Bad News, the Good News, and Easter

Just a silly little late-night couch selfie from my phone! Not very flattering of me, but I love his smile and sparkly eyes. So much love here.

So I don’t know how to start this. I don’t know how to breathe or be or live anymore. My amazing boyfriend, Jason Cuadro, suddenly passed away 2 weeks ago from a pulmonary embolism. We were getting ready to go to church on a Sunday morning. It is so weird to say this. It is so weird that this is my story now. I don’t know how a person continues on without all of that love, so very much love, in their life. I guess I will have to learn.
So this is the bad news. The very, very, very bad news.
The worst news.

I guess something like this is what you wear to your boyfriend’s funeral. To the death of your future as you knew it. A black dress, black tights, black shoes, a black veil. And I think you carry his teddy bear and I think you smile sometimes because there are only so many tears for a day, only so many tears for a moment, before you run dry and after that I guess you smile a little with sad eyes and unbelief in your heart so you don’t die even more inside, too. And because for some reason someone is taking a picture of you at a funeral and that’s just so weird. I don’t know.

But Easter. 
But God. 
Easter has been speaking to my heart. Easter has been soaking into me. 
The good news.
God is still God, still God on the throne when Jesus was on the Cross. Still God on the throne when Jesus was in the grave on Saturday. Still God on the throne, today, when my heart is a black hole and the future looks like endless night, HE IS STILL GOD. I believe that. I wholeheartedly believe that. 
If it were not for Easter, and if it were not for that hope that I have, that I know my Jason had, we would be hopeless. We would be without cause to hope.  I cannot imagine going through a loss like this without the assurance that we serve a LIVING God, and thereby, we WILL see each other again, some glorious day. Some grand, glorious day, when we are all home.
I guess even when it snows on Easter, and your eyes are still puffy and the only thing you want is a hand to hold in yours and to hear his voice, you still put on your giant vintage daisy earrings and go to church.

Still wear the Easter skirt he picked out for you weeks ago, because you know he would have wanted to see you in it. Still make the wreath you bought the supplies for the night before he died, when you finally have a little bit of grit to get out of bed after 2 weeks, because you know it would make him smile. 
“Because HE lives, I can face tomorrow.” 
and I guess you just keep trusting. Because God knew this was a part of my story from the beginning of time. And God was gracious enough to give me 2 years of the most amazing love ever known. For that, I can be grateful. To leave that love in death, to leave that love in anxiety and fear and to crawl into a hole like I want to would be to say it was all counterfeit.

For that, I can go on, carrying the love and life for both of us, forward. 
Into light. 
with all my love and sorrow, 
Natalie 

Spring Things

Enjoying the sunshine, bright lips, and big sunglasses! 

Slowly working on my office and pulling a few pretty things together here 🙂 

Over the weekend I made some strawberry sauce and lemon curd. YUM!
Then I baked some blueberry muffins to enfold all of that delicious lemony-goodness. It was also delish on shortbread cookies, obviously. 
Then of course I had a LOT of dishes to do.
Good thing I have these pretty sink things to make it happy! Pretty colors & aromatherapy soap for the win! 
{hot pink pot scrubbie//method frosted fir hand soap//mrs. meyer’s lemon verbena dish soap//mrs. meyer’s radish hand soap//green sponge//wood veggie brush}
I’m obsessed with Mrs. Meyer’s products. And that tiny bottle? Target $1 section (with attached coupon for $1 off a big bottle, so it’s win-win). That’s also where I found this little crate that is going to be perfect to use as part of my Easter table centerpiece! (it’s hanging out on my office shelf above right now!) 

PS> Radish sounds weird but it’s actually one of my favorite Mrs. Meyer’s scents, and for some reason reminds me of the cute kitchen I had in my condo in Florida! 

And the bunny towel? Smitten. My grandma lovingly embroidered that. I adore it (and her!).
#allthehappythings 

Show me your happy little Spring things on Twitter? Hashtag it #allthehappythings!

xo
Natalie

Happy Easter

I LOVE EASTER! I love Jesus, I love spring, I love pink and green, and so, obviously, I love Easter. It’s my favorite-favorite I think.
(did I say that about Valentine’s Day, too? Hmm…)

It’s Easter, so of course I had to throw a vintage edit in here: 
Shows the colors better than the mid-day sunshine pictures!
 Pink lace H&M dress, H&M necklace, Target sunnies, vintage green purse, bangles from Kohls, cute hairpins from Target, thrifted nude/rope wedges, Revlon seafoam green nail polish

Purrrtttyy makeup. 
Smashbox palette from my “Everyday Makeup” video
Clinique HoneyGloss lipstick
Happy Easter, my dears! 

Easter Sunday

Petals in my hair and wind in my skirt! Ha.
Colors, colors, COLORS!

I entertained a few friends after church for Easter dinner, and the tablescape made me feel so happy! 
Good food, fun, and fellowship. What a fantastic way to celebrate our Risen Savior. 
He is Risen, and He is coming again. Amen!

Good Friday/Holy Saturday

This is what I wore on Good Friday. Yes, including a veil. Because our Savior died. 

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but um, Natalie, He rose again, remember?”

