Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let's Take It: Freedom

Be Free...



Those bumper stickers are right: 'Freedom isn't free.'  Christ bought our emancipation with His life.  Let's not waste it by living in fearful shadows... step into His Light.  I'm striving to... even in the valley.

P.S.: Thanks for your outpouring of love & prayers!  You all are the best sisters-in-Christ around, & I love you so much. Thank you for each & every note of encouragement & prayer for my family... & for showing Christ's love.

Prayer Request Update {Urgent}

Hi girls...  Late yesterday my parents came home from the doctor...  My stepfather has stage 4 cancer - it's very rare & aggressive & can only be treated, not cured.  Please pray for him, my mom, & family.  He starts his 1st 6 hour chemo treatment Wednesday.  It's especially hard cause my real {amazing} dad died about 10 years ago, my stepfather & I have had a strained relationship in the past...not to mention I'm moving into my 1st apartment the day before he starts his treatment.  Please pray...  God can work miracles.  If he doesn't get treatment he could die in 6 months...if he gets treatment (& it works) it may prolong his life for 4 or 5 years after the treatment is complete.  What do you do when you know you may only have 4 or 5 years left?  I'm working on trusting God & leaning upon Him. 

Love you all & thanks for your prayers -they mean so much.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Helen Keller's Words

Helen Keller

Can you imagine living in darkness - darkness that is paired with silence?  It seems the most cruel of partnerships.  This was Helen Keller's life after an illness took both her sight & ability to hear when she was less than two years old. The world {& perhaps even you & I} could easily write-off Miss Keller as a lost cause; no life – no true life – would ever be hers. Listen to the words of Miss Keller {rendered through sign language} & think again…       

No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.

Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.

When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

I can see, and that is why I can be happy, in what you call the dark, but which to me is golden. I can see a God-made world, not a manmade world.

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.

Faith is a mockery if it does not teach us that we can build a more complete and beautiful world.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

I don't want to spend my life - I want to invest it. I want to invest it in something that will last. I want to invest in eternity!
Cinderella Life

Live Life

Did you think again?  What challenges in life can possibly stand with the conqueror of faith, hard work, prayer, & the Maker of it all?  

Love You,

*All words in blue are Helen Keller's.   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cordelia Ear Warmer {Wedgwood Inspired}

Ever since I turned over a classic pale cornflower-bluish miniature ceramic keepsake at a tag sale & saw the word “Wedgwood” stamped on the dainty thing, I’ve been a lover of the English pottery empire. The company’s been around since 1759 & today they’re still going strong! So they must be doing something right! Right? Well, I think so, cause the fated day I turned over that matte finished piece of Wedgwood Jasperware (one of their most popular styles), I’ve been a collector! I’ve got about 3 or so small pieces now from yard sales & thrift stores (yes, you can occasionally find treasures like that at those frugal-loving establishments=). I love Wedgwood so much it inspired today’s bit of crafty couture!

What You Need…
-ear warmer (I got mine at Joann’s for $1!)
-needle & thread / scissors
-cameo button

What To Do…
Cut about a 20-25 inch long (I forgot to measure the length (whoopsie) when I made mine - so this is my educated guess) by about 5 inches wide piece of tulle. Thread your needle & tie a knot near the end of your thread (so the thread won't slip through the tulle). Sew a straight line down the middle of the tulle by hand & then gather in a ruffle (you do this by holding one end of the thread & sliding the tulle down (gathering it close together)). Gather the ruffles in a circular shape & sew in the middle to keep it secure. Position the tulle on the ear warmer to your liking. Sew the ruffled tulle onto the ear warmer & then sew on the cameo button. Tie the thread in a knot on the back to secure. Next time your ears feel the bitter winter’s chill put on this whimsical, yet functional, addition inspired by that timeless English pottery: Wedgwood.

Love to You,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mid-January Grace

Mid January

There’s something about mid-January…

Each New Year resolutions are penned to paper – January 1st, itself, feels like a fresh page & a new chapter. You’ve got great goals in mind to make for a fantastic story. You stare the possibility of perfection in the face & smile, cause this New Year feels like a new day! Your page is clear of smudges & regrets that can’t be rewritten or erased by your own means. Life looks good. You’re gonna let God guide you & truly live for Him, full force, this year. You want to please Him, cause He loves you so. Plans are set to let go of the old sinful stuff of the past…‘not again…not this year’…

And, then something happens – you give up or give in or listen to the lies - & mid-January you’ve already made a major blot on your clean page. Perfection is shattered & you feel ashamed & unlovable. How do I know? Cause I’m writing about me, that’s how.

Sin comes in & turns our snow white pages black; ragged-edged holes form when we try to get rid of the wrong we wrote ourselves, but can’t. As God’s girls we want that perfection, but it’s not possible – we’re gonna mess up. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t strive to become more & more like our perfect Jesus – just because as products of the Fall, we are going to fall, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get back up & keep moving forward. We must strive. What we mustn’t do is listen to the devil’s deceitful tongue, when he whispers in our ears as we look over our freshly tainted pages with shameful pain: “God doesn’t love you. How could He love someone so dirty as you? … He can’t forgive you, you know. Your sins are too much & too many. Maybe once He could forgive you, but not this many times! … There is no way that God can use someone like you! What are you thinking? Look at your sins & then tell me that you think God has a special plan for you.” Those are his lies.

