Trunk or Treat!

Last Friday night, our church had their annual Trunk or Treat.  Have you ever been to one? It is a lot of fun! And a lot easier than the real trick or treating thing.

Cars line up in a parking lot with all of their trunks facing in.  Each car is decorated and ready to pass out candy to all of the kids.  It’s a great way for kids to dress up, get candy, and play with their friends in a safe and worry-free environment.

Last year, Tap and I were the Mad Hatter and Alice.  We try to have our trunk match our characters, so we had the Cheshire Cat smiling through our back window, and had the candy sprawled out on a table set for an Unbirthday Tea Party.  It was freezing cold, though, and most of the kids were too young to know who we were.

This year, we wanted to be characters all of the kids would recognize.  I took a basic one-day sewing class at a local Jo-Anne’s and have been sewing up a costume slowly since.  Tap rigged his together from pinterest and here we are!

FrozenTrunkOlaf and Elsa! From Frozen!

All the kids knew exactly who we were! And we had a lot of fun passing out icey-looking rock candy from our snowy little trunk.

My sweet husband put a lot of time into making our snowflakes. It was so sweet to see the little one’s eyes get big when they recognized who we were.  Later on, my “sister,” Anna, joined us with her man Christoph.  haha. In other words, unbeknownst to us, another couple came dressed with their family and just so happened to complete the set! FrozenGroupIt was a lot of fun.  Candy, Hot Cider, Pumpkin Decorating, and a Costume Contest.  What a great and wholesome way to celebrate!


Skinny has it’s Woes : There is Hope for Body Image Issues

I weigh myself just about every morning, then I walk over to a full length mirror and assess myself based off the new information I’ve received. Some days I am happy with how I look, and other days… Even if the scale is the same, my eyes add on the pounds.   Mental tallies are made for what I ate, if I did or didn’t work out, and how these same 130 pounds seem to distribute themselves differently each morning.

Then I go about my day and everyone has an opinion on my looks, and they are not ashamed to say it! “Oh, but you have nothing to worry about.” “I wish I was skinny like you.” “It’s not fair, that’s because you’re skinny.” “I love your outfit, but I could never pull it off.” “You need to eat more!” So on, and so forth. These comments aren’t helpful, they just add on guilt to the problem. Skinny people are not free from body-image issues. Everyone is susceptible to Satan’s tricks.

Skinny people may still worry that they are not skinny enough, or that they are too skinny! We do not want to chastise them for their body, which they may even work hard for! Do not add pain to their worries, by piling on guilt and self-hate.

We all need to stop comparing ourselves; Instead live in love, acceptance, and encouragement. Embrace how God has carved you! The One who chose the beauty of the mountains, who dug the canyons, who painted the moving waters, and filled the earth with birds of every color, trust His ability to create something –someone­- SO Beautiful!

Then share the true vision of beauty with those around you.

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
    peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you.
 will say to the north, Give up,
    and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:1-7

Emphasis added

Being Real – The Selfie Challenge

I have noted a new trend in marketing, that of being “real” and being “you.”  Dove has been exposing the lies of photoshop and the one-size-fits-no-one model for a while now.  More recently, American Eagle’s Aerie has jumped onto this bandwagon.  Although they have always been “The Girl Next Door,” they have taken this to the next step.  Instead of hiring models, like using the hit reality show “America’s Next Top Model” winner, they use regular girls in their ads.  Their website reads “Get Real. Think Real. No Supermodels. No Retouching. The REAL YOU is SEXY.”  I cannot vouch for the authenticity of their marketing, but I could tell that models wore birthmarks, had folds when they bent, moles, ribs, and even bellies!  How incredibly refreshing! Although, most of these “regular” girls still appear to be a size 2 jean, it is the beginning of something beautiful.

I just discovered the following video from a new campaign that Dove is supporting.  In this video it describes young girls’ self-concept, struggling with comparison, and a constant awareness of their “faults.”  It highlights how young girls take selfies in order to control their image.  They hide their big hair by wearing it back, they hide their double chin by taking pictures only in a certain light or at a certain angle, etc.  Instead of hiding these features, they are challenged to take the exact “selfie” that they intentionally avoid.  Let the hair down, show off your big smile, don’t wear makeup!

I thought this video was challenging, not just to young girls, but people everywhere.  Moms, Ladies, Girls, Dads, Men, Boys we all have something we are insecure about.  It may not be a body issue, but we all have something we desperately try to hide from the mocking world we live in.  Maybe Dove is right, maybe it is time to seize the social media market and put ourselves out there and redefine beauty.  But the BIGGEST goal, is to first rage that battle in ourselves.  We need to see our own beauty, the beauty God gave us.  We should not belittle His marvelous and perfect works of art.  We should not sell ourselves short, trading in our happiness for the world’s lies, our confidence for comparison.  Let us see the world the way God sees it.  With beauty, love, worth, purpose, and design.

Screen shot 2014-01-28 at 6.43.44 PM

Question : What do you always hide in your pictures?

Challenge : Post a selfie that magnifies your uniqueness, that showcases what you don’t see in yourself.

