Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Goodies

Stop by Etsy to find out more about these unique royal wedding tokens!
The Royal Wedding II: 2011

+ Here's what I might have worn to the royal big day {if only I'd had an invite}...
Royal Wedding RSVP


P.S.: Princess Kate inspired fashion ideas coming soon!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding: 2011

There’s something magical & inwardly stirring about the word princess. The same is true, with perhaps slightly lesser rank, of happily ever after & true love… because, honey, you can be a princess with problems just so’s long as you’re a princess. =) Isn’t our {or mine, at least} thought pattern strange. Being a princess is not all fairy tale lights, glass slippers, & dreamy coach rides. In fact, it’s giving up much: other career aspirations, freedom to come & go as you please, to act silly in public on the occasion that you feel so, to do as you like… It’s sacrifice, not just grace; it’s bothersome, not just beautiful.

There’s an inner part of most every girl & woman that yearns for princess-ship. Something in the title calls to each of us by name with promises to sweep us off our feet & make us regal, beloved, special, dazzling, & worthy. But, dear un-common girl, you are all those! The King of Kings – the one true King, our Lord – gave up His most prized possession, His Son, Christ Jesus, for you… &, in fact, one day your Prince will come {for all those who accept His gift of sacrifice & become part of His royal line} & you will live happily ever after. Now that you know your story’s end, & that you are, indeed, a princess, live like one.

“Now if we are {God’s} children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” –Romans 8:17

{H.R.H.} -Bess-

Did you watch today’s royal festivities with Kate & William? I did in the wee, unkind hours of the morning – that seem least regal. Wasn’t H.R.H. Kate’s dress queenly modest & divine, & her in it? It was all sweet & lovely – from the little girls holding Pippa’s {Kate’s sis} hands, to the royal double kiss on the balcony, to the scripture read {from my favorite book of Romans}, to the choir lads young & old, to the push to get the ring onto the now Duchess of Cambridge’s finger {I do wish the Queen would have granted her the title princess, though – but she will forever be}. Here’s some of the highlights in case you missed it…

-bridesmaids & pageboys enter Westminster-

-Princess Catherine enters Westminster-

-walking down the aisle-

-royal vows-

-carriage ride-

-kisses on the balcony-

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peace for the Survivors

John 14:27

The southeast US has been hit heavy by monstrous tornados that seemed to pile upon one another & swarm over communities with many blows.  Nine fatalities have been uncovered in my very close to where I live where a tree fell on a home.  Thankfully, myself & my family were all kept safe with no damage other than small downed tree limbs.  Thank You, God!  Please join in praying for all those families that lost loved ones & suffered damage.  It's crazy, there's trees down around the area pulled up by the roots & in some communities it's like everything's been smashed & turned into firewood.  All that I've suffered is no power since yesterday early afternoon & some ruined freezer/fridge food {which I'm ashamed to say I grumbled about.}  When I think about how some lost family members, friends, & their very homes, I know I've been blessed & can't complain.  Thankfully, my mom & stepdad have power - so I'm over here for awhile.  I can remember back when we had some major damage from a tornado a few years ago - this year we made it through safe.  I had one scary moment this time around, however, - I was at my apartment alone when all this was happening - when I did climb in my tub & place a pillow over my head, as I heard some frightening banging noises above - thankfully, it was only powerful winds tossing things around & ripping some of the trim off my neighbors chimney.  It's hard to know what to do after these things happen - the folks on tv say they've got enough volunteers & don't want extra people coming into areas at the moment... but I know at least I can pray.


Dear Father,

Thank you for delivering my family safely through these terrible storms & tornados.  Please be with all those that lost loved ones & friends.  Wrap Your arms around them & may they know You as their Lord, so that true peace can comfort their aching hearts.  To those with aching hearts for lost homes & great damage, bring comfort, as well - hold them together & bring people together to help each other.  Bring Your peace that passes understanding to those who don't know where or how they will fall asleep tonight.  Please be with those hurt & also those missing survivors that may still be unaccounted for; Father, please keep them alive & let them be found by rescuers soon.  Please let there be miracles & good to come out of all this & we praise You again for all of the protection You have given to us.

In Jesus' Name,

Post-Easter Challenge 4 {Confession}

Challenge 4

Let me be honest. I have to be… I only completed one of the Easter challenges, which I myself created. I bet you can guess which one it was. Yep, that’s right, I read the Easter story. I had wonderful plans to complete the other two, but opportunities passed, people traipsed by & I left the blessed words unsaid. I failed & felt the pain of the thing I’d done – or not done. My sinful imperfection made me question who I was in Christ… made me feel like a bitter disappointment to my Lord. Certainly I fall short & sin daily, but I had purposefully put these challenges out there for not only myself, but for all of you…& then, I, the creator of the very scheme failed. I could have been instrumental in bringing someone to hear the message of Christ this Easter, which in turn could have changed an eternity, & dominoed from there.

Listen to some of the words of the song my heavenly Daddy placed on my car radio after the fact – when my failure was fresh & stinging…

I wasted a rescue
Abandoned the mission
I've failed by my own hand
And watched it all go wrong
You said You could save me
That I couldn't save myself
You said that You loved me
No matter what I've done

When the light is gone
And life is just a dare we take
Still the fight goes on
To give my heart away

And it's out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what You've done for me…

We're bent by our own plans
To keep us in the dark
And I act like an orphan
Forget that You found me
But You came like a whisper
And saved me with a spark…

And it's out of my hands
It was from the start
In light of what You've done for me
-Out of My Hands by Jars of Clay

It’s funny, since the New Year I’ve been on a Bible reading plan, & on Easter Sunday evening, I sat, Bible on