And of course! But we can’t lose sight of the fact that HE DIED. He was sinless, blameless, spotless: the perfect lamb of God. This is the pivotal point in Christianity. “The most important weekend in the history of the world,” as my pastor said. He didn’t just die in vain. It wasn’t an accident–it wasn’t an oversight on God’s part Oops, man, how could I have looked away when Judas kissed Jesus? Darn, my plan A is ruined…


No. It was prophesied from the very beginning. This IS the plan.While we were yet sinners–still dirty and clothed in unrighteousness and our own selfish desires, God sent his only son to be nailed to a cross. 
We cannot forget the power and gravity of the fact that our Savior was betrayed, unjustly accused, beaten, mocked, flogged, spat upon, nailed to a cross, and left to hang until he died. 
And die, he did. 
For me.
For my sins.
In my place.
For you, for your sins, in your place.

ugh, someone move my hair out of my eyes
So yes, I wear a veil. A green polka-dotted velvet-bow one, of course, hehe.
And it might look a little strange, a little Catholic, a little old-fashioned and out of place, but
it reminds me. It helps me feel the mourning. The weight of my sins upon Jesus on that day. It feels right to cover my head, and bow before him.
I reflect on the cost of my salvation and freedom in Christ–a gift free to me, but Jesus paid the price. God paid it, by sending “his one and only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I know He died for me, and I know I will live with Him. Do you?
Tomorrow, then, we shall rejoice!
xo

Palm Sunday

{palm frond}

{blurry but i liked it}
We don’t always realize that Hosanna means, “Save us!” The townspeople were crying out to Jesus “Save us!” because they thought he would rescue them from the political oppression they were facing. Not necessarily because they knew he was the Messiah (though they probably thought he was, in some way) but because they wanted something from him. But you know what happened? They weren’t impressed. As soon as they found out he wasn’t who they WANTED him to be, they scorned him. They mocked him, and, a week later, they shouted, “Crucify him!” 
I don’t think that attitude is dead today. Do you? How many times do we, as believers, and those who are new to Christ, think, “Oh, this Jesus guy, he’s something! He’s going to give me exactly what I want, and then I’ll have a new, shiny, blessed, easy life. Piece of cake!” That is the same as the people of Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna!” It is an empty cry when shouted with the intent of our own expectations being fulfilled. You see, God doesn’t come to give us what WE want, in the way we desire, when we want it; just like he didn’t come to save the world in the way the Jews wanted. And sometimes as soon as we don’t get what we want, when we want it, we scorn God, too. We can get disillusioned with Christianity, or with the prosperity gospel that is so rampant today. We say, “Alright, that’s it! God, you’re falling asleep on the job! I’d better take things from here, thankyouverymuch.” 
And I know where that leads. That leads to an empty life on a treadmill of “Fill this empty need inside my soul at any cost.” But it needn’t be that way. You see, we CAN shout Hosanna, and later, Hallelujah! We can shout “Save us!” because Jesus, in the face of so much scorn and pain and suffering STILL went to Golgatha. He DID save us. And if we accept that life-changing gift- though it will be on Jesus’ terms, not ours-we can have assurance that we are saved. Saved by a risen King, pardoned by his broken body that was beaten and bruised for our sins. 
Hallelujah what a Savior!
Wow, sorry, guys, just got a little carried away there. 
xo
PS. Entire outfit is thrifted/consignment, minus earrings, which are from a discount store 🙂
PPS. I did iron these pants this morning, seriously.

Easter Happiness

Look! See:

That’s my Easter basket from my sweet boyfriend: Reese’s and Lara Bars. Boy knows me well.

 {totally fit for a six-year-old right? and silly girls in their twenties!!)

And my bestest friend pointed out that I wore the exact same blouse last Easter in a similar outfit:

 {we’re going to dub this the Easter blouse and see how many years in a row I can wear it, haha}

Easter really does make me SUPER happy 😀 Jesus, pretty outfits, my favorite colors, chocolate, and a froufy Easter basket: I’m so there. {Psssst….can you imagine my boyfriend buying this Easter basket where he WORKS? Awwww. He must really like me :-P)

Easter Sunday

I really love Easter. Reaaaaalllllllllllllly love it. 
And I love the fact that my boyfriend gave me an Easter basket that is fit for a six-year-old. And I am totally as excited about it as a six-year-old would be…check yes.
Also, I’m totally excited that JESUS IS ALIVE! I love that fact even more.
Style Secrets
Smile: Courtesy my Savior, Jesus Christ
Sunnies: Local store
Earrings: ?? (super old)
Tank (under): Old Navy
Blouse: Thrifted, FEI (prob Anthro?)
Cardi: Target
Belt: Thrifted
Skirt: Thrifted, BCBG
Heels: MaxAzria

Delight in the Lord

Be faithful to enjoy the small things, dears. Be faithful to keeping your eyes open, your heart open, your self open. Keep space within yourself, so that you can be free to admire, to dream, to enjoy—to delight and to be delighted. I’ve been reading a book that said that our opportunity is to delight those around us. Can you imagine: families, workplaces, communities, where the sole purpose of fellowship with each other was to delight one another? How is that possible?! Well, when we delight in the Lord, He fills us to overflowing with joy. He is so faithful to overflow my life with joy when I spend quality time with Him. He allows my heart to be able and willing to delight others when I take delight in Him.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
   dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart….
 23 The LORD makes firm the steps
   of the one who delights in him
;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
   for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” 
Psalm 37
We have a joy that is untouchable, because our joy lies in Heaven. This world cannot take it away. Our struggles cannot overpower our joy.  
Our joy has RISEN!
And that, my dear friends, we must share.

Good Friday

Don’t let Good Friday slip by unnoticed. Don’t let this A.D.D. culture of ours distract you: Jesus DIED on the cross for YOUR sins and MINE. He was held to a cross with nails, with the weight of the sins of the world on his shoulders. We cannot celebrate Easter Sunday until we pause and reflect over Good Friday. Oh weep, dear ones, oh weep, over the price that has been paid.