Today we honor a man who was bold and courageous, while still showing God’s love and grace. We are grateful for his godly example. His memory and accomplishments will live on forever.
Last week, I started a bible study by Women Living Well on the book of Exodus.
I invited a few friends and family to take this journey with me. And we have been able to share our impressions and what God is speaking to our hearts. It has been a great experience to hear the perspective of women that all live unique and different lives, but share one thing in common. Their faith in Jesus.
As a group, we observed and learned that God will use us no matter what our imperfections are, as He did with Moses. We just have to be willing and obedient to His call on our lives.
My main observation, so far, is that God will do WHATEVER it takes to redeem us and save us. He will use a persons life, speak through others, and show His mighty works, in order to capture our hearts. At the end of it all, He simply desires to be with us.
How can we now apply these truths to our lives? We must be willing to draw close to God and allow Him to speak to us. Not only that, but we must allow for God to be God in our lives. We must allow Him to be our Helper and our Redeemer.
Passage to meditate on:
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.” -Psalm 77:11-14 ESV
This year has been filled with many wonderful memories and lessons learned. I became a wife at the end of 2013 and wrote a post entitled: Confessions of a Newlywed. It was a very vulnerable post but the reward was great. That post had 143 views! In total Styld by Grace had 1,200 views. I’m hoping and praying that those 1,200 views, resulted in lives that felt encouraged, inspired, and motivated by God’s love and grace. Thank you for reading and supporting the vision of this blog.
In 2015, it’s my goal to reach even more people. And I can’t do it without you! Please keep reading, sharing, commenting, and sending me your feedback. If you feel connected to the vision of Styld by Grace and would like to share your story, contribute to Styld by Grace with fashion or design advice, or help design artwork for blog posts, please write to me in the About section. I’m looking forward to what God has in store for Styld by Grace in 2015!
And just for fun here’s a New Year’s Game that you can play with your friends and family:
2014 Year in Review Q&A Game
1. Day this year you’d live over and over
I’d relive my trip to San Diego. It was my first “big girl” work adventure. It was my first time taking a “red eye” back home, too (I wouldn’t relive the red eye, though).
2. Best conversation you had this year
There isn’t a specific conversation I can remember. But I did have great conversation with my newlywed friends about the joyous, the crazy, and the fun moments marriage brings.
3. Most memorable moment in pop culture
Hands down, John Travolta introducing Idina Menzel as “Adele Mazeem”. Need I say more?
4. Biggest lesson learned this year
I’m more selfish than I thought I was and I need to work on that. Another lesson I am learning is that I need to give people the benefit of the doubt and stop jumping to conclusions.
5. Favorite song of the year
I LOVE music. This is a hard one… Can I say my top 3 favorite songs?
3. Rude by Magic!
2. You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music
1. Heroes by Alesso
I know super random… but I like all types of music
6. Best piece of advice you got this year
“The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul.” -The Best Yes
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have a very happy new year.
My heart says, “I want more, now!” I live for tomorrow more than I live for the moment. Can you relate? I know I have a tendency to be impatient with the processes of life, but I didn’t know it was so evident to the people around me. The other night my husband and I were jokingly talking about being patient. And I asked him to be honest with me, all joking aside, if I was impatient. What he said next really made my heart sink. He said, “You’re patient with small things, but you’re impatient with life. It’s hard for you to wait.” I felt God nudge at my heart and I had nothing to say, because I knew he was right. It’s hard for me to wait because my desire for more sometimes gets in the way.
A few years back there was a very popular commercial for a telecommunications company that wanted to promote the idea that “more is better”. More coverage is better. (I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it and seen spoofs of it). It takes place in a classroom, where there are children sitting in a circle being asked “Who thinks more is better than less”? All the kids raised their hands and one adorable little girl said, “We want more, we want more, like, you really like it, you want more”. The commercial finished with a voice over that says, “It’s not complicated, more is better”.
Is more better? I believe it depends what we want more of. Sometimes wanting more things, and becoming impatient, is not a good or healthy more. Sometimes, more can be complicated. Sometimes, more can make you bankrupt, both financially and spiritually. On the other hand, more can be a blessing. More can be the fruit of the time spent harvesting. More can signify that God is moving in our lives.
