My New Favorite Outfit

Thursday, December 18, 2014

God Chose Jesus

I'm continuing my series called "God Chose.." by sharing today how God chose Jesus. Luke 2:11 states to the shepherds "Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord." But why Jesus?
Before Jesus came, we lived in a world of rules, specifically the 10 Commandments, and to get to heaven and be with God you had to follow all of them to the letter of the law. If you didn't, you had to offer burnt offerings to ask God for forgiveness.  This had to be exhausting because, let's face it, we all break at least one of these commandments each day. Let's take a peek:
  1. You shall have no other gods before Me. - Hmm I'm pretty sure I've made social media a much bigger priority than it should be.
  2. You shall not make idols. -How much time do I spend outfit planning????
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. -Not really my thing, but OMG is said in our society like crazy..
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. -Yes, I got to church to worship, but much of the afternoon is spent watching Netflix....
  5. Honor your father and your mother. -This was definitely not a strength of mine as a teenager...
  6. You shall not murder.- Ok, I'm good her, but Jesus later said hate equates to murder, and I have to admit I've been guilty of these feelings from one time to another.
  7. You shall not commit adultery. -Ok, good here too, but later Jesus said even looking to someone with lust is the same as adultery. Yikes.
  8. You shall not steal. -Feeling pretty good here now, but I do remember two specific times I did this as a child.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. -This means not to lie...Yep, guilty of this.
  10. You shall not covet. -Pinterest and Instagram...meep.
Based on these commandments I have earned a spot with my name on it in Hell.  That's why God sent Jesus.

Everyone needs salvation from Jesus because we've all sinned. Romans 3:23 says: "We have all fallen short of the glory of God."

The price of sin is death. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is life though Jesus Christ our Lord."

Jesus died for our sins and paid the price for our death. Romans 5:8 says: "But God showed his great love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."

We receive salvation and eternal life though Jesus. Romans 10:9-10, and 13 says:
 "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved ... For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Salvation through Jesus brings use into peace and relationship with God. Romans 8:38-39 says: "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

That's why Jesus came. God loves us and wants us to be with him in heaven, so he made a way. By believing in Jesus we are saved my grace though faith,- and this is not from ourselves, but a gift of God. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
I know there was a lot of information here today. Maybe this is all information you knew, but maybe you have questions. email me and I'll do my best to help!


I picked up this dress for 40% off on black Friday from Target and originally was planning to wear it with my black vest, but it felt clunky, so I decided to keep it simple and wear it with my black tights and booties.  Sometimes easy is best. : )

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

God Chose the Wise Men

Today I'm continuing my series leading up to Christmas called, "God Chose.."  I've shared with you in past posts how God chose Mary, Joseph, the stable, and the shepherds, and today I'm going to share how God chose the wise men.

I thought I'd start by sharing a little bit about what it really means when these men were referred to as "wise men," also known as the "magi." These men were actually part of a religion that focused on astrology and regarded that as a science. They believed in magic as well; these men were not Jewish or followers of God originally.  So why did God chose them?

Here's the story told in Mathew 2:

"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
  “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
  Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."
There's a lot to talk about in regards to this story.  First, it was a star that led the wise men to Jesus. God used their religion to bring them to the Savior.  I think there's a lot of power in that. God can use anyone,  anything, or situation to bring us to Him. God is bigger.
The wise men told King Herod, who was not at all pleased about this. See, many Jewish people of the day assumed when the Savior would be born, he'd be an earthly king, not a heavenly one. The last thing Herod wanted was someone to take his throne.  
When they found Jesus (which was actually not the night he was born, it was probably when he was a toddler; time isn't always noted when story of Jesus' birth is shared), the wise men fell down and worshiped him.  Although they had their original beliefs in magic and astrology, they were able to recognize the one true God and Savior.  I feel like this shows the power that God has to work in anyone's life. 
When they brought the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is a symbol of kingship on earth: Jesus. Frankincense is a symbol of deity: God on earth, and myrrh is a symbol of death: Jesus' death on the cross. I'm not sure the wise men knew the symbolism behind their gifts, but I'm sure God did, and I think that's pretty cool.
The wise men were changed because of Jesus, and I think that's why God chose them. It shows the power he has to move in everyone's lives. No matter where they are, what they've done, how they are living their lives, God can shine through and change them, and you for the better. 


