Refine me.

Ever heard that old saying “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another“?

It is proving so true right now in my spiritual life.

All of a sudden, God is making me so aware of my filthiness.

It used to be that I struggled with a few (haha- bear with me!) “big” areas of sin. Little by little, I removed/let go of these sins taking over my life. I assumed that without these sins overwhelming my heart, mind, and life, I would be “okay”. I would be so much “better”. I wouldn’t be down trodden by sin. I was so wrong!- Now that I have moved on from these things, I am so much more aware of the abundance of my life that is other sin.

Pure, filthy, ugly sin. 

Praise the Lord though that He does not leave us in this helpless state to fend for ourselves!

As I am reminded minute by minute of my constant disobedience to God, the very Lover of my soul, He is refining me. He does not give up. With His bare hands, He continues working on His masterpiece, sculpting with intense purpose.   Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

He sees potential in my mess. He has laid out a plan for my life, far better than any of my plans or wildest dreams. He doesn’t give up on me when I choose Facebook, Instagram, and gossip {#worthlessthings} over time in communion with Him {creator of the Heavens and the Earth}.

Instead, He is maturing me in the midst of the muck.

But far better than that, He has already cleansed me. He forgave/forgives me completely.

I’ll leave you with this- Just listen.

As I have listened to it the past few weeks, I thought Landon sang, “For I am your God, I will still give you away.” haha- go figure! My girly mind goes straight to thinking of a wedding…  I finally googled it today to find the lyrics are actually, “I will still give you aid.”

However, I am choosing to stick with my version. My God is so merciful, He will still “give me away”; He will present me blameless. (Isaiah 41:10 and Phillipians 2:15) I am forever thankful for that grace that washes me clean each and every day.

Blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness to those with little faith,

Updates!

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The everyday accessory

I admired dogeared necklaces on other people for the longest time before I finally got my own! However, ever since I took the plunge and purchased one for myself, it can constantly be found around my neck. I literally only take mine off occasionally for a statement necklace.

http://www.dogeared.com

I purchased this one first for one of my best friends.

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Then I had to have an outline of a cross although I think it has recently been discontinued.. I can’t find a picture for you anywhere!  Sadly, after about 6 months of wear and tear, It broke 😦

So, Mitchell replaced it with this one- I think my favorite!!

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And my current one. (A Christmas gift from Mrs. Brenda! Thank you)

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They sell for $40-60 each, and they are definitely versatile enough to make that price reasonable.

You need one. Its the accessory you literally do not have to think about but other people will!

DWYS: 2

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20130419-DSC_394220130419-DSC_3953 20130419-DSC_394820130419-DSC_395020130419-DSC_394720130419-DSC_3976Just for kicks, this little beauty had to join in on the fun!

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Shirt: Old Navy, Chambray

Leopard Belt: Kohls

Shorts: Ann Taylor LOFT (love em so much I also own the denim!)

Coral Earrings: Target

Don’t let a low budget keep you down!! Some Target, Kohls, and Old Navy finds put together with purpose can stand beside the J Crew ensembles any day!

Lies

Cleaning my room is no fun and a lot of fun at the same time. I love some of the stuff I find; and even end up thinking “who is this girl?” about things long forgotten. It actually cracks me up.

But Thursday night, I found a notebook with notes from a bible study Lauren and I led last semester. I want to share a few things with you just to spur your thinking, if nothing more.

3 big lies women believe:

{1} Who I am and What I Struggle With are the same thing.     Isn’t that an easy trap to fall into? It makes me think of the AA thing.. “I am Billy, and I am an alcoholic.”

{2} Who I Am and What I Do are the same thing.    This is similar yet different. It is more about letting your job, sorority, or hobby define you. Yes, they are apart of you, but not who you are.

{3} Who I Am is not good enough.     Can I get an amen? As women, it can be a constant battle to fight against Satan whispering this in our ears.

Let’s no longer believe these lies. What if we let Jesus Christ’s identity truly affect ours. Would that impact our behavior and daily lives? Would we let it impact more than our words, actions, and the bumper stickers on our car, but our thoughts too?!

Our behavior and thoughts represent our beliefs. But I would go further to say our behavior and thoughts reveal our beliefs.

This shocked me.. it was so spot on. It was so convicting. I hope to throw off these lies and run without abandon into the arms of the Man who speaks only truth- life giving truth- as I enter my twenties.

