Snack Time

So. 
There’s this chance I have developed a bad habit. 
By bad I mean, utterly delicious. Watermelon sherbet with Cool Whip.
Nightly.
No, it’s not a bad habit, really. 
It’s sherbet! Less fat and fewer calories than ice cream!
Right? RIGHT? 
+++++
Oh, how we can rationalize to our hearts’ content. See, here’s the thing: God calls us to take every thought captive. Every word, every deed, everything in our hearts–to take it captive. To pass it through the sieve of the Holy Spirit, so that we can make every thought/word/deed obedient to Christ. 
But–well, we’re really good at RATIONALIZING.
I’m equating my rationalizing a “bad habit” of sherbet with sin, just for effect.
Because the problem is, sometimes sin tastes delicious.
It feels good. 
It might make us feel alive for a minute, or dulls our pain for a minute, or maybe we think it’s just plain fun. 
And that never hurt anyone, right?
Wrong.
It hurts God’s heart. It hurts him because He is Holy. He detests sin and unrighteousness. And he LOVES us. He WANTS us. 
Next time you find yourself rationalizing sin, remember: God detests that. He loves you. And that is enough. 
That is always enough.

Saturday Scones

An early morning baking. Bringing scones and a pink travel mug of hot tea to go garage sale-ing with friends. Reading a great magazine, Life: Beautiful. Have you seen this before? It’s the Christian version of Martha Stewart Living. I really enjoy it!! I urge you to find a copy, or perhaps subscribe. I found my copy, believe it or not, at Walgreens (!). Then perhaps a drive-in movie with the boyfriend? Enjoy a perfect Saturday, honeys!

Fear vs. Faith

Decision-making models are practically countless. Just take one business class and you’ll find that out! But we, as Christians, as Good Girls, have really only two options: world-based decision-making, or Heaven-based decision-making. Or, as a more pleasingly alliterative alternative, “Fear vs. Faith.” Have you ever seen someone make a decision based on worldly assumptions, convictions, and desires? I truly believe it comes down to a decision made in fear: I have to do this or I won’t be good/cool/rich/thin enough. Or the worldly decision is based on selfishness, which is really just fear cloaked in self-righteousness.

What does the alternative look like? Well, it looks…scary and humbling, if we’re being honest. It looks….unpredictable. Oh dear. This is really making me want to put on that cloak of self-righteousness and cower under selfishness again. A faith-based decision is based on two things that seem at odds: a knowing and a not-knowing. We may not know why a decision makes sense, we may not know the full details of how it is going to work out or what glory God will be given, but we know with utter certainty that God has our backs. God does not want us to be fearful or selfish. Jesus equates little faith with fear.

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 
Matthew 8

 A faith-based decision allows God to show us how strong He is, and often allows us to learn a lesson and be refined. “Giving in” to a faith-based decision may mean letting go of long-held ambitions (that whole cool/rich/thin thing?). It may mean de-focusing on the scary 10% of something and focusing on the rewarding 90%. It may mean relying on the kindness of strangers, or taking a pay cut, or riding the city bus next to that not-so-clean looking person. Sounds scary right?

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:14-16

Fear enslaves us. But when we receive the Holy Spirit, we are freed from fear! Embrace that truth. And we can cry, “Daddy, Daddy!” to a Father who blesses our faith.

Dear Abba, 
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you have not given us a spirit of fear or timidity! Thank you that you allow us the grace of your strength when we step out in faith. When we call to you, when we cry out to you, you answer. Help us to make decisions based on your convictions and promises, Lord, not those of this world. 
Your Daughter, 
Natalie

Not a Day Less Will Do

Below is my specialty pose. I call it the “Crazed Flamingo“:
{you can tell when the boyfriend took the pics, because I make silly faces. because he says things like, “oh yeah! work it! the camera is loving you!”}
 {ballet pink fingernails}

And this song. This lullaby of a love song:

 
Style Secrets
Tee: F21
Sweater: Garage sale
Necklace: Self-made
Belt: Thrifted
Ballet Pink Pencil Cut Jeans: Gap/thrifted {so in love}
Slingbacks: Dressbarn/thrifted

Wrinkles and Smiles

{I ironed this dress. Honestly, morning of, I ironed it. Then I drove for 2 hours. And sat at a graduation for 3 hours. Oh well}

 {pretty folded shoulder detail}
{this is the actual face I make at the boyfriend when he takes my picture. he’s a lucky man, right?!}
Loving the color and the folded shoulder detail of this new Gap dress. Bought it to wear to my cousin’s bridesmaids brunch, but that didn’t end up happening. So it was perfect to wear for some friends’ graduations! The leggings were necessary as it was 53 degrees and rainy. And I caught a cold. Hmpf.

Style Secrets
Umbrella: J. Crew (sadly, broken now)
Necklace: Gift
Dress: Gap
Blazer: Tommy Hilfiger
Leggings: Target
Boots: Hunter

A Colorful Experiment

I’m not so sure how I feel about this outfit. I want to change something about it. Definitely the shoes. Potentially the skirt. I just didn’t have any better options. It all started with those fingernails. And then I just couldn’t help myself. Those nails and this little banner I made on my wall (the tiniest little clothespins! gah!):

{so much wonderful color}

However, I loved this while I was wearing it. Then again, while I was wearing it I was enjoying a British tea and brunch.

And a British tea brunch makes most things seem better than they really are 😛
Style Secrets
Sunnies: Local store
Blouse: Walmart
Necklace: Urban Outfitters
Belt: from another shirt
Yellow undershirt: Thrifted
Skirt: J.Crew
Tights: B.ella; local boutique
Heels: Seychelles

Polka Dot Slush

Since it was a pretty yucky day today, I was so excited when I looked out my window and saw this polka-dot slush!! How cool is that!! I put on my wellies and ran out the door to take a pic. It wasn’t just one little area, either; it was my whole driveway! God, you are so clever!

Wear it Always

 {this is a different outfit, don’t get confused :-P}

It’s not grammatically correct to say you’ll, “wear it always,” like that one line in the article I just got published. It was right when I handed it in… and definitely wrong in print…grrrr. But anyway
I like to say “always” things. I think I got it from a Shirley Temple movie when I was really little.  So this J. Crew sweater? I’m totally going to wear it always. I’ve worn a variation of this pink top/dress, striped sweater and Hunter wellies combo for…oh, the last week.

Style Secrets
Outfit One
Sweater: J. Crew via local store
Dress: C&C California
Handwarmers: Local store
Umbrella: J. Crew
Necklace (wooden heart): ???
Tights: TJ Maxx
Boots: Hunter, gift
Outfit Two
Hairpin: J. Crew
Necklace: Vintage
Shirt: Target
Ring: Local store
Jeans: Ernest Sewn
Legwarmers: self-made from my favorite socks

Blossoming Beauty

The boy bought me these perfectly pink gerbera daisies (that he picked out all by himself!)…they make my heart sing 🙂 I posted the picture and a friend and mentor commented, “What a special man that gives you such beauty.” 

A man that gives me beauty, as in beautiful physical objects…what a blessing! To have someone that I love, bring me things that I love, things that he knows will make me happy, just fills me. He wants to make me happy and to bring me beauty. He wants to make my heart sing and to see my face light up. Such a small thing that can make me happy all week!

A man that gives me beauty, as in, makes me a more beautiful person…what a blessing! Someone who makes me shine from the inside-out. A man who sees my femininity and works hard to make me feel like a beautiful woman…and tells me every day that I am beautiful and worthy. That makes me long to be more beautiful for him…more beautiful physically, emotionally, and spiritually, as a woman of God. He makes me long to be closer to God!That is the way it should be.

Girls, our men should absolutely make us feel that we are God’s feminine and beautiful women. We are our man’s feminine and beautiful woman too….inside and out. He spurs me on for the Lord! Don’t settle for any less in a man.