On black Friday I picked up this camouflage sweater from Target for 40% off and I was super excited because I'd been wanting one, but couldn't seem to find what I wanted for a great price. I decided to pair it with my favorite black pants, boots and vest.  This combo has definitely a go-to one this season.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life Lately

Today I thought I'd share some things about life lately that I've shared on Instagram


1. Grant and I made this gingerbread house over the weekend and it was super easy and fun.  I was in charge of icing and Grant was in charge of decorations. : )
2. I got together with my small group and we decorated oranges with cloves to add the best holiday scents to our home, plus they are so cute!
3.  I love looking at the tree lit up in the evening, just another week (ish) and Christmas will be here!
4.  I recently got to sing in our church choir back up to Steven Curtis Chapman.  Two of my closest friends sang along with me and it was so much fun!  Brandon Heath was there too for the concerts, it was such a treat!
5.  Our Christmas cards came and have successfully been sent out.  This is the first time we've done "professional" prints (other than JCP) since Grant was born.  It was so fun and she did such a great job!
6. We've been having fun with Mr. Jingles, our "elf on the shelf." One day he dressed up like Spider-man and Grant could not get enough of it! I'm hoping Pinterest has enough idea left to get me through until Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

God Chose the Shepherds

Last week I starting a series leading up to Christmas title, "God Chose..." I shared how God chose Mary, Joseph, and the stable for Jesus' birth.  Today I'm going to share how God chose the shepherds.  Luke 2:8-20 can be seen narrated in the video below by Linus:

                           

An angel appeared to shepherds and shared the savior's birth with them, then they went quickly to Bethlehem to find Jesus and worship him.  Those of us familiar with the Christmas story have heard about the shepherds many times, and they have a fitting spot in nativity sets on display too, but have you ever considered why God chose the shepherds?

Here's a little background on what it meant to be a shepherd during the time around Jesus' birth: Many shepherds lived like nomads.  They had no property or home and spent their time out in the fields taking care of the sheep.  They weren't the lowest on the totem pole, but these men didn't own the sheep, they were hired by the owners of the sheep to tend to them.  Their job was very important,  but didn't earn them much respect.  They tended to the sheep no matter the weather and slept with the sheep in "sheepfolds" which were little stone-walled where they kept the sheep at night with the shepherds literally acting as the doorway to keep the sheep in and the predators out.  There was nothing glamorous about this job. So why did God choose them?

Jesus came to be be a shepherd. In John 10: 11 Jesus states, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. "  Shepherds can relate to Jesus' words, they would leave their flock to find the one sheep that had wandered off.  The sheep also knew the shepherds voice and came when he called.  The shepherds realized the need for a savior and protector, as that's what they really were to their sheep.

Just like Mary and Joseph came from humble beginnings and Jesus was born in a stable, these shepherds weren't that different from them either.  The angels came to the people, the shepherds, because after all that's who Jesus came to save- all of us.



I recently learned my lesson about buying look a-likes from shops online.  I found an "inspired" J.Crew excursion vest from a online boutique recently.  I picked it up for $35 shipped and I was pretty impressed, because it was a 50% sale and sold for double that at full price.  Then, it arrived.  It was awful.  The zipper hardly zipped and was mis-sewn and was "wiggly" the whole way up.  I'm still working on getting a Paypal refund. : (  Then, I saw that Old Navy had this vest and I was able to pick it up for $20.  It may be a look a-like to the J.Crew and not the real thing, but it's well made and a brand I can trust.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

God Chose the Stable

Today I'm continuing my series leading up to Christmas called "God Chose..." Earlier this week I shared how God chose Mary and Joseph and today I'm going to chose how God chose the stable. It's a pretty unlikely place for the Son of God to be born, so I wanted to dig into it a bit.

Luke 2: 1-7 shares the story of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.  This was actually prophesied nearly 700 years earlier in Micah 5:2. I personally find prophesy like this pretty amazing.  Mary and Joseph ended up in Bethlehem because there was census and everyone needed to return to ancestors home, and Joseph was from the line of David, which was actually another prophecy that was fulfilled from Jeremiah 23:5.

Growing up I always thought it was so strange that Jesus was basically born in a barn.  I remember thinking it was kind that the innkeeper let them stay in the stable, but as an adult I think it's so interesting that God chose the stable as the birthplace for the Savior of the world.

It seems to me that God is making a point that it doesn't matter if you come from humble beginnings, you can still be extraordinary.  Mathew 6:20 comes to mind too.  Years later Jesus stated "But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven..." we can be so focused on "stuff" we sometimes fail to focus on the things that matter.  How we treat people matters, but the "stuff" we accumulate doesn't.

