of the year. It just gets crazier and crazier (in a good and worthwhile way of course!) We start planning for next year as soon as Winter break is over. Last week those plans started moving in place. I've been running the Chapel Leadership team auditions and interviews. Chapel Leadership is a hand selected course for the students who lead worship and run our Chapel services through videos and slide shows. What I would have given to be in a class like that in high school! Anyways, I've been interviewing and kids for the past week, and it's been so fun! It is so uplifting to hear the testimonies of our students, and to hear their hearts for the Lord and his School. Vacaville Christian Schools is totally God's School. 

There is a downside though...The band selection of the class caps at 15. We need to have enough students to fill two full bands, then we have 3 or 4  tech kids. I always have way more students audition than can be added to the course, and I have to tell them "No". One year I took on 21 students, and sacrificed the tech-team. It was crazy! I thought 5 students extra coudln't possibly be that big of a deal, but I was wrong. Too many people means not enough oppertunity. It was impossible to give kids the kind of attention and musical instruction they needed or deserved. Too many students meant that I was overhwhelmed and impatient. Were they all excellent musicians? Yes. Was I a good teacher to them? Let's say I did the very best I could... but they deserved better. 

 Saying no is not fun, but it has to be done. I have to remember, that these kids aren't mine. This class isn't mine. Chapel isn't mine. Nothing is mine. It's all God's, and there is so much more happening behind the scenes than my class. All of these students have lives of their own that the Lord is working in. All of these students have lessons that the Lord is teaching them. I have to remember that the times that I heard "no" in my life, were the times when my walk with Christ grew the most. Ultimately, isn't that point of Chapel Leadership? To help the students at Vacaville Christian Schools grow in their walks with Jesus?

We always find ourselves wanting to say "yes" to everyone. We agree to do so much, that eventually something falls through the cracks. Sometimes the something is you! For me, I always say yes because I hate letting people down. I hate the idea of someone thinking that I can't do something. It's ALWAYS rooted in pleasing others. I end up having so much (or so many people) on my plate that no one is getting the best that I can offer, and that includes God. 

Colossians 3:17 says this:  ...whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Are you like me? Are you guilty of caring way too much about what other people think? While so much of following Jesus is easier said than done, we as Christians can rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and His still, small voice. HE will give is the wisdom, reassurance, and the confidence to say "no". We actually will be able do everything He wants us to do, and it will bring Him glory. He will give us the power to do everything He wants us to do, not everything. There's a big difference, and when learn that we find power...and peace.

Following Our Shepherd

Mar 16, 2016

Hello everyone!
Happy Tuesday everyone! Is daylight savings kicking anyone else's butt? There was once a time when I could weather this season in about a day or two... but now, not so much. I do have to admit, I love the extra hours of sun. I guess that's the California girl in me. When I think about whether or not I could live in different parts of the country, that's the one thing that keeps me right where I am... the weather.

Anyways, speaking of weather, I just got back from sunny Ventura CA. Seriously, it was just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes you just need a brisk morning walk by yourself in the beach air and a cup of snobby coffee while you walk and pray. I was so refreshed. 
Parrish The Thought Blog
I've been thinking about what it looks like to take hold of your relationship with Christ, and the importance of clinging to the Word. I've been going through Psalm 119 in my quiet time with Jesus. I think I've shared this with you before, but King David is singing his praises about how much he loves the Word of God. In Bible 10, were discussing The Good Shepherd sermon in John 10.  Jesus comes right out of the gate warning people and telling them what thieves and robbers look like, and how they sneak in and steal the sheep. The scariest thing I think is that the thieves don't break in and take them, they pretend to be the shepherd so that the sheep just go willingly. They imitate the shepherd's individual and distinct call,  It's the only way to get a sheep to follow. Some sheep herders still use this method of sheep herding. Their sheep are so well trained that even in the midst of mixed flocks, they would naturally separate themselves if they heard the call of their shepherd.

Jesus has a distinct call. He has a distinct message, in fact it's so distinct, it's the only one of it's kind. Have you noticed how our culture is trying to either change that call, or even replace it all together? A call that claims to have more freedom than the grace of Jesus. A call that would actually say that His word is flawed, and even hateful.  This is what Jesus is warning us about. Jesus tells us that the sheep who know the voice of their shepherd won't even hear the call of a stranger or an impostor. They stay put, and are not tricked into following this false call. 