Cubicle Life Pt 1 : Shoes

Well, this is certainly a chapter in my life that I never foresaw… That of working in a cubicle.

After assessing our budget, my dreams of moving up in the workforce, and the pursuit of opportunities- My husband and I decided that I take a step out of my old job and into something new.  Our main goal is to make bigger strides in paying off our school loans, but perhaps beyond that, working for the more “corporate” world will get me the connections, the experience, and the padded resume I need in life.

Overall, the change has not been bad.  I have had to update a part of my wardrobe that I left buried and dusty in the corners of my closet.  I had not slipped these on since I went to a “dress-code” semester of school in College.  Let me tell you, it is hard to find work clothes that are all of the following: Modest, Youthful, Trendy, Professional, Well-fitting, Comfortable, and interchangeable for everyday attire.  It is hard to justify a big purchase for work if it isn’t something I would want to grab out of the closet and wear on a weekend.  But since I have to push my way through, I thought I could share with you what I have found.  First off – Work Shoes!

After spending a solid two hours at my favorite store, I found three perfectly comfy, perfectly appropriate footwear for the office.

Ivanka Trump's Lori

Ivanka Trump‘s “Lori” has an extremely squishy insole and a well-fitted turn on the ankle – needed for ballet flats to stay on your feet as you walk!  I particularly like VonMaur‘s limited version in grey.  The pointed toe, bow, and studs add a youthful flair.

Cole Haan Air Tali Lace Wedge

Cole Haan‘s “Air Tali Lace Wedge” is perfect for a dressier look and elongated legs.  Cole Haan‘s wedges are made with Nike Air Soles for comfort, and if you’re anything like me, wedges are much more stable than stilettos!

Born Julianne FlatFinally, we have Born‘s “Julianne” flat.  I have been blessed with these by my parents for my birthday!  A great staple, and they come in several fun summery colors as well (orange, blue, purple, and mint).  These have a comfortable sole and extra arch support.  They are simple, but this classic look goes with anything.  Dress it up or dress it down!

I hope this helps any of you ladies out there! If you’re transitioning into cubicle life, stay tuned, I have just a couple more tips up my sleeve to come!

Beauty has Become a Treatment

For the last three weeks I have been participating in a Beth Moore Bible study on the book of Esther at TroyNaz.  I’ll be honest, this is the first time I’ve given the book of Esther much of my time, and what a shame that was! Esther has proved to be a beautiful story of God’s unseen hand and deep profound love for His people.  It is rich with history, ironies, and applications.  Let me share with you one small snippet that hit me over the head with a deep recognition and familiarity to our culture today.

We will be looking at the portion where King Xerxes is looking for a new bride: Esther Chapter 2.

Then the king’s young men who attended him said, ‘Let beautiful young virgins be sought out for the king. And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom to gather all the beautiful young virgins to the harem in Susa the citadel, under custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women. Let their cosmetics be given them. And let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti.’

Now when the turn came for each young woman to go in to King Xerxes, after being twelve months under the regulations for the women, since this was the regular period of their beautifying, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and ointments for women— when the young woman went in to the king in this way, she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace.

Esther 2:2-4, 12-13

Let me recap… They gathered all the beautiful women.  These already beautiful women then had to go through a TWELVE MONTH beautification process including ointments, spices, and cosmetics.

Beth Moore states that beauty is no longer depicted as something you are, but something that you do.  The natural beauty gathered for the King wasn’t enough. Beauty is no longer a characteristic, but a treatment, it is what you do.  The Persian culture treated beauty this way, and sadly, so does today’s culture.

We can be gorgeous on the inside and out, but our culture today says that we can only be beautiful if we are a certain size, weight, wearing makeup, revealing ourselves, and have every inch Photoshopped.  Beauty is no longer just a treatment, it’s imaginary.  We can’t live up to photoshop, nor should we have to.  Why chase this false beauty?

Instead of looking at the mirror and judging our every bulge and pimple, we should look at the mirror and examine our hearts before God.  Instead of spending thirty minutes to an hour primping our hair, we should take the time to delve into God’s Word and fill our mind with TRUTH instead of these cultural lies.  Time spent on makeup, outfits, and accessories could be invested more wisely in the nurturing of the Fruits of the Spirit.

True beauty is defined by the characteristics God calls us to : “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control” Galatians 5:22-23

Easier said then done, right?  The first thing we have to do is believe it.  Redefine what beauty is in our own hearts.  Our physical beauty will always age and change, we can’t hold onto it for our own security… it’ll never be enough.  Where one flaw is covered, our eyes search and find the next.  Let’s root our beauty in what God’s eyes see.

He loved us so much that He humbled Himself – God became a man.  He humbled Himself further and died a cruel and painful death, taking our guilty sentence upon Himself so that we may go scott-free.  There is no love greater than Love, Himself… and He looks at us with that great overpowering love.

Why don’t we put God’s perspective on for size?  We can become overwhelmed in the tender love He offers, we can be rooted in His vision for us, and we can learn to treat ourselves with the respect He desires for us.