Happy 4th Birthday, Blog: Lessons from Last Year

On January 31st, this past weekend, my blog turned 4 years old! Yay!! I know that year 3 was kind of a wash, but I learned many lessons about myself and life during that time. Today I want to celebrate new beginnings, refreshment, a new year, and new goals–which is what I am hoping year 4 will be for this blog.

I would like to share with you 4 lessons that I learned last year during my little hiatus. While I probably learned more than 4 lessons–these are the ones that stick out to me the most.

  1. Material things will not and do not make you happy. I mean, I guess they kind of do–but if you go in with the mindset of “well, if I get this or that then I’ll feel better about myself,” you will be wrong. I think in the first couple years of blogging, I tried to accumulate so much stuff because “that’s what everyone else was doing” so that things could showed off and reviewed. While yes, I know that some bloggers do a really good job of giving reviews, writing about fashion and style, and marketing for other companies–I was doing a really bad job at it. After a while all of the stuff I had was beginning to crowd me and make me feel overwhelmed with the amount of money I was spending and also just how much stuff I had to maintain. I do not mean to offend other bloggers at all, because I know that many have full-time careers through them, but this was a lesson that I learned because of my blogging and social media experience. This lesson made me check my heart and evaluate the motives behind my materialism. I have since adopted a much more minimalist mindset.
  2. Moments with Jesus are powerful and change everything. If you read my last post, you’ll know that I mentioned my battle with anxiety and depression last year. There were many times that I felt so paralyzed by it all that I couldn’t really pray anything other than “Jesus, help me.” My quiet times with Jesus were not as often as I would have liked–but the moments that I would meet with Him and when I felt so desperate–I knew He was with me. I would instantly feel peace and an assurance that He knew exactly what I was going through. The times that I spent in His Word were so powerful because everything was relevant and applicable to what I was dealing with. That’s one of the amazing and powerful things about the Bible and gospel message–it is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12)! I encourage you to, even if you don’t know what to do or what to say, spend time with Jesus! He loves you, He is waiting for you, and He has given us access to Him at all times (Ephesians 2:18).
  3. Life is precious. Life is short and must be valued and celebrated! Last year, my mom went through cancer treatment and throughout the whole process, the reality of mortality was scary. It made me want to make the most out of the time that I had with her and my family each day, to not complain, but to plead with God for more time. As I mentioned in my last post, she is now cancer-free and God was, and is, so gracious to our family. I know that this world is not our home and one day we will be in eternity. I am so thankful for the promises of God and the hope we have of spending eternity with Him. I hope, very much, that you have the same assurance as well. I don’t mean to turn this post into a morbid topic, but that’s just reality.
  4. It’s ok to wear black 99% of the time. I’ve come to the reality that I just really like to wear black. I used to think it was boring, I really should wear more color, or that everything just looked the same. But that’s just me and my style–and I love it. Yes, I do have some color in my wardrobe–but it will most likely be accompanied with black. It’s classy, versatile, appropriate for all-year wear, and it’s great to mask the occasional coffee spill. Ha!

Those are my top 4 lessons of the last year! Some are pretty serious and some are not as much–but I think important, nonetheless. What are some lessons that you learned last year? I would love to know!

Pink Things + Encouragement

Good evening! I am currently huddled up at home eating chicken soup because it’s freezing and raining outside. A couple of days ago it was almost 80 degrees–but that’s typical Oklahoma weather for you! Tonight’s blog post is going to serve two purposes–to share with you some pink things I’ve been loving this month (in keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day and February) and to share with you some scriptures of encouragement. This winter has seemed to be a little harder than normal, for me, to focus on encouraging thoughts and scripture, so I wanted to be able to share some with you in case you’re having a difficult time as well. I can’t wait for spring, sunshine, and warmth!

7516717296_img_3173Glasses | EyeBuyDirect

2 Timothy 1:7

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

 

1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

7516717296_img_3171Book | Dance, Stand, Run by Jess Connolly 

Proverbs 31:25

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

 

Psalm 46:5

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be movedGod will help her when morning dawns.

7516717296_img_3168Lip Balm | Glossier

Psalm 139: 13-14

For you formed my inward partsyou knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully madeWonderful are your worksmy soul knows it very well.

 

Luke 12:7

Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows

7516717296_img_3166Haircare | Kristin Ess 

Let me know how I can be praying for you! I really want to cultivate a community of encouragement and support with this blog, and it’s been really special to see that happen so far.

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For the Heart at Christmas

It’s Christmas weekend! Have you finished all your shopping and made all your preparations? I hope you have just a wonderful and special weekend of savoring this season with your family and friends. I can’t wait for all of my siblings, nieces and nephews, and parents to all be together–it’s chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wanted to leave you with some scriptures for this weekend as we celebrate the birth of Christ and remembering of all He has done for us. I hope these will touch your heart as you go about your weekend.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the time had fully come, God sent His son, born of a woman, under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

1 Timothy 1:15-17 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Micah 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.

Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

Merry Christmas! I am taking all of next week off from blogging but I will be back in the new year! Thank you so much for your support this year, it means so much to me!

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For the Thankful Heart

Happy Thanksgiving week my friends! Today I am sharing some scripture with you and giving thanks to the Lord for the blessings in my life. God is so good and it’s my prayer that you know that and Him. I am thankful for each of you who read these posts and support my blog. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

I am thankful for my parents–their love for each other, their love for God, and how they love their children. I am thankful for my sisters and my brother–they truly are my best friends and we love each other so much. I am thankful for my brothers-in-law–they are each different but they hold very special/specific places in our family and have been supportive in so many ways. I am thankful for my nephews and nieces–they have completely changed my life and have taught me so much about love. I am thankful for my extended family and opportunities to re-connect with cousins–they are some of the most special people in my life and I am so glad they are family.

Psalm 30: 4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.

I am thankful for my friends. I am thankful for the ones who live far away and how wonderful it is to pick up right where we left off. It’s really hard to be so far from some friends–but I am thankful for times to be together. I am thankful for my local friends and how they are a part of every day life. I am thankful for friends to laugh with, cry with, pray with, celebrate with, travel with, and simply go through life with.

Psalm 1:9 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.

I am thankful for the small moments when I feel God’s presence. I am thankful for the big moments when God reminds me that He’s in control. I am thankful for the ways this year that God worked in my life and my family’s life. I am thankful that God never leaves me alone. I am thankful that God is so much more powerful and loving than I can ever fathom. I am thankful that God wants to know me.

Psalm 86:12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your name forever.

I am thankful for technology and the abilities we have to work, create, and communicate through the internet and devices. I am thankful that technology connects us to people who live far away. I am thankful for work and the skills God has given me. I am thankful that God has called me to my specific field and that He sustains and directs me through my career.

Psalm 118:28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to You; You are my God; I will extol You.

I am thankful for food. I am thankful for the ability to travel. I am thankful for Celiac Disease research. I am thankful for days that I can sleep in. I am thankful for safety. I am thankful for design and art. I am thankful for memories.

Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

What are you thankful for?

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For the Unseen Heart

Do you ever go through seasons of feeling alone or like no one understands what’s going on in your life? Do you ever feel like you’re living a double life–happy on the outside but inside you’re just aching and struggling? I have definitely been there and I know that there will probably be times like that off and on throughout life. But I also have encouragement to share about those particular times–and it’s SO good and it has helped me through so many different seasons of struggles! If you are having a day, month, or even year like this–I hope you can be comforted and know that you are seen!

First of all, Jesus understands. Jesus understands everything about you. Jesus understands everything about whatever is going on in your life. Jesus understands what it’s like to hurt and feel anguish.

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus knows you. Jesus knows you like no one else. Jesus knows your heart like no one else.

1 Samuel 16:7b For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

Psalm 139:1 (but the whole Psalm is a song about how God knows you) O, Lord, you have searched me and known me!

Psalm 44:21 For he knows the secrets of the heart.

Jesus sees you. You are not hidden from God. He is with you and will always see you.

Psalm 38:9 O Lord, all my longing is before you, my sighing is not hidden from you.

Jesus can be trusted. Jesus can be trusted to hear your cries, anger, hurt, frustration, etc. Jesus can be trusted to carry your burdens. Jesus can be trusted to be the ONLY person you need to rely on during a tough time. Jesus is the only one you should be concerned about how He sees you.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sigh, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 26:2-3 Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test me heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

Secondly, you need people. You can’t get through an unseen time alone. We weren’t created to be like that.

It is OK to talk to people about what you’re going through. Be brave. Be vulnerable. Be transparent. I’m not saying that you have to tell anyone and everyone about everything in your life, but talk to those you trust the most. Talk to those who are going to lead you wisely. Don’t be afraid to share your heart with someone, if they are in your inner circle–they will understand and love you.

Your story might be able to help someone else. You never know what someone else might be going through and your experience might even be able to help someone else get through something unseen that they are dealing with.

But also, give others grace if they don’t know what’s going on in your life. Sometimes you can’t expect someone to understand what you’re going through. Do not feel anger or bitterness towards someone if they’re just not “getting” what you’re dealing with.

And lastly, rest well. You are not a robot and are not expected to deal with life without having some kind of response. Do not feel guilty in those moments when you know that you just need rest. Even Jesus was weary and needed to be alone and find rest. Jesus created rest and He will give us rest. Jesus commands us to rest.

John 4:6 Jesus therefore , being wearied with His journey, sat at the well and it was about the sixth hour.

Mark 6:32 And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Mark 2:27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Exodus 23:12 Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that you may be refreshed.

You are seen and you are deeply loved!

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