09/21/17

Life’s Valleys

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” Psalm 23:4a (NLT)

A familiar passage, if there ever was one.This, along with John 3:16, may have been the first 2 Scripture references I ever memorized as a child.

And what a wonderful gift to first memorize and engrave upon your heart that God loved the world so much, that He gave up His Son for you to die and redeem your soul and bring you to life everlasting with Him, and then to assure you that you have no reason to be afraid- for He is with you, walking beside you. It is 2 of the single greatest Spiritual truths you can learn in this life.

You are unconditionally and recklessly loved.

And you are not alone. He walks with you.

He walks with you through the darkest, saddest, most hopeless moments and valleys of your life.

Through the loss of a loved one.

Holds your hand as you hear the doctor’s droning voice describing an untimely and discouraging diagnosis.

Sits with you as you are paralyzed by fear.

Picks your head back up when you are passed over for that promotion at work.

Gives your strength to carry on, even when you feel completely hopeless, lost, and with no direction. He guides your feet.

Whispers His love to you as you are battling depression and feelings of rejection, once again.

He tells us this in the Psalms because He Knew. He knew this earthly life was hard and full of pitfalls and valley because He lived it. He felt it. He was tempted. He was beaten and bruised. He lived. 

I loved this devotion from Proverbs 31 last week. It whispered sweet reminders and big, meaty truths to my weary, road-weathered heart. It needed some refreshment.

Maybe yours does too?!?

Devotion Graphic

 

“In life, we all certainly like mountaintop experiences better than valleys — the air is clean, the sun is shining, and the view is amazing. But the truth is, we’re going to go through valleys. It’s inevitable. You’ve observed that, haven’t you?

Jesus didn’t want us to be surprised by difficult times, so just before He died on the cross, He warned us, Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (John 16:33b, NLT). “You will have …” means it’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that you can’t plan valleys or schedule them. Who’s ever had a flat tire or a root canal at a good time?

But be encouraged that valleys are temporary; they do have an end. And valleys have a purpose. God never wastes our pain.

The apostle Peter wrote, There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:6b-7, NLT).

When God assured Moses He would be with him as he led the Israelites to the Promised Land, God said, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest — everything will be fine for you” (Exodus 33:14b, NLT). I love Moses’ reply: “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place” (Exodus 33:15b, NLT). Amen, Moses — that’s exactly how I feel about going to strange, new places too.

What encourages me is that God never asks me to go through a valley alone.

Notice in our key verse that David, the one who wrote Psalm 23, refused to be filled with fear in the dark valleys, because God was with him in a very real and personal way: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” (Psalm 23:4a)

Earlier in this psalm, David’s comments about God are in the third person — the LORD is my shepherd … He makes me lie down … He leads me… He refreshes my soul … He guides me.

But when David gets to the dark valley, he switches to second person: “for you are with me” (v. 4). That’s oh so personal. It’s as if David sees the darkness ahead, and he reaches out for God’s hand. What a comfort to put our hand in God’s hand, as we take a step into the dark!

Pastor, writer and Bible teacher Andrew Murray once encouraged us to say: “I am here —
1. By God’s appointment.
2. In His keeping.
3. Under His training.
4. For His time.

Thank You, Lord, for that truth!” 

TRUTH FOR YOU TODAY: 

Hebrews 13:5b, “For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.’”(NLT)

2 Corinthians 4:17-18, For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (NLT)

*Read more at http://proverbs31.org/.

xoxo….

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09/18/17

Fall’s Statement Pieces

There’s a snap in the air here in the Deep South this week. It heats up pretty good in the daytime, but in the mornings and evenings, I can literally feel the promise of the seasons changing.

Fall & Winter are my favorite times of the year.

Typically us Southern girls are all about the spring & summer, but not this one. I crave those crisp mornings and chilly evenings and midday spent in boots, tights, and sweaters, and football on the television every Saturday and, let’s face it, most Sundays too.

And, I love Fall fashion, particularly Fall’s statement pieces.

And with New York Fashion Week just barely behind us, after the runways have cleared, we turn our sights to Fall 2017’s Must-have pieces and how to introduce them into our very own wardrobes.

And, I’ve got a few ideas…

Red.

Red is the color of fall.

Now, Red has certainly always been a prominent color in my personal wardrobe in the fall, but now it’s literally everywhere!

Image result for red is color of fall

Wear it all over, as it is absolutely stunning as a monochromatic look, or as a statement piece, on your feet, or a handbag.

Here are a few of my top picks:

Daphne Topcoat in Boiled Wool, pictured in Red from JCrew, $198

Daphne topcoat in boiled wool

Hello gorgeous red ankle boots!

These beauties are the Matiko Mylvia Zipped Ankle Boots for $188 from Anthropologie. Pictured in rich red, but also come in Grey and Ivory.

Matiko Mylvia Zipped Ankle Boots

Don’t you just love that front-zip detail as well? Incredibly industrial and retro.

