Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bess' Back to School Lookbook (Volume 2)

Message in a Messenger Bag

Find the right bag.

Brooching the Subject

Adding pins to your school bag, jacket, & other wardrobe pieces can really make your look pop! I love to shop garage sales & thrift shops for great vintage brooches.

Old Lace

Try your hand at recreating the Red Valentino gray lacey top! Take a gray tee & ruffled black lace of various widths (or you could ruffle it yourself while you sew), & sew it on the shirt horizontally. Your version could easily cost less than $10, the top featured here retails for around $395!

Best Foot Forward

Put your best foot forward.

The Denim Jacket

Denim is always 'in.'

The Notebook

Don't forget! Jot it down!

Monday, August 30, 2010

"100 Prayers/100 Praise Songs": Children's Book Review

Have you ever heard a small child pray out loud? As a preschool-age class teacher at my church, I’ve heard many prayers lifted to the Father from tiny voices. These prayers have made me laugh, warmed my heart, made me sigh in disbelief, & even made me think. Prayer is a powerful tool, even in the hands of children. Through the Book Sneeze program & Tommy Nelson publishers I was offered a free copy of “100 Prayers God Loves to Hear/100 Praise Songs” created by Stephen Elkins. In exchange for the complimentary book I am to provide an honest review. Here’s what I have to say… This book paired with its sweet prayers & illustrations is the perfect way to show the child in your life (I’d say around age 3 – 4th or 5th grade) the significance of prayer. Not only are there 100 prayers included, but 100 praise songs (one paired to each prayer) on 2 CDs! This book is a wonderful value & would make an excellent devotional time for you & your child(ren). Each prayer in the book has a few sentences explaining the story behind it, an illustration, & a “My Little Prayer Reminder” which usually comes in the form of a Bible verse or quote. Some of the prayers are traditional ones that many will remember from childhood past, while others are more unique penned by various saints from Bible times up through today. I thoroughly enjoyed the book until the last prayer, which instructs children to “pray” Jesus into their hearts. I’ve thought long about this, thinking maybe I was just nagging, but the Bible says these things:

Peter said to them, "Change your hearts & lives & be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, for your children, & for all who are far away. It is for everyone the Lord our God calls to Himself… Then those people who accepted what Peter said were baptized. About three thousand people were added to the number of believers that day." -Acts 2:38-39, 41

But Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless one is born from water & the Spirit, he cannot enter God's kingdom." -John 3:5

I can’t look over those verses or pick & choose what I want to from God’s Word so that it will fit my human desires. Until that last prayer I was truly pleased with the book, but what is said in the last few sentences is quite a big mistake. It is not myself that anyone should argue with, because it’s not my words, but God’s Word. So, if the last four sentences aren’t read, the book is well worth it.

Bookish Blessings,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fast Food Muse Tutorial: Barista Hair Sticks

Yes, I know it has taken me forever & a day to post this – the 2nd installment in the Fast Food Muse posts - I’m sorry! I’m sure I’ve been starving your Tuesday Tutorial loving selves…that is, if you are a Tuesday-Tutorial-ophile. Life has been the epitome of fast. Fast decisions, fast planning, & even fast eating. So, who am I kidding? I can’t honestly say I’m going to take back up the Tuesday Tutorial schedule, but there WILL be tutorials…sometime. =)

Bess’ Handy Dictionary Definition
Barista: a maker & server of that wake-me-up-in-the-morning institution of coffee
(I actually don’t drink the stuff!)

-McDonald’s Coffee Stirrers (2)
-Lace, Buttons, Ribbon, Stickers, Jewels (Pretty Much Whatever)
-Glue (Hot Glue is Usually Best & a Crafter’s Best Friend=)

Okay, here’s the recipe for these cheap & chic hair sticks…
Stop by your local McDonalds (purchasing is optional=), & casually slip 2 coffee stirrers into your pocket. Yes, this is part craft project part spy mission. =) Next, take them home & decorate ‘em anyway you like. I used 2 Chanel fragrance sample papers (You know those ones at department store counters that you can spritz with uber-expensive perfume?). Another freebie; I know there should be a support group somewhere I could join. =) I glued lace around the fragrance papers & made sure that the McDonalds emblems were completely out of sight, & voila! Red-haired clown approved…well, maybe not, but definitely cute & thrifty, what more could you want in a project? NOTE: Not intended to be used as a hair stick combination coffee stirrer. Very ill advised.

Lots of Love,

P.S.: Further Instructions… Just put hair in bun, (No, not hamburger bun...um, you’ve got sesame seeds in your hair.) then put hair sticks through bun in an ‘X’ shape. Yes, you could also use chopsticks!

