My New Favorite Outfit

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Gift Giving with Gordmans

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, I know we did. Today we'll be out doing a bit of shopping and my guess is a lot of you will probably be doing the same thing.  Today I'm going to share with you some gift ideas I have for my family that I found on a recent trip to Gordmans. The thing that is great about Gordmans is they carry brands we all recognize, they just are able to offer them at a fraction of the price.  I was really impressed by the things I found!  

Today they also have a bunch of Black Friday deals, so if you're out an about, you should definitely check them out.

One of the first things I saw that I knew would be great for my family were all the great holiday snacks, like these below from Harry and David and Ghirardelli.  These will make awesome stocking stuffers and my Dad is really difficult to buy for, but snacks always put a smile on his face.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Give Thanks

As we prepare for Thanksgiving I wanted to share with you all a verse that hit home with me recently.  It's 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and it reads, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

It can be so easily to take for granted how blessed we really are. I know I'm guilty of making a mountain out of a mole hill. Take for example the process of doing my morning devotions.  I get the coffee ready and set the delay timer the night before, so not to wake anyone up by clanging around in the kitchen at 5:30. I tip toe into the kitchen, pour my hot cup of deliciousness, then sneak down to basement with my iPad and Bible in hand. I settle down and just begin to read when I hear the jingle of our dogs tags and her nails across our wood floor.  Every morning. I know it's going to happen and I still get frustrated. 

I then have to stop what I'm doing, go let her out, feed her, and pray that the ruckus doesn't wake Grant up.  I sure am not "rejoicing always." 

But, it's all about perspective.  Once the dog has been out and eaten she doesn't go back to bed, she comes and snuggles next to me on the couch.  She just wants to spend time with me.  That's worth rejoicing about.  

Then there's the "pray without ceasing" part.  I think God wants to be on our speed dial.  He wants a relationship with us.  He wants us to "call him up" like we do our best friend, our spouse, our mom. Just to talk. He wants us to share the good, the bad, and the ugly with him.  Let's face it, He already knows, He just wants to hear it from us.  Praying doesn't have to be some big fancy presentation.  

Mathew 6: 7-8 says "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. For your Father knows what you need before you ask him..." God just wants to hear from us.

Then lastly: "give thanks in all circumstances." That, my friends, is a doozy. All circumstances, not just the good ones.  This reminds me of a sermon I heard recently at church in reference to the life of Joseph in Genesis 37-50.  To sum in up, God came to Joseph and told him about the life He'd called him into and also revealed the power he'd later have over Egypt. 

Just because God called him didn't mean he was going to have an easy life. Before ultimately becoming the king of Egypt his jealous brothers wanted to kill him, but decided to sell him into slavery.  He was bought by a wealthy family, but would not sleep with the woman of the house, then ended up in jail because of a he said/she said battle. 

Do you think it would be easy to "give thanks in these circumstances?" I think many would turn and run from God, but Joseph did not.  He remained faithful to God and it says time and time again throughout the story of Joseph's life that God was with him.

I think it can be easy to assume that once you choose to trust God life will be easy, but that's not usually the case.  We should "give thanks in all circumstances," because every step we take when we're in relationship with God takes us one step closer to who he calls us to be.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Wear: A Fur Vest

My favorite purchase this fall has to be this faux fur vest from Target. I've already worn it on the blog three times and am pretty sure it's going to be on constant rotation this fall.

1 / 2 / 3

I found some great inspiration on Pinterest, of course, that I thought I'd share with you all today. Sources are down below:


1 / 2 / 3 / 4


Monday, November 24, 2014

Speak Life

I shared with you all a while ago that we are doing Passion Projects at school.  Basically, the kids are able to pick any topic they are passionate about and spend one hour a week at school learning about it. Then, at the end of third quarter the kids will share what they learned, create something, etc.  I'm really excited about it and the kids are too.  When I was researching passion projects I came across this video, I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch it, it's one of the most powerful things I've seen in a long time.