Our desire, our longing for more, whether it’s a better job, a larger home, more financial security, more children, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I would submit that our worry, anxiety and the (often) extreme measures we take to obtain more, could be bad for our souls.
An unhealthy and out of control desire for more, can lead to an unrighteous and corrupt path. If we have to lie, cheat, or hurt someone to get what we want, that means our desire for more has become unhealthy. Making unsound financial decisions like over spending when we know we can’t, or going into debt just to have what someone else has, may also be a sign that our want for more, can be taking over us. Perhaps being impatient, while waiting for God to answer a prayer, and taking matter into our own hands, can also be a sign of an unhealthy desire for more. I have realized that when I can’t enjoy what I have at the moment, when I’m looking for the next best thing, I have lost sight of where my true satisfaction and fulfillment comes from.
As a newlywed, I desire to make my apartment look and feel like a home. That means furnishing our home and purchasing decor. I must admit I have been tempted to purchase more things than we can afford. It’s like this little monster that wants to come out of me, that tells me I have to have things NOW. On one of those particular days when the monster decided to peek out, I told my husband I felt really sad that I couldn’t make our home look like I wanted it to yet. I complained and complained until he felt guilty and responsible for not making it happen. And I realized that just wasn’t right. Something deeper must be going on inside my heart. A house, a home, and the stuff inside it, or the lack thereof, shouldn’t make me feel upset and it definitely shouldn’t take me to a place where I put the blame on someone else for it.
Furnishing my home is a practical example. But maybe today you’re not struggling with being financially smart. Maybe today you’re waiting for a loved one to be healed or you’re waiting to hear back on a job interview. Maybe you’ve been unemployed for a while and someone else got that job you wanted. Be encouraged today by knowing that God will answer your prayers. You don’t have to take short cuts, settle for less, or become anxious. He hears your prayers and He is working on your behalf.
God’s word tells us to live content when we have need and when we have plenty. It tells us to not worry about what we will eat or wear tomorrow. Yes I know, ladies. It’s hard enough not to think about what we will wear a month from today, let alone tomorrow. The bible even tells us to be satisfied with the job or career we have. This doesn’t mean, in anyway, that we should settle or live mediocre lives. It’s actually an encouragement to live a day at time, knowing God cares for our needs and wants. The best part is that God’s word tells us how we can achieve contentment. God tells us through His word that if we seek Him, trust Him, and seek His kingdom, our desire for more will be satisfied. This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything on our “more list” will be met, but rather, we can trust that in seeking Him we will have deeply fulfilled hearts.
In seeking God for fulfillment, our desire for more can become uncomplicated. Spending time with God continually, will set us up to have a thankful and content heart. More and more can be good when we seek more and more of God. When God becomes what we desire most, everything else pales in comparison. And when everything else pales in comparison to God, we don’t hold on to things so tightly. The Lord knows that when our hearts are full of Him, we learn to see our world differently. Being wise and taking care of what He has blessed us with, becomes a priority. When our hearts are full of God, we learn to see God in everything and we learn to appreciate today’s blessings. God’s plan is that out of the overflow from seeking Him, we will reap a harvest. That harvest will give us the resources (financial, emotional and spiritual) to do more than what we could’ve ever imagined for our families, our friends, and those who are in need. If our desire for more aligns with God’s will for us, and we are living to seek Him, we should have faith that all our needs and even our wants will be met.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give your the desires of your heart” -Psalm 37:4
What can you do today to start or continue living a life filled with more of God?
Are there any areas in your life you should hand over to God, so He can be first in your heart?
Which specific blessings have you realized are a result of being satisfied and content in God?
Matthew 6:25-26, Matthew 6:32-33, Philippians 4:12-13, Psalm 37:3-4, Ecclesiastes 3:13
I wish I could say I made this wreath myself but I didn’t (maybe next year or when I have more patience). I knew I had a specific budget that didn’t permit me to shop at stores like Pier1 or Pottery Barn. So, the next best thing was HomeGoods and it cost me less than $20.
The idea was for our home to have the traditional warm fall colors, while making the decor chic and unique. Once again, my good friend HomeGoods had the perfect pumpkins I was looking for. And they were less than or equal to $20. I also reused a vase I saved from my wedding (last year) to put natural leaves in it. The leaves were bought at Publix (my local supermarket), and the vase is from Goodwill.