I'm also reminded of something else Jesus said years later in Mathew 6: 25-34 in regards to worrying about tomorrow.  He mentions the birds in the air and the flowers in the field; God takes care of them, so how much more will he take care of us?  It all goes back to the stable, God took care of Mary and Joseph; there was a place for Jesus to be born. God chose the stable.


So, I've already worn this outfit three times.  I'm an obsessive outfit repeater when I wear something I really like. Last year I dragged my feet about buying a pair of brown riding boots.  I already had some great Born ones with a heel, so I was having a hard time justifying flats.  Then I won that DSW contest and got to pick these beauties out for free...I've been wearing them almost daily.  I'm also super crazy about this jeweled sweatshirt from Gordmans.  I had my eye on a few last year, but never bought one....I don't want to take this one off!  Add in the best black pants ever and I'm one happy girl.  I really want them in every color, when it gets cold I don't even want to think about skirts, these are definitely my go-to pants. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

God Chose Joseph

On Monday I started a series here leading up to Christmas titled, "God Chose..." I shared how God chose Mary and today I'm going to spend some time sharing how God chose Joseph.

Here's a little background on Joseph for you from Mathew 1: 18-24. He was engaged to Mary and found out she was pregnant.  His first assumption was that she had cheated on him.  Joseph was a man who was faithful to the law, however, had a mind to divorce her quietly.

I wondered what "faithful to the law meant" and found though study that it was common to stone a woman to death for cheating.  Joseph knew this, but did not want this fate for her.  God chose a man who was kind, honoring, and who didn't wish harm on another person.  I feel like this speaks volumes to who we should be as well, even when "wronged," as Joseph assumed he was, he didn't try to be vengeful. He was willing to walk away, and I'm assuming forgive what he thought were Mary's indiscretions.  

I think it can be so easy to want to get back at someone who has hurt you, to retaliate, to "get even," but that's not what God calls us to do.  During Jesus' ministry he taught people to turn the other cheek.  Don't repay wrong, with wrong. That was Jesus' and God's desire, and it turned out that was the character of Joseph too.

Before Joseph divorced Mary an angel came to him in a dream and said “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Yep, probably a pretty good reason to trust God here.  God was Jesus' heavenly father, but he chose Joseph to be his earthy one.  Joseph's character in regards to Mary shows the kind of man he was and the type of person we should strive to be as well.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Save Vs. Splurge

There are a few trends on my radar right now that I love, but the price isn't always right, so I went on the hunt to find some affordable options.  I'm loving Sorel boots, but I'm not sure I'm willing to invest in the price tag, however these boots from Target are super cute and the price is a third of the Sorel boot.  I'm also loving everything Fair Isle and J.Crew has some amazing pieces, but Target also has some great Fair Isle affordable options, as does Old Navy.  The other things I'm loving right now is the buffalo check trend, specifically the J.Crew vest version, however J.Crew Factory has a more affordable option (on sale) and that 's right up my alley.

Save Vs. Spurge


Monday, December 8, 2014

God Chose Mary


In this time leading up to Christmas I'd like to share a series with you called "God Chose..." I heard the Christmas story and birth of Jesus hundreds of times growing up, but it wasn't until I was a Christian that it really began to sink in, and I began to learn more about the people God chose as the birth of Jesus unfolds.

Today I want to start by sharing Mary, Jesus' mother with you.  Here's a little background on Mary (Luke 1: 26-35):  She was a teenager, estimated at 13-14 years old based on the culture of the day, engaged to be married to Joseph, and a virgin.  An angel came to her and said the following: 

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary's replies, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” This response obviously makes sense. This has never before happened, as it will never happen again either.

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God."

This would obviously be a lot to take in. Things we should note though. Mary had found favor with God. This teenage, who wasn't rich, wasn't a queen, wasn't married, and probably wasn't extraordinary in the average person's eyes found favor with God.  He knew her heart, He saw her for who she truly was, and He saw someone worthy of bearing the Son of God. Whoa.  

After this Mary goes to a Elizabeth (who was a cousin) and tells her the news. Here is her response from Luke 1: 46-55:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
 And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
 He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
 he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
 He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Mary exalted God. She was not scared about what her fiance' would say or what the townspeople would say about what would look like a scandal to the outside world.  Now, the Jewish people had been waiting for their Savior for generations, as foretold in the book of Isaiah, and now He was coming.  Mary believed God's truth and this miracle as well. 