        

The basic premise is that Sulivan was picked on and instead of retaliating he chose to "Speak Life" to others around him who were also being picked on, left out, depressed, etc.  What does it mean to "Speak Life" you might ask?  It's based on this song by Toby Mac.  Here are a few of the lyrics:

Some days, life feels perfect.
Other days it just ain't workin.
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between.

Its crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak life...

Our words have power and Sullivan, the boy in the above video, realized that.  He made it his mission to "Speak Life" to those around him, instead of hate.....and the impact was overwhelming. It's hard for me to explain how moved I am by his actions. It really makes me step back and think about what I do and don't say. As a Christian I am called to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind AND love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27.

But. Do I really do that.  My "neighbor" isn't just literally my next-door neighbor, who would would be easy to love, they are amazing- but my neighbor is everyone.  

It's that co-worker I steer clear off because I don't feel like hearing them complain- But what if I would "speak life" to them, maybe they'd want to complain a little less.

It's that person at the daycare that I'm not sure knows what's best for my son- But what if I chose to "speak life" and encouraged her, maybe she'd like her job more and be able to better help my son too.

It's that student that seems to think they'll disappear if they quick talking- But what if I chose to "speak life," maybe they just don't feel like they're being heard-my ear could be invaluable.

I am humbled and inspired by the boy above.  I want to "speak life" to those around me, and not for me, but for them.  I challenge you today to to re-define your definition of neighbor.  You never know how one kind word could change a person's day.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preparing for Black Friday


Time is just flying everyone!  It's just a few days until Thanksgiving.  Brian and I are keeping it low key this year and just celebrating as a family at home. After a turkey induced coma sleep it'll be Black Friday.  I don't know about you, but I think it's such a great feeling to snag up some good deals on Black Friday.

We always like to look through all the ads in Thursday's paper and Brian likes to hunt down Black Friday deals on the internet.  We don't have a big wish list this year, but we are hoping to score a deal on a flat screen for our bedroom.  I think we'll be in luck because Office Max & Office Depot, who are now one company, have some great Black Friday deals that are actually starting early!  We're also wanting to get Grant his own tablet, as he's always wanting to use mine, and Office Max & Office Depot has some great deals on those too!

Office Max & Office Depot are offering their lowest prices ever, so it's a great time to take advance of the deals! They also put together this great graphic showing ways for you to Strategize, Save, and Survive Black Friday!


       Once you're done with your shopping and you need a break from thinking about Black Friday you should Elf Yourself, elf your friends, elf your boss,  or even elf your dog! Don't forget to download "Elf Yourself" on your Smart Phone today!

      I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

      Thursday, November 20, 2014

      Be Awesome to Somebody

      I'll admit it, I'm guilty.  I can spend the entire day so focused on my own #firstworldproblems that I don't stop to think about what other's are going though. I can take for granted all the blessings I have and focus on my own plans, my own agenda, my own priorities. This attitude keeps me from being my best and it impacts those around me too.

      This makes me think of this great shirt I'm wearing today from Le Motto which reads "Be Awesome to Somebody." It's powerful stuff, and this is what Le Motto is all about: doing good and realizing that words have power.

      What if I walked around each day planning to "Be Awesome to Somebody?" You can guarantee it would not only impact me and my attitude and the people around me too. As I wear this to school today, I'm sure my students will notice it too. As teenagers it's important they let the idea or being awesome to somebody roll around in their minds. Many students are at the receiving end of hurtful words each day and Le Motto recognizes that, and a portion of their sales go to anti-bullying organizations, which is so cool.

      Words have power and I love how Le Motto is choosing to create awesome products that focus on that. Life is short, we should definitely be purposeful in how we spend it and the words we use.

      Have you entered my giveaway to White Plum here yet?

      Wednesday, November 19, 2014

      Family Time with Hanes


      Spending time together as a family is so important, as we all know.  Brian and I only get a few hours a day together with Grant, and it's important we make the most of the time.  As it continues to get colder outside it's important to find ways to have fun inside and bundle up to keep warm too.  Hanes has the perfect fleeces and activewear to keep as cozy while we hang out as a family.