The truth is God came for those with messed up stories. And, the funny thing is, when He did, we found out we’re all the same & that no one’s life is unblemished concerning sin - we've all got smudges. He came because He loves us, wants to forgive us, & use us in His grand story. You see, it’s only through Him that our sin – no matter how black – can be made clean again & our page can finally be restored & healed, ready again for beautiful words to be written. We will make mistakes & feel the anguish of failure & the ugliness of sin (I know I have), but there is forgiveness, cleansing, mercy, & grace through the blood of Christ!  Don't let lies discount the fact that, if you are Christ's follower, you have been redeemed of all your sinful stains.    

The thing that makes our story so fantastic is that Jesus came to earth to die (cause He loves us unfathomably) for our sins – so that we could find – not the perfect life – but forgiveness & freedom… the power to take our ugliness & anguish to Jesus with a sorry & repentant heart & still have a happy ending… & that, dear girl, is where true life begins.

Mid January Grace

“…Wash me, & I will be whiter than snow.” –Psalm 51:7

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, & renew a steadfast spirit within me.” –Psalm 51:10

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities…as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on His children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear [revere & trust in] Him.” –Psalm 103:10,12-13

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Big Etsy Announcement

Winsome Bess

I’m excited to announce the grand opening of my first ever Etsy shop: Winsome Bess! Currently Winsome Bess is offering a plethora of earrings for sale! In the coming days & weeks I’m planning on extending my offerings to other things – such as more jewelry, accessories, & vintage finds. Head on over & see what’s for sale! It’s all designed & handmade by me! =)

Click here... Winsome Bess


Winsome is one of my favorite words. It means charming, attractive, winning… I’ve heard it said from someone (I can’t remember who) that you have to be winsome to win some – “win some” to Christ that is. The speaker said your spirit should be one that makes people wonder what it is about you (that looks so attractive) that makes you different (your life in Christ, that is). So, I’m constantly striving for winsome-hood… & thus you now know the story behind my shop’s name!


P.S.: My stepfather still needs prayers, but thankfully he was able to come home from the hospital a few days ago.

P.P.S.: I made a snowman & snowwomen today! =) We got snow again…it’s so unusual for us!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fashionable Resolutions

The Cyclist

1. Move it.

Mixed Messages

2. Write more letters.

Postcard Pretty

3. Say 'I love you' often.

Fringe Benefits

4. Be me without apology.

Cherry On Top

5. Live adventurously.

My Fashion Resolutions

Thursday, January 6, 2011

5 Things You Don’t Know About Bess + New Blog Schedule

1. I love to skateboard! I bought a board for my birthday last Nov. & have been rolling along =) ever since! You see, I always wanted to be a surfer girl, but I don’t live near an ocean + I have a terrible fear of sharks, so this is the next best thing. I’ve gotten the basic hang of it…now I just need to learn how to jump fire hydrants & stuff! =) (Yeah, right, I’m sure I can do that…Sure…Well, with lots of practice & lots of padding & prayers, maybe.=)

2. I’m planning on opening up shop (an Etsy shop, that is) very soon! I’ll let you know when, so you can be one of my 1st customers! =)

3. My new *old* favorite tv show is That Girl! I just love it! (I’ll be posting about the retro fashion inspiration from the show sometime this month or next.)

4. This month’s music (turn up your speakers) features some songs I handpicked for the New Year…songs that are some of my favs! Yep, I’m totally dancing around & singing right now (thankfully I'm alone=)!

5. I’m planning on moving out this year into my own space!!!

Here’s my new blog schedule…
1st Friday: Modest Fashion
2nd Friday: Godly Girl Talk
3rd Friday: Craftiness
4th Friday: Miscellanea =)

So, I’ll be posting Fridays in this new year. Occasionally I’ll post more frequently, but at least on Fridays you should find a new post here on Bess’ Bag! I don’t want to find myself handcuffed to a computer in 2011!=)

Love Ya Much,

P.S.: Thanks SO much for all your prayers for my stepfather & family. He’s still in the hospital, but will likely be coming home very soon. However, they think he might have cancer…they can’t be certain yet, but they think it’s very treatable if it turns out it is. Please continue to pray for my family. Thank you!

P.P.S.: My 1st modest fashion post of the year is coming up tomorrow!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year + Prayer Request

Happy New Year: 2011

Happy New Year to all! My day has been filled with things not found on my list of New Year’s traditions, such as spending time in a hospital. It turns out my stepfather has a blood clot in his leg & many clots in both his lungs! It’s really a miracle he’s alive…& we’re all so thankful to God for that. The doctor thinks he’ll be fine, but he has to be careful & stay in the hospital until the medicine he’s being given helps get rid of the clots. Please remember he & my mom in prayer right now.

I have to say I hate hospitals…the smell, the feelings, & memories aren’t good. It’s very hard on my mom, too. It was 10 Christmases ago that we had to take my beloved father to the hospital on Christmas day…by late summer the next year, after months in intensive care, he went home to Jesus.

Thanks for your prayers right now! I’m gonna go relax & try to do some of the things I planned to do on this January 1st.


P.S.: I’ve got some special plans/announcements for the blog (& me=) this year!

P.P.S.: I told ya the blog would look different today! =)