It's only been in the last few years, that I can say that I am confident in the voice of my Shepherd, Jesus. It's only been in the last few years that I really started to dive into His word and read what he really said. But let me tell you, it has been such a transforming few years. It's really amazing how sneaky the enemy is. Women of the Word, I encourage you to be steadfast in your devotion to the Word of God. I think it's David's devotion to the Lord, and his knowledge of the heart of God we can only find in scripture that inspires him to write Psalm 119...and then it's the same call that calls him back in his failure in Psalm 150. David is so confident in the Word. Even in our sin; no matter how great, we can rely on the call of grace and truth that Jesus so uniquely sends to us. Cling to your Bibles, Ladies. Let us be passionate about the words of Jesus. Let us lean on them and long for them like King David, so that we would be so familiar with our Shepherd's voice that we wouldn't even hear the voice of another.

I Have Confidence In Sunshine - Floral Day

Mar 10, 2016

Hello there!

Happy Thursday to you! Friday is almost here, you can do it. This week at school it's been spirit week for the Sadie Hawkins dance it's coming up. It's been so sweet watching my students ask one another to the dance. 

I don't normally go all out for spirit week, because the less I look like a teacher the more my students tend to act like wild animals. Teaching high school can already feel like working at a zoo where they let all the animals out, I don't need more of that. However! Today was floral day and in the spring can't get enough of florals! Not to mention, I'll never deny a sweet little dress with hot pink flowers and pockets! Also I got this flower crown as a bridesmaid in my brother and sister in law's wedding over the summer and I have been dying to wear it again. Surprisingly, the opportunity has never come about... Until today!

My mom commented that I was channeling Maria from the sound of music. Another pretty well-known fact about me is that I love Maria VonTrapp with my whole heart. There's never a time where I'm not trying to be just like her. In all seriousness, "I have confidence" is one of my favorite songs. I feel like that says a lot about me, and probably surprises no one.

Women in Worship: Molly Broomer

Mar 9, 2016

Hello there everyone! 
I cannot wait for you to read today's column. Molly's heart worship is so sweet and genuine. For more info about Molly and her ministry, you can check out her blog

I love being a woman. I love everything about it. I love femininity, I love relationships and all the lovey-dovey” stuff we get stereotyped for, I love the chick flicks and the flowers and the dresses and the makeup. I love the strength of a woman - the ability to overcome great obstacles, to fight fiercely for the ones she loves, to rise to any occasion, and to do it all with grace and beauty. It has saddened me to watch our society slowly, but surely, change the expectations on women. We are, in short, being forced to be just like men in order to feel equal and look equal and to be respected by our female peers. The message I feel I am receiving is this: If you dont want to be just like a man and have all the things a man has, youre failing as a woman. I know this has leeched into every area of life already - I fear it may leech into the worship/church leadership area of our lives as well. 

I am not a feminist in the traditional sense of the word. I am comfortable with the differences between men and women and I want to keep it that way. On the other hand, Im not a person who claims that women belong in the home and nowhere else.” I believe women have a lot to offer the Church and historically we have been called on to fill gaps and lead where there has been desperate need. I also believe that what a woman brings to the worship table, specifically, is really beautiful and unique. My dear desire for women everywhere is to experience the freedom to be exactly who God made us to be, as females and as leaders. It can be both. We can be both gentle and strong. We can be both relational and visionary. We can be both humble and confident. 

In my experiences of leading, both on and off the stage, the struggle has been coming to terms with who I am and what my gifts can offer to a group of people. We each, as individuals, have to learn to love our own gifts and personalities and to be confident in who God made us. We also have to come to terms with our weaknesses and address any issues that may arise because of them. On top of this, women have a little extra work to do. We need to be confident that we are where God has called us to be. We need to be aware of the environment God has put us in, the challenges that may exist with our co-workers and the volunteers under us, etc. We need to be sure we know who we are and what were about. I feel that because theres often already a hidden (or maybe not so hidden!) attitude about whether we are right for the job and whether we can handle it, women need that extra dose of confidence and grace under fire. This comes from being deeply rooted in the Vine, tethered to His will and drinking directly from the Source of life. Keep in mind, confidence and servant leadership are different than defensive, territorial guardianship of your position. It may feel like you need to be on guard with your fences up, but I promise - serving is better. Grace is better. Humility is better. It pays off in the end, even if only to save you from sinking to the level of those who would see you fail. 