Side note: it’s a good idea to save candles that are almost finished. The white and orange candle pictured above, isn’t supposed to be like that. I accidentally dropped a “pumpkin spice” candle that was gifted to me last year and shattered the glass. So I simply put what was left into an old candle. And…Voila!
YUM! Food. That’s what fall and the holiday season, is all about (kind of). These napkins were probably my biggest expense but so worth it because they can be used all year round. They have different sayings on them: yum, delish and dig in. I found those at Nordstrom for $5 each.
The accent on the napkin, pictured above, was made out of a wheat bundle that I got at Publix. I picked out a few interesting looking pieces of wheat from the bundle, arranged them together and tied them with a piece of thread. Each table setting has one mini wheat arrangement. OH, and they smell “delish”.
It’s very probable that I put this blue pumpkin (also bought at HomeGoods for less than $20) on every table or countertop in my home. It didn’t seem to look right anywhere. I have to credit my friends for inspiring me to use my tray as a decor spot. They had some fall decor in theirs, and my lightbulb came on. There were some left over leaves from the branch I bought at Publix, so I used them to add a bit of contrast to the blue pumpkin. (Pairing complimentary colors, like blue and orange, can make a simple arrangement look bolder and stronger.)
Doesn’t the candle above look cool in its “melty” stage? The candle was bought at HomeGoods, the candle holder was a wedding gift, and the tray was a gift from my neighbor. I use both the candle holder and the tray all year round.
I have a love/hate relationship with these wooden circular vases. Finding these cost efficient vases for our wedding, was not an easy task. But now they are used for a lot of my home decorating.
The rocks inside the wooden vases, hold a special place in my heart, as they are what they call “Wishing Stones”. The guest at our wedding wrote special messages on stones for us to keep. To add a little fall flare to these vases, I stacked them and added some pieces of wheat in them.
These vases are placed next to a “nook” I’m working on… hopefully I’ll have pictures of the nook soon.
By now you must have noticed how much I LOVE the rustic look. I’m obsessed! This slab is truly significant to my husband and me. It says our names, our wedding date and it was the centerpiece at our sweetheart table at our wedding. I use this everywhere in our home. This fall I am using it to hold a candle. Simple, sweet and special.
It is possible to decorate your home on a budget. Here are some tips I learned along the way:
1. Stick to your budget (Luke 16:10-13)
When I go shopping, I have decided to withdraw the amount of cash I am going to spend. No more, no less. Sometimes when I know I can SWIPE a card, it’s easy to go over my spending limit. If I didn’t have time to make it the bank, I add up the cost of the items in my cart before I reach the register. If it’s over the budget, I remove items and proceed. It’s not worth being in debt just because I “need” to have this or that.
2. Reuse and reinvent
Do some research on the web (blogs, Pinterest, google), on how you can use what you currently own for seasonal decorating. For example, if you have a white vase that you use often, search “White vase fall decor ideas”. Trays, candle holders, vases are pieces you can use all year round. All you have to do is a add seasonal flare to them.
3. Explore with color
Color adds personality and life to any room. When using complimentary color, you can be sure that your space will have a striking and bold look. Using neutral colors will make a space look elegant and timeless. If you’re afraid that a neutral look might look bland, you can add bright colors like orange or yellow to the mix.
4. Put some heart into it
Make sure to incorporate little things here and there that remind you of what’s truly important. I like to use my wishing stones as part of my decor because they remind me to be thankful for my family and friends. And my wooden slab, reminds me to honor and be faithful to the commitment I made to my husband on our wedding day.
5. It doesn’t have to be perfect
We might get caught up in buying the perfect things or making it look like an ad from a magazine, but what’s the fun in that? Perfect is boring. Get your creative juices flowing with some DIY, purchase cool inexpensive pieces, or reuse pieces you’ve forgotten about. The whole point is to have fun and make your living space feel like your home.
If you’re looking for a home decor blog that helps you stay within your budget, has amazing inspiration and practical advice, you must head over to The Nesting Place. It’s my favorite!
What ideas do you have to decorate your living space for this fall?
Do you have any practical advice, or stores you shop at, that helps you manage your budget well?