"I can do all things through prayer & coffee." -Source Unknown

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bess' Back to School Lookbook (Volume 1)

Back to School


Smart-tees - Nothing like a cute graphic tee to show your personalitee!
Oh, Patches!

Girl Scout secret handshake not required.
Backpack It

Be prepared!

Pouch Power

Pouches pack a mean organizing punch.
Blazing a New Trail

Blaze a new trail.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How's Your Light Switch?

How's Your Light Switch?

I remember the first day of my freshman year in college with a grin & a bit of a sigh. Yes, it was one of those days…full of excitement & nervousness…with a pinch of clumsiness on my part. Okay, okay, here’s how it went down.

Student IDs were a requirement. You needed them to check out library books, prove you were in fact you, & sell back outrageously priced textbooks to the bookstore for a meager profit at the end of the year (by the way, personally, I highly recommend amazon.com or some other online source for your books). I decided I would be oh-so-on-top-of-things & get mine the first day. After all, it was the first day of school & I looked first day of school cute after careful clothing consideration. I headed to the student center where the ID office was located on the top floor. I let out a small groan when I saw a line snaking out of the office. It was a small groan because the line wasn’t too long, but long enough to be groan-worthy. I staked my place in the back. Finally making it just inside the office, having crept at a snail’s pace, I lean my back against the wall. Suddenly the lights go out. A small moment of chaos & one student’s ID photo likely coming out completely black followed…& then groan of groans (internally), I learn I was leaning against the light switch.

Sometimes, it’s like that. You learn you’ve been leaning against the light switch. I tried to laugh it off, but I was glad when I had my ID in hand & could flee. This makes me think of the light of Jesus we are supposed to be shining as Christians, His children. Having gone to public school & a secular college, I know the mission field that these places are. Students are hungry to find something to fill their voids. Many have already tried lots & lots of things that have left them just as empty or, in some cases, even emptier. As you head back to school this year, are you preparing to keep that switch turned to the ‘on’ position…even when it makes you stand out…lose friends…be laughed at? It’s not always easy to keep the switch on & your light shining. Sometimes, like me, you don’t even realize you’ve been leaning on the switch & sitting in the darkness. Remember Jesus on the cross & how that was in no way easy – having Your creations, Your children, turn upon You in a murderous mob. They have no idea as they hurl their insults & use their tools of cruelty, that the One they are subjecting all this to, is in fact paving a path for them to everlasting life. Now, when you are about to flip the switch & hide in the darkness, remember that the One who died on the cross is living in you & will not leave you. Your strength will not be enough, but His is, & Christ in you is the power source of your Light. Don’t turn it off, abandoning your power source, seeking to hide in the darkness ashamed & hurting. Just think, that person who walks around with a black ID photo, full of lonely & longing voids & scars, could be looking around for a bit of light. Will your light be turned on?

Love & Light by the Bus Load,

P.S.: Yes, this is a true story.

Four Things Tag

I was tagged by Katie from "Stay-At-Home Daughter." Thanks Katie!

Directions: List 4 things in each category.

4 Things in My Purse:
-5 Pence Coin From Jolly Old Scotland
-Gum Wrapper
-Car Keys
-A Large Flat Nail (My Church Gave These Out One Sunday) to Remember Jesus’ Sacrifice (I Keep it in My Wallet)

4 Things in My Room:
-A Pillow Shaped Like a “B”
-A Bright Purple Desk Chair
-My Bible
-A Box (Hidden Away) Full of Party Supplies for My First Kiss Party =)

4 Things I’m Currently Into:
-Waking Up Early (Okay, So I’m Not “Into” It, But I Have to Do it Anyways for My Work)
-The Song “No Matter What” by Kerrie Roberts (It Plays Constantly on My Car Radio – Yes Heavenly Father, I Hear You=)
-Laughing (Yes, I’m Always Into This)
-Eating Chocolate (Hey, It Was Majorly on Sale!=)

4 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Me:
-I’ve Always Wanted to be a Surfer Girl (Hang Ten!=)
-I Love Talking to the Elderly Ladies at my Church (They Have So Many Experiences to Share + Love to Give)
-I’ve Been an Aunt Since I Was 4
-My Wackiest/Wildest College Course Taken Was Stone Carving (Yes, I Thought I Could Be Michelangelo! Who Was I Kidding?)

I tag anyone & everyone! Yes, it's free for the taking.