Remember that while women have struggles and strengths unique to being female, our male counterparts have struggles and strengths as well. Neither side should be seeking to put the other down or become the better sex. Being a confident female leader should include blessing the men in your life, offering them respect whenever you can, and choosing to build them up. Men have a unique calling from the Lord and they also have unique weaknesses which make them vulnerable to the attacks of the Enemy (as do we!). You can choose to celebrate them for who they are, just as we so often wish to be celebrated! I believe if women are to be equal” in all eyes, it will be because we chose to be gracious, while not being ashamed or chased away from leadership. I believe it will be because we served well and built up those around us, not because we competed and beat them in every arena. That is not how the Kingdom of God will advance. That is not His design for the Church or for the sexes.  

On stage, I know that aspects of my femininity, the things about us that make us different from men - these are often the very things I rely on to be effective and these are the things that I know God uses so often to reach the congregation. When it comes to music, especially worship music, nothing can make me cry faster. I am relational and transparent - I love to share! And dont we all? Isnt that what makes our womens retreats and our girls-night-outs so great? I am also strong in what I believe and know is true. So I use that on stage! I share my heart, I share whats been true for me the past week, I encourage people to lean into Biblical truth, I cry so often, its become a running joke at our Church! But I wouldnt have it any other way, and neither would my people. They feel comfortable opening up with me, the feel comfortable being vulnerable in worship because I have gone before them. That is the job of any worship leader, and I feel as women we have so much to offer in this area! 

In wrapping up, I suppose my encouragement is this: be who you are. Be who God made you to be. Be strong & confident in your gifts and your talent and your leadership. Don't try to be a man, dont try to be like another leader you admire. Find what makes you you and go for it. Focus on loving God and the people around you, becoming more like Jesus each day and giving His love away to the world. I believe God created us male and female for a reason. I believe that together, we reflect the wholeness of a perfect God. You have a purpose - to reflect a beautiful part of who God is. Being a woman is a fierce and wonderful thing. We have so much to offer the worship world and the world at large. I am so blessed to be part of that.

Identity and Modern Womanhood

Mar 2, 2016

Happy Wednesday to you all! I hope your week is going well thus far. Today started a little sad for me, Nate left for tour yesterday, but he'll be back right before Spring Break, so that's a good thing. Also, school is so crazy, I'm able to find distraction and comfort at work. I know Nate loves being on tour, and he is living out his dream, so that makes it a little easier too.

Anyways, for the past few weeks I've been super burdened to talk about this subject, but I've had a hard time putting it on paper (or screen). Do things sometimes bother you, but you can't really put your finger on it? That's how I've been since seeing the previews for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, How to be Single, and The Boss. I wasn't mad about what I was seeing, I was sad.  During the course of these movie previews My heart broke as I watched our mainstream media send a very clear message: Gentleness and Modesty are equal to weakness or backwards thinking, and what you want is all that matters. There are all these preconceived ideas what modern women should be doing. I'm not so sure.

"If you don't decide who you are the world will do it for you." This is a saying I discuss in my high school Bible class. I think applies to all people of any age.What is the world turning us women into? Does strong womanhood and sense of self mean that you are entitled, that you have the right, to indulge your every whim even or especially at the expense of others? I think generally, the World's reply might be "yes" and it breaks my heart. I don't bring this up to condemn, I just want to challenge what modern womanhood looks like. Gentleness, Kindness, Modesty (not having to do with how much our little you wear), are not synonymous with weakness, or lameness. I couldn't think of  a smarter sounding word.

If we look to the Word, the entire book of Ecclesiastes shows that no excess of indulgence will ever truly fulfill us. We won't find who we are or who we want to be by serving ourselves only, we will only find loneliness. Ladies, there are Godly and courageous women all over our Bible. Being Gentle or Modest does not mean we sit quietly and just let the world go by. By no means!Look at Deborah in Judges! When the king is too cowardly to fight for the God of Israel in Battle, she suits up!  Esther, when she realizes her people are in danger of mass genocide, she goes to the king expecting to be killed, but having great faith that Lord the will see her through. Ruth, is a Moabite, but she is loyal, and sticks with Naomi to the very end, eventually marrying Boaz, the kinsman's redeemer and is the grandmother of King David. Mary is a teenage girl engaged to be married and the Lord gives her the Job of being the mother to the Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, knowing he is going to be the Savior but having no clue how it would all go down. Not to mention being pregnant with baby that's not Joseph's. Courageous, Gentle, Kind, Modest. Strong.