This Ruffle Sleeve Mock-neck Tunic is perfect paired with tights, heels or boots for a throwback, dressed up look, or is equally elegant thrown over jeans or leggings for a more casual, lived-in look.

Ruffle-Sleeve Mock Neck Tunic

I love it both ways! And I love pieces that are that versatile. Makes a minimalist wardrobe function very well.

My love affair with Hobo Handbags reaches far and wide, and they have gotten in on the red trend as well, and this delicious hue pairs perfectly with their worn-in leather that I just love!

Larkin Crossbody

The Larkin Cross-body handbag (Because I am a firm believer that every women needs a great cross-body handbag… or 4) from Hobo is the perfect pick for fall.

Midi-Length Skirts

Midi-length skirts are everywhere, and I find them to be so elegant and ladylike. At first, I feared the length (hitting mid-shin, between my knee and my ankle) would make me appear even shorter- something I fight in wardrobing- and so I avoided them. But, I have purchased a few dresses or skirts with lengths below my knee and I am loving them for work, church, and other occasions.

Try them out for yourself! The key is all in the accessorizing.

Loving this Frosted Fall skirt from one of my favorite, easy-to-wear brands, Nic & Zoe. The asymmetrical hem along with textured detailing make it so interesting and perfect to pair with sweaters, jackets, and blouses this fall.

Plus, I am sorry, who doesn’t love an elastic-waist skirt? Ah-mazing!

And, when you pair this gorgeous skirt length with classic textures like pleats and black and white hounds-tooth? Love! And, perfect for fall!

Hounds-tooth Pleated Midi Skirt, Banana Republic for $118

Or maybe this same skirt in animal print is more your speed?

Mine too!

Brocade & Embroidered 

These are the most classic cut of fall booties from Seychelles, but updated with suede and gorgeous floral embroidery. The Lantern boot will definitely shine some light on your fall wardrobe!

Just beautiful, and comes in in 3 colors: Black, Hunter Green (above), and Taupe.

Even denim is getting in on the trend and these Embroidered Boyfriend Jeans by Pilcro are keepers!

Pilcro Mid-Rise Boyfriend Ankle Jeans

Perfect for dressing up or dressing down.

Belted Sweaters, Sweatshirts, & Blazers

The belt is back!

But, really, did it ever really go anywhere?

I love a tie-front sweater or jacket or a belted, cinched-waist dress, and they are all the rage this fall.

This super cozy & luxe Belted Sweatshirt from JCrew isn’t just for lazy Sunday afternoons. Can easily be dressed up over a shift dress and pumps or boots for work, or dressed down over a Tee and jeans with mules. Your choice!

Belted sweatshirt blazer

I love a good Military Jacket. And, I have major heart eyes for this one…

It’s from Banana Republic, as part of their exclusive collection by Olivia Palermo (love her style!) and comes in Seaweed (pictured) as well as Navy. It’s a bit of an investment piece ($198), but isn’t investments worth investing in?!?

This one certainly is!

Asymmetry 

A trend that I was unsure about at first, but the more I have seen it on and off the runway, the more it has grown on me and I find it really, very interesting.

It’s an updated on that cold-shoulder trend that is literally EVERYWHERE now, but is a little more refined.

I love the idea of asymmetrical blouses, and this one from Michael Stars is such a classic cut and fabric for an updated and, might I add, ladylike approach to classic menswear.

Michael Stars Asymmetry Blouse

A satin skirt is certainly hard to top. It’s the ultimate in elegance and refinement. And this classic skirt gets an elevated edge from an asymmetrical hem.

Satin Asymmetrical Skirt

I love classics such as tulle or silk skirts paired unexpectedly with heels and a turtleneck, or a tank and a boyfriend blazer, or even a tee and a leather jacket for special occasions.

Velvet

Whether you prefer just a touch of it, an accent, or big, bold, statements in velvet, you cannot deny it’s luxe and splendor. No fabric is more touchably soft and smooth, but also equally elegant and formal.

These gorgeous Gray Velvet heels from Seychelles, the Commute Heel for $80, are the perfect finishing touch for your next formal event.

I think they are just gorgeous and absolutely swoon-worthy!

And this richly-hued navy blue wrap Velvet Midi dress from Donna Morgan is a stunner!

Velvet Wrap Midi Dress

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want that wrapped around them!

And this Velvet Tank from JCrew is super versatile! Just a touch of velvet under a blazer with dress pants for a work event, or slipped on under a wool over-sized cardigan with jeans on the weekend. I love the high-low factor of this piece, and the colors are divine as well.

Velvet tank

So, there you have it! A few of fall’s more crush-worthy statement trends, how to wear them, but most importantly, feeling confident and feeling your best you. I am a firm believer that trends come and go, but your personal style is something that is a keeper.

So, what are some of your favorite statements you will make this fall?!?

Whatever they are, I have no doubt you’ll look beautiful in them…

xoxo

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