Love & Blessings by the Bushel,

P.S.: Back to school posts coming soon...=)

Monday, August 16, 2010

10 Days of Missing My Gal Pals

Okay, so I haven’t been on here in a million trillion years…well, not exactly - 10 days to be exact, but it’s felt like forever. I survived my first week at my new job. It’s been one of the most stressful & hard weeks in a long time…& I know there’s more (tons) of more hard work ahead. I’ve got to keep my hand in my Father’s strong & perfect one. My little hand that shakes with fear, tightens with worry, & is too often dirty with sin fits somehow perfectly in His. I’m so glad. But, I’ve got to make sure I don’t pull my hand away. He’ll never leave me or loosen His grasp, but I can twist, turn, & tug until I’m “free” & soon discover freedom from Him is where true fear lies…& manacles that bind me down, leaving me easy prey for watchful fiery dragons. As back-to-school time envelopes you with busy trips to purchase binders, No. 2’s, & graphing calculators, & the nervous back-to-school butterflies begin their annual migration to your insides, remember to hold on tight to the Father’s hand. He won’t let you go…

Love You Smart Girls,

P.S.: This life is SO tough.
P.P.S.: Watch out for fire breathing monsters! =) 

Friday, August 6, 2010


Hello, I feel like I’m in a crazy whirlwind. My head’s fuzzy with thoughts coming in all directions, but amidst all the confusion is praise! I got a job! It’s only a temporary position, but it gets my foot in the door…& I finally get to truly do what I went to school for! Thank You, Jesus!

My job starts Monday & involves a lot of planning, so I won’t be so frequent on here, but I’ll be around. Oh, I’m so excited & anxious all rolled into one! Thank you to all my sisters-in-Christ who prayed for me during this time! Love ya!


Dear Father,
Thank You for providing me with this opportunity! Thank You for being patient & forgiving when I was worried, angry, & untrusting. I should have believed in my heart (& mind) that all along You had a plan. Please forgive me for all the times I didn’t. Now that this has come, I am worried & anxious again about doing well in my new job, but I’m trusting You for help. Guide me Father in my new position; help me to stand for You in my workplace & make it my ministry. Help me when I’m unsure & so nervous inside. Thank You! I love & praise Your holy Name! May I be a blessing in Your name, & may all the praise be Yours alone!
In Jesus’ Name,

Oh, I feel completely crazy right now. I just learned that I was recommended for the position yesterday, it was confirmed today, & I start Monday! Whew! I thought this day would never come! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Love

Living WaterFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

When I was younger – say 13 or 14 & on up through my teen years – each summer brought with it the promise of a summer vacation, & with that, came the possibility of a summer love (at least in my mind). Yes, I thought, or more like dreamed, that on one of these (typically week-long) family excursions I would meet someone poolside (cause that was the perfect spot) & experience a whirlwind romance. I blame tv for this! I think I’ve watched more than a couple shows where the writers thought this a great premise. So, prior to each trip I’d meticulously pack with romance heavily on my mind…flashback: Hmmm, I could need this fancy top. Oh, & definitely those dangly (clip on=) earrings; they’d look great with my swimsuit. Make-up was even worse…flashback: I’d like to have that perfume along if I meet ‘the one.’ I need that shiny pink lipstick, that gloss, oh, & that sparkly body glitter + eye shadow combo. I look back & see that I was crazy (& I blame tv). But, then again, what’s so loony about wanting to be loved & wanted by another? That’s normal human behavior 101, right? Right.

I guess you’re wondering if I ever did meet someone. No. I’d don my glittery face & my high heeled sandals & dangly earrings, & no one seemed to care (accept my aching feet & ears (clip ons hurt like crazy)). Summer vacation after summer vacation, I was left disappointed & wanting… This reminds me of a Bible story. You know, the one about Jesus & the woman at the well…(John 4:1-42) The woman was a Samaritan, & Samaritans & Jews just didn’t mix, but Jesus spoke to her anyways as she came to draw water. Samaritans & Jews were sorta like hunks (or males in general) & me at the pool. Jesus spoke to her because He cared about her. We learn that this “lady” was wanting too, when Jesus shares her life story with her, “…you have had five husbands, & the man you now have is not your husband.” (John 4:18). Yep, it sounds like this Samaritan woman was truly wanting, but everything (or everyone) she found to satisfy her didn’t last or fulfill…she was still thirsty for more…nothing satisfied. Jesus offers her the greatest gift & what she needs as they talk by the well: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14). Through accepting Jesus Christ (the Living Water) & becoming new through Him she could find that which would fill her up for good. Through Jesus her life & lifestyle could be changed, & more importantly her eternity.