What do you think? Do you see this trend growing? Am I overly sensitive? Am I backwards? It's all food for thought, but I would love to hear what you think.

See you soon!

Women In Worship: Rachel Storment

Feb 24, 2016

I have been the worship pastor at my church for a little over two years now with a predominantly male volunteer and staff base. Previous to being the worship pastor  at Destiny Christian Church in Rocklin, CA, I served as an associate worship pastor, a college group worship leader, and before that. a worship intern (basically, I served as the stage vacuumer, coffee runner, and music organizer.) Worship ministry has been a huge part of my life for a little over 8 years now, so as I look back on my journey as a woman in worship ministry from intern to  worship pastor, I have reflected on some of the struggles and lessons learned along the way:

1.    I dont have anything to prove.

            This was a HUGE struggle for me. When I moved away to college, I was struck for the first time how much assumption was placed into the idea that women were musically incompetent. As someone who had studied music her entire life, you can imagine my struggle when I walked into settings where my competence was questioned  MERELY because of my gender; it was a grace-growing opportunity to learn how to navigate having a tough skin but maintaining a tender spirit, not lashing out in anger, but instead approaching the situation with a meek and gentle demeanor. I did not let people walk all over me, or speak down to me, but I also had to learn that I am accountable to Christ alone: I have nothing to prove. I am responsible to be a good steward of the gifts God has given me, lead in GRACE, and walk out a life of integrity, love, peace, and gentleness.

2. Being a woman does not give me a free passto be ignorant of Theology.
            Women tend to be very emotionally-charged beingswe are very in-touch with who we are, and the world around us. We feel very deeply, and tend to base our reality(or what we perceive to be the reality of God) on how we are feeling. Now dont get me wrongour feelings and emotional intimacy with the world around us is an amazing GIFT from God. However, if feelingsare not coupled with proper orthodoxy, we can easily be led astray.  The Scriptures say to TEST all things (including our own emotions or even perceptions of what we believe to be the voiceof the Holy Spirit) and approve it by the Scriptures  before accepting it as Gods Truth.   (1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 4:1). It is dangerous territory to NOT know the Word, and yet attempt to lead people into the Presence of God. If we do not KNOW God, or the Christian perspective of the world, how are we expected to lead people in the charge of pursuing right relationship with Him? Study the Word, and KNOW the God you serve.

3. Do not isolate yourself from other women, and do not forget to INVEST in the Kingdom.

            Being that most worship teams are predominantly male, it is so easy as a female worship leader (or worship pastor) to begin to just spend time with the guysand forget to invest in the other females around you. This can happen for many reasons, the most common being jealousy. If you are the ONLY female on your team, you can begin to feel extremely territorial: You feel like you are so incredibly neededone of a kind, even! This can lead to you shutting out opportunities for other women to become involved in worship ministry. Oftentimes, you will nit-pick other femalesabilities simply because you are insecure about your place in ministry. Continue to remind yourself of this not-so-fun fact: YOU ARE NOT INDISPENSABLE (nor SHOULD you be.) YOU are replaceable. It is unhealthy to create an environment that rises and falls solely around your presence.
            As leaders, we need to be investing in other leadersas FEMALES, we need to be investing, mentoring, and walking with OTHER females. We also need to remember to ALWAYS have people in our lives who have the permission to speak into us, hold us accountable, and challenge us. It would be my greatest downfall as a leader to have a  ministry which was dependent solely on my own abilities: I should continuously be multiplying and developing those around me.

4. It is less about Being a Woman in Ministryand MORE about Being a Christ-Follower
            We can spend so much time getting hung up on what it meansto be a woman in ministry that we forget our ultimate calling in life: To love God, love others, serve Him faithfully, and live a life WORHTY of the calling marked out for us. Spend time in the Word. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Surround yourself with people who hold you accountable. Be a good steward. KNOW who God created you to be. and then be that person on PURPOSE. 

Be sure to follow Rachel's journey on Instagram. Make sure you get over to iTunes and download Destiny Christian Church's new EP Our Great King. My favorite song is Halleluiah, What A Savior. Rachel adds a modern touch to a song I already love so dearly. Make sure you give it a listen! 

Also! If you are a woman in worship ministry, I would to love to share your heart and perspective! If that sounds like something you would be interested in, please email me at 

See you soon!
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