      One of the things we love to do is play games together. Superhero Chutes and Ladders is a big hit at our house, and Grant and I were comfy and cozy Hanes hoodies.  Grant loves his hoodie, and I love the hoodie they sent me too. They also sent me this fleece sweatshirt too, and I love the feminine fit and it's not oversized or bulky, which I like.   The quality is great too. Grant can be pretty hard on his clothes and I feel his hoodie is great quality and will definitely make it though winter.  All the pieces were also tag less, which is great, because Grant is not a fan of tags on his clothes.

      Brian also loves this hoodie they sent, and they also sent him this sweatshirt and this zip up hoodie too. They fit him well and come in a variety of colors, which it perfect too. Although he'll take part in board games with us, he loves to wrestle around with Grant and have Nerf wars, and his sweatshirts from Hanes are perfect for that.

      Grant's just a little bit excited about the game....

      Tuesday, November 18, 2014

      Doing it All

      In the past twenty four hours I have heard multiple women in my life say how overwhelmed they feel.  If they're being a good teacher, then they go home and are exhausted and they don't think they can be a good wife and mom.

      I get this. There are days I come home and I am more than happy to let Grant stay on the iPad for a bit to long while I race furiously around the house doing things that "have" to be done.

      Just one more load of laundry.

      Load and unload the dishwasher.

      What's for dinner?  Ah, man, I forgot to thaw out meat. Tomato soup and grilled cheese it is. 

      I rush and rush and rush. I'm tired, I'm spent. I've already spent eight hours engaging with a herd of 7th graders and I worry that the few hours I have with family I'm not always "present" because I'm tired or trying to get things done around the house.

      I worry I don't play enough with Grant. I worry I don't do enough to make Brian feel special.  I worry that the house isn't picked up and, man, that toothpaste in the sink. Gross.  Even as I write this the list of to-dos keeps going in my head.

      As women we've all got about five-seven balls we're juggling in the air all at one time. We're scared if we let one ball fall, they'll all fall. It's exhausting.  Being perfect isn't possible, so why do we set the bar at perfection then feel like a failure when we can't hit the mark?

      In the midst of trying to do it all, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. We can get anxious and overwhelmed.

      But, I'm reminded in Psalm 46:10 to "Be still and know I am God." God's got me covered, he's got you covered too.  

      He put me and you in this very place for a purpose.  For a reason.  He believes in us. "Be still and know I am God." 

      I might not be perfect, I might not be super-mom, I might not be at my best each day, but God still loves me-and you-anyway.

      So when I'm worried about my list of to-do's and my fears that I'm not at my best with my family I'm called to" Cast all my anxiety on him because he cares for me." (1Peter 5:7).

      Our families know we're trying, they know we love them, they know we care.



      Now about my clothes. Let's talk about this outfit for minute, it's probably one of my favorite to date. I can't get enough of this vest and this skirt, saying they were on heavy rotation would be an understatement.

      Monday, November 17, 2014

      White Plum Giveaway

      Life is all about balancing work, play, and family time. White Plum offers amazing pieces at great prices to help me dress for all these moments in my life. Today I'm excited to share some of my favorite pieces with you, keep reading for an awesome giveaway too!

      When I'm at school I want to look as great as I feel, and this blouse from White Plum is the perfect addition to my wardrobe this fall.  I recently wore this outfit to school and the horse shoe design is the cutest! The length is great and the details are perfection!

      Sunday, November 16, 2014

      Campus Books and Operation Smile


      I can't believe it's only a month until Christmas break, seriously time is flying at school.  While I'm still in busy teaching mode, college students are thinking about finals and preparing for new classes starting after Christmas. That being said, Campus Book Rentals has asked me to share with you some great information about how to save money on textbooks as well as a great way to help others with Operation Smile.

      Buying books for college or your master's degree isn't fun and it can be pretty expensive too.  As you all know, I'm teaching myself now and have a master's as well, but many of my co-workers are working on their master's degrees, and I hear them complain about the cost of textbooks.  That's where Campus Book Rentals comes in.  They offer:

      -prices that are 40-90% off of the bookstore price
      -free shipping both ways
      -you can highlight in the textbooks
      -you can chose how long you need the book