I think it can be easy to tell ourselves that we're not good enough, or we don't have value, or how could God chose me, but God sees our hearts, just as he saw Mary's.  He finds value in us, and can pick the post unlikely or people to accomplish the most extraordinary things.  


As for my outfit, my 1993 self is pretty excited open button-downs are cool again.  Exchange these booties for Doc Martens and you have a pretty clear image of my sophomore in high school self. I really love this buffalo check shirt and it's taking all my willpower not to pick up this vest too. However, we all know I need another vest like a hole in the head. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Getting Ready for Christmas

This year we decided to have an elf on the shelf some to our house. Grant had an elf at daycare last year and loved it, so I thought we'd give it a try. Our elf has a little twist though. I found something here on Pinterest about incorporating Jesus into the idea. "Santa" sent Grant a letter with his elf, now named Mr. Jingles, to our house on Thanksgving evening. The letter shared that Mr. Jingles job is to remind Grant and our family that Christmas is about Jesus and not presents. He's to look for us being kind and helpful to each other, and other people as well.

I broke the "no touch" rule, seen here, which I didn't really get, we'll see as days pass if this was a good idea or not. I can't remember a time when Grant has been so excited about something and he and Mr. Jingles have been having a lot of fun together. I've had Mr. Jingles declare a family movie night, build a Lego Christmas tree, read a story to stuffed animals, suggest making cookies together, and race cars with another toy. Mr. Jingles will not be bringing gifts, and I have a few ideas for how to continue to incorporate Jesus into this idea. I'm excited about this new tradition at our house.


I'm giving my blanket scarf another try today, this time with a dress and cardigan. Lots of layers didn't work so well last time, so I'm hoping it'll work out better this time :) I also opted for my animal print flats, instead of boots like I'd originally intended.  My tall boots looked way to "bulky,"  and since the weather has gotten so cold these shoes have been a bit forgotten. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Feeling the Pressure

I constantly feel pressure to be super mom and I worry when Grant isn't the "perfect" child, which is so silly.....no one is perfect.  However, I still feel the pressure. My son is four and a half and still learning what it means to be a person.  He's kind, loving, and his preschool teachers have commented multiple times on his love of learning.  These are all such great things!

But.  Then there's the things we have to work on. Grant will go in and out of phases where he will say words like "toot" and "butt," often together.  He's only gotten in trouble once for using it at school, but it seems to come into conversation quite often at home. I know he's a boy and to boys this is hilarious, I just don't want him to get in trouble.

Grant has had a few times recently when he's gotten in trouble at nap time at school.  It's two and a half hours long and he isn't always tired.  At home I'm ok with him playing in his room for a bit until he falls asleep; this obviously isn't a choice when there are 20 other children around you. He knows he needs to lay down and be quiet, but that's a long time if you're not tired.  I'm worried it causes problems for the teachers and that they won't like him.

Grant now sits in church with us. Up until he was four he could stay in Sunday school for two hours while we went to small group and church, but once they are four they are expected to sit in church.  I come with my busy bag and a snack he can't eat until after the music is done. Some weeks he's great and other weeks I feel like he's forgotten what a whisper sounds like.  I don't want to be that mom that hands him an iphone to keep him busy, I want him to listen, but some weeks are definitely better than others. 

In the midst of all of this I feel like a failure.  I let the things he's working on get to me. I'm then reminded of this verse in Psalms 22:6 "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."  

I know Brian and I are teaching Grant about "time and place," and after a while he'll know when it's acceptable to say "toot," and when it's not.

I know Brian and I are teaching Grant to be a good listener....and practicing being good listeners with with each other too.  I know Grant does a good job of listening at preschool and in general and daycare.  The struggle of listening at nap time will pass.

I know it's important for Grant to sit in church with us and even when he's coloring or putting together a lego guy he hears the words the pastor is saying and asks questions.  He'll get better at being quiet with practice.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in things our kids are struggling with and to forget the things they do well and our intentions too.  Brian and I are doing our best to train Grant into a life of kindness and a love for God and others, and although no day is perfect, I know we're doing our best with Grant.


I know I'm not alone in this pressure. I believe God just wants us to take a deep breath. He gave us our children and trusts that we're doing what's best.  He will also guide us along the way, so our job is to stay in tune with God's word, listen for his voice, get into the word each day, (I recommend She Reads Truth as devotional to get you going) and take care of ourselves.  If we take time to fuel up each day with God's word, our tanks won't feel so empty.