Monthly Archives: March 2016

03/21/16

Only the Good Stuff.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints,for the courts of the Lord;my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home,and the swallow a nest for herself,where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house;they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you,whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka,they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength,till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield;the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty,blessed is the one who trusts in you.”

— Psalms 84

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “

— Matthew 5:8

My small group has been going through The Comparison Trap by Andy & Sandra Stanley these last few weeks and it has stirred some very fruitful conversations for us during group times and some lingering thoughts for me afterwards. This last week, the topic revolved around our overall dissatisfaction, potentially the root (or at least one of the roots) of comparison.

Sandra states that “our dissatisfaction with how we look, feel, act, etc. says more about how we feel about our God than the people, circumstances, or situations that we compare ourselves to.” Somehow we feel like He is holding out on us.

Like He owes us something.

Every moment that we spend comparing ourselves or our circumstances to those of another is a silent, or not so silent, accusation to God. After all, who else has the power to increase our knowledge on a certain subject? Make us skinnier or give us a different body so we wouldn’t struggle with negative body image? Who else could drop the perfect man or relationship in our lap?

We feel short-changed. 

I wanted to run from that statement. I didn’t want to believe that I was upset at Him or doubtful or angry.

Oh my. It was impossibly convicting.

In Scripture, He tells us that He withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly…

What are these good things, these good gifts that He does not withhold from us?

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

Those good gifts should leave me feeling anything but short-changed and wanting. So, why do I compare? Why do I envy? Why do I feel empty unless I have what she has?

I recently read a commentary on Psalms 84 from Steven Cole and he states, “The pleasures that God gives to satisfy our souls should fuel our desire to be in His presence. In other words, God motivates us to seek Him with the pleasures and satisfaction of being in His presence. And those pleasures are not all delayed until we arrive in heaven. They begin now. As Jesus proclaimed with reference to His sheep (John 10:10b), ‘I came that they may have life; and have it more abundantly.'”

It’s discerning  what the “good things” are and how they are good for us that is the key. We must interpret this promise from our Heavenly Father in the light of the many trials and tribulation that Scripture tells us the Saints endured.

This is where living out our faith steps in.

Although we may not always understand God’s purpose for our trials, especially on this side of eternity, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). So, in that sense, He truly does not withhold any good thing from us. For all things work together to the building of the plan He has set for all mankind.

His blessing, His good gifts, are for those that “walk uprightly”; those that trust Him.

Those that are not blameless, or ever proclaim to be, but those that live in a constant state of awareness as to their dependence on Christ. Confessing their sins and seeking to obey Him and bring praise to Him in all they do.

In 1714, Matthew Henry, the well-known pastor and Bible commentator, was on his deathbed at ripe age of 52. Throughout his life, he had endured the loss of his first wife and 3 of his 9 children had preceded his own death. He said to a friend, “You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men. This is mine—that a life spent in the service of God, and communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that one can live in the present world” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible) 

I want the good stuff.

Don’t you?!?

No longer feeling short-changed or that He owes me, but living and delighting in His truth and knowing the Lord gives me all I need to accomplish what He sets before me. Knowing that He supplies all my needs. Knowing that He gave me life, and for me to live it abundantly!

Let’s step into good living…

Celebrate rather than compare.

Prayer rather than despair.

Exultation & praise when you feel the dark closing in.

Thanksgiving for the good gifts He has already provided rather than envy the stuff of others.

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03/16/16

The Great Transition

Transitioning your closet and wardrobe from winter to spring can be a daunting task. The mornings are cool and crisp, sometimes even downright cold, and the afternoon heats up and you are shucking those layers as quickly as you put them on earlier in the day.

Honestly, it is the hardest of the seasonal transitions for me. It’s the one time of year that I honestly, and selfishly, stand there in the center of my closet and think “Do I have anything to wear today?!?” 

I know, I know. Shameful.

But, there are a few work horses that most of us have in our closets that can be those clutch transition pieces in between seasons. Cuddled up and warm when we need to be, and breezy and cool when we don’t.