You know, even though I still haven’t had the whirlwind romance poolside (or otherwise) that I used to dream of, I have a true love in my God, just like the Samaritan woman, who by the way, went back & told her whole village about Jesus…& through such led many to believe. Amazing! I think about those days when I would pour my all into my appearance & what I put on my body – then I think about the things I pour my all into today - & I wonder why more times than not I haven’t given God so much enthusiasm, time, & love. It’s time to stop & take a visit to the wellspring for refreshment & redirection.

Taking time to pray & just talk with the Father about your struggles & dreams is a great place to start; He loves to hear from you! Ask Him to help reignite your passion for Him; let your Heavenly Daddy know you want to give Him everything & serve Him with your life. Ask Him for guidance & direction, & for help when your mind slips to other things & you soon find your whole self consumed with your new recent obsession. Nothing will ever fulfill you like a true relationship with Jesus, if you try others things instead, you’ll find yourself in the same spot as the Samaritan woman prior her change of heart at the well, thirsty & still wanting. I know you’ve likely heard this message many times before – you know, the don’t be lonely for a boyfriend, cause God’s your truest love – well, it is completely the truth, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. When, you find yourself like me, feeling like a vacation beauty queen wanna-be with no secret admirers in sight, just remember God is with you. He calls you beautiful even when He’s seen all the wrong stuff you’ve done; let’s face it the Don Juan you meet at the pool wouldn’t. He knows when you feel lonely & hurt, & He understands & cares &, yes, loves you beyond description. Here’s another thing, if you haven’t found all your fulfillment in Him – cause you haven’t accepted Him as your Savior yet (see Good News tab) or still cling to parts of your life & haven’t given total surrender & commitment to Him, how do you think you’ll ever find the true satisfaction for your thirst with a mortal man who’s full of mistakes? If the only perfect One, God, can’t satisfy you, how could a so imperfect male? Know that God is the truest love you will ever have. He knows so completely every detail about you, after all, He made you; & if that weren’t enough He shows the true depth of His love in the giving of His Son, Jesus, who He gave to die upon a cross so that we would not have to be separated from Him. Yes, that’s the true stuff that quenches the thirst in your heart for good. (So much better than a poolside fling!=)

Love From the Imperfect, Though No Longer Thirsty,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tammy: Fashion Muse

Did you guys enjoy the 1st ever Girls Night at the Movies?  I hope you did!  If you didn't get to watch the flick yet feel free to anytime!  
I love Tammy!  Debbie Reynolds plays the part so perfectly!  You know, I'm even inspired by Tammy's back-woodsy fashion sense.  Let me show you what I mean...
Tammy on the 'Ellen B.'Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

The set above was inspired by Tammy's attire while afloat on the 'Ellen B.' (the houseboat she shares with her grandpa).  To capture this look: roll up your jeans, braid your hair, put on an old calico button down, & hitch your britches up with a ready-made rope belt. =)
The below set was created with Tammy's bathing costume in mind.  I tried to update the look for today, but still keep the basic style from the film. 
Tammy's Dip in the RiverFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

My Tammy Picks
L.E.I. Onnolee Plaid Ruffled Shirt - www.walmart.com - $10

Faded Glory Jean Capris - www.walmart.com - $12

"Tammy & the Bachelor"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ask Me!

Hello! Did you notice the Girl Talk link under the header (see top of blog) has been changed? Yes, the wildly unpopular (hey, that’s okay=), Girl Talk is officially kaput. In its stead I have a new creation – okay, that’s strangely making me sound like a mad scientist (Yikes!). Ask Bess is the monster’s name…arm your villagers with torches & sundry weapons, & gather them in an angry mob… Okay, okay, that’s enough of that! =) Anywho, Ask Bess is a new feature, & a pretty self explanatory one, but here I go anyway…

Got a question for me, need advice, or just want a listening ear? Click on the “Ask Bess” link under my header. I’d be happy to give you my thoughts (free of charge=). What are sisters-in-Christ for?! Simply leave me a comment/question on my Ask Bess page + tell me…
-if you don’t want your comment published (if you don’t tell me not to, I’ll think it’s okay to publish – so let me know if it’s not=)
-if you want your answer published or sent to you privately through your blog or other means
+Feel free to leave an anonymous note &/or provide me with a nom de plume (Bess’ Handy Dictionary Definition – nom de plume: pen name), such as Wondering, Uncertain, Hopeful, or Wishing.

I may occasionally post about questions asked + my answers, but only if the asker has not specified no publishing. So, let the asking begin…well, that is, whenever you have a question!

Love From Your Sis,