Truths to replace these lies: 

{1} What you struggle with does not define you.

{2} What you do does not dictate who you are.

{3} We, YOU, are good enough. You were made in the hands of the Almighty carpenter.

Carry these truths with you and have a sweet, relaxing weekend. xoxo

To Much Lacquer

You’re probably wondering what I meant in my last post by whitening my toenails. No, it isn’t some sort of Michael Jackson stunt… just the testing of another one of those Pinterest ideas!

My toenails are never bare. I literally take one color off just to re paint them with something new. Now, they seem to be screaming for air. They look pretty bad- extremely yellow.

Here’s the before: (they have actually improved a lot on their own since tuesday)

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I don’t think the picture accurately shows just how bad they are!

Anyways, I decided to try two different ideas I have seen “pinned” at the same time.

{1} whitening toothpaste

{2} hydrogen peroxide

photo 3I simply applied each substance with an old toothbrush and let it sit for five minutes. Then after 5 minutes, applied again and let it stay until my toes had been covered for a full ten minutes!

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Rinsed… &

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TA-DAH! Oh wait, I don’t see much of a difference. Maybe a tiny improvement, but it looks like fresh air and bare nails are the only thing that will actually heal this nastiness!

I guess it turns out everything pinteresting can’t be miraculous.

*** An extra tip~ hydrogen peroxide is GREAT for teeth whitening. Wet your toothbrush in it, brush all over the fronts of your teeth.. with mouth open, let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then, put toothpaste on your brush and go on with brushing as you normally would! I see results in just days- promise ya.

Where is your mind set?

This morning, I woke up feeling just kind of BLAH… Not for any particular reason, just out of it sort of. My back aches a lot when I wake up (mild scoliosis + addiction to stomach sleeping)… so that didn’t help.

I reached for my Bible and journal **after checking twitter, facebook, instagram, and email– {nobody’s perfect}. After prayer journaling a bit, I wasn’t feeling into that either. I was praying specifically, “I feel sad for some reason, would You lift my head?”

I decided to open the Word and look up a couple verses Rachel sent this morning.

-Ephesians 6:19

&

-Colossians 3:1-4

which says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

via Pinterest

via Pinterest

Ok God, I hear You. My funk is due to where my mind is. Class, back aches, my birthday, and the number on the scale are of this earth. They are worthless compared to the things of your Kingdom.

I think Colossians 3:5 needs to be repeated in my mind throughout everyday:

 Put to death what is earthly in you.

Easier said than done, right? But let’s all do it today, with the help of the one who is above all things. He is even above the tragedy in Boston yesterday. We were surprised/saddened/hurt by it. But to our God, it was no surprise at all. Let’s find peace in that.

Completely unrelated but while you’re here, check this out.

homemade granola

granola

My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Elder, instagrammed a picture the other day of some granola she was making that could make your mouth water!

I had to have the recipe- & share it with all of you!

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 ½ cups sliced almonds (slivered)

½ cup packed light brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

1 ½ cups raisins (Craisins are good too!)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  In a saucepan, warm the oil and honey. Stir in vanilla. Pour liquid over oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon.

Then spread granola in a baking pan or cookie sheet.  Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Stir in raisins. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 wk or freeze for 3 months.

photo 2After class today, I decided it was time to give her granola a whirl! I changed the recipe up a little bit, simply because I wanted a smaller portion, and I wanted it immediately… story of my life.

I used:

2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill 5 grain cereal

1/2 c of lightly salted almonds I chopped myself

1/4 c dark brown sugar

dashes of both salt & cinnamon

1/8 c vegetable oil

1/8 c honey (+ a drizzle because I adore honey)

a few drops of vanilla

1/2 c raisins

photo 1give this mix a try then eat with milk, on top of yogurt, on a sweet potato, or all alone!

It tastes fabulous and will have your home smelling amazing.

 

Pretty for Pennies

I love decorating & a good project!

College has created a lot of opportunity for some low level interior design! New rooms the last 2 years = so much fun!!! My freshman year, it was such a special time, money wasn’t such an issue. However, when I decided to move into a house for my Sophomore year and hardly wanted to reuse any of my same stuff, finding budget friendly finds was a must!!

Let me take you on a tour of my current room & show you where I was able to cut the cost without cutting corners!

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Our living room

This may have been my favorite find last summer! After weeks of craigslist watching and shopping around, I found this couch! It was quite a gem for the price… drum roll please… I paid $52 for this baby!

Abbington Consignment in Collierville had it in their back room. It was listed at just between $75 & $100 and I thought, “well, it will get good use, let’s do it!” When I let the sweet lady there know I wanted to make it mine, she shared the little secret with me that for every month an item stays in their store, it is 10% off! That brought us to $52 and a great addition to our college living room- It has served us well!

The patterned pillow and tan throws are Walmart finds- just $6.00 each! I rounded out the “unneccessary fluffiness” 😉 with 2 soft blue pillows from TJ Maxx- $9 for the pair!

My roommates moved in before I did, and we hadn’t thought into how cold tile would be for our toes! So I set out for a fun, but affordable rug before heading to Starkville. Tuesday Morning served me well… $59! A little more than I would think a rug is worth, but it turns out they go for way more than that!

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My room- A collaboration

My room turned out better than I could have asked! The size is perfect… I really wanted to be able to use my loveseat.

The patterned curtains are Target- Threshold Ferrah Fretwork- I waited months for them to go on sale and I think spent $19.

The lamps I found at Dirt Cheap in Starkville (Target brand). I started with two of the lamp you see on the right- bought them for $5/piece. They were white, shiny, and shadeless, but I knew they could be improved. I covered them in textured brown spray paint and adorned them with Target shades. The day of move in, one of them took a dive for the drive way and shattered! I’ve learned to love the mismatched look now. (I forgive you, Dad ;))

Under the lamps, nightstands handmade by my dad and I with scrap wood we had laying around- FREE! They were inspired by these lovelies on Pinterest. They are the exact same design; I just chose to leave the wood raw. May paint them someday!

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The white sheets on my bed are also Target-Fieldcrest, purchased at dirt cheap. I think the entire set was $10- I’m telling you, that place is like a gold mine.

Shams were West Elm SUPER SALE! They would have cost an arm AND a leg if it weren’t for the sale… That place doesn’t get my money often!

Two throw pillows here are both Pier One! (Thanks Mom!)

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Another favorite find, the love seat. Throughout my search for a couch, I thought how fun it would be to have a small sitting area in my room for friends, coffee and quiet time, or just chilling! After looking at day beds, chairs, benches, etc, I had pretty much decided there just wasn’t money to include that.

One Friday, Mitchell and I headed to an estate sale (stil looking for a couch) and found this! It was in great condition and they were only asking $25!! I thought it would go great with all the white and brown I had already incorporated- had to have it!185928_10151018912053759_1759079055_n

This antique wardrobe was given to me by the greatest family friend ever. I just love the look of it… the storage space and full length mirror make it 10x better! The free price tag is always nice too 😉

Don’t waste your money just for a pretty room!

Be patient (who am I to give that advice?!), look around everywhere you go, see the character/potential in items, and don’t be afraid to DIY!

Happy Friday, friends!

“nothing else even comes close”

“I’m going to need a full set.”

“Acrylic, please!”

If this sounds like your trips to the nail salon, I know you natural nails are in need of some rescuing. I used acrylic nails for years even though I knew they tore my natural nails to pieces. When I would finally remove them, I knew I would have to baby them for months before they were actually strong nails again. The acrylic was gone, but I was left with soft brittle nails that would practically split in half when I attempted to open a ziploc.

I have, after years of searching, found the remedy! Thanks to my roommate on this one… She is the nail queen.

Formula 2 by nailitiques. Their company tagline is “nothing else even comes close” and that could not be more true. It does cost a pretty penny, but I’m telling you, it is a miracle in a bottle. Totally worth the splurge!

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They claim their formulas were created to treat different nail conditions. The salon-tested formulations offer special combinations of ingredients, including hydrolyzed keratin and protein in combination with gelatin and calcium to build a healthy nail foundation. The protein formulas bond the nail layers together building a strong nail foundation resistant to peeling, chipping and splitting.

Nails will see marked improvement when treated with Formula 2. This formula consists of a unique blend of protein and conditioners. The protein immediately acts to help bond nails that are splitting or peeling. Formula 2 helps strengthen the nail resulting in long, strong and healthy nails.

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One of my favorite products ever- and if that isn’t enough… It is one of InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys!

Pick some up at your local Walgreens or CVS! I’ve already talked my Mom out of the artificial habit- YOU should be next!