Cropped Ankle Pants

Perfect....black, pop of color and love the leopard!:

casual friday at the office - spring transition layers:

Whether paired with boots, heels, or sandals, the classic ankle pant/trouser fits the bill!  A can’t-live-without item in my closet 4 out of 4 seasons of the year!

Works equally in a professional or casual setting.

Outfit Posts: outfit post: striped top, purple cropped pants, nude flats:

Natalia Cabezas is wearing a grey knit sweater and black trousers from Zara, sneakers from Adidas, sunglasses from Prada and the bag is from Guess:

I have a few different pairs of cropped or ankle pants, but honestly, you cannot go wrong with a black or grey pair. It’s the perfect neutral and goes with everything! I love the JCrew Ryder pant or Banana Republic’s Ryan pant. They are both perfectly versatile and comfortable!

A-Line Skirts

 :

If I could only have 1 type of skirt in my closet for the rest of time, it would be an A-line skirt.

high waisted a line skirt to the knee! so pretty:

Simply put, they never go out of style.

High-waisted mid-length skirt + fitted t-shirt:

And they transition beautifully from ankle strapped sandals to ankle boots and tights in the fall & winter. It’s the ultimate in ladylike sophistication. And some of my favorites on shelves and online now are Banana’s Heritage Suede Grommet Skirt, because I am currently obsessed with suede for spring, and the Origami skirt by Maeve from Anthro.

Vests

A wardrobe staple for year-round wear! A utility vest is honestly one of my favorite items in my closet!

Military Vest & Buffalo Check:

Shrug it over flannel or wool shirts in the wintertime, and even layer it up with scarves & sweaters.

Outfit:

Stripes + vest. Love this casual look.:

But, it also has a lighter and breezier side to it in the spring and summer over T-shirts, tanks, and even sundresses when you just need a little extra layering or coverage. Currently crushing on the Pine Hill Vest by Sanctuary in that yummy sherbet color or the classic Army Green Knit Moto vest by Marrakech that is just the right amounts of polish & edge!

Chambray or Denim Shirt 

polka dot chambray shirt paired with cozy cardigan:

elbow patches:

Whether layered under sweaters or blazers…

heather gray + denim:

Or the star of its own show…

A classic fitting chambray or denim shirt is a great, versatile piece you dress up or down any season of the year.

chambray + a-line skirt + leopard shoes:

JCrew makes a great classic, chambray shirt called the Selvedge shirt that can be used as a button-up, a popover, or tie it around your waist like a cardigan over a sundress.

chambray shirt, striped dress, trench coat:

Kimono

This is a more unusual one. And okay, maybe everyone doesn’t have one in their closet right now…

But, maybe you should!

Tasseled Silk Kimono:

So carefree and ultra-feminine. An can be layered over almost anything! Just think of it as a replacement for anywhere you would traditionally wear a cardigan.

Tribal-printed kimono:

It can be belted, layered up, or paired down to just a small tank top and shorts in the dead of summer. It doesn’t even have to be the top layer- throw on that leather jacket or peacoat, and just like a traditional tunic, it layers perfectly for any occasion.

A current fave is the Anthophilous Kimono from Anthropologie and it’s that lovely fringed number pictured above.

Ankle Boot or Shoe Boot 

It’s only appropriate for their to be at least one piece of footwear represented.

how to wear a fur vest:

Goodness knows I love a pair of shoes! And I love an ankle boot, which is why I rejoice at the idea of wearing mine well into springtime this year!

Brunch-bound babes, take note: this outfit is a must. A solid pastel dress, beige ankle boots, jean jacket and plaid scarf are a comfy and casual combination perfect for the weekend. Not only is this look incredibly cute, but dressing in layers helps you be prepared for wherever the day takes you. #Protip: For a little extra storage space, skip the purse and opt for a brown backpack.:

As you can see, they add a boho edge to perfectly springtime ensembles like little T shirt dresses and a pastel pleated skirt with denim jacket.

I love the Snare ankle bootie or the Waypoint, each from Seychelles. A favorite brand of boots in my closet! Don’t be afraid to play with different shades too- these come in gorgeous colors like navy, silver metallic, taupe, and even slate!

So, let’s get busy transitioning. Because springtime is here… and it’s here to stay!

My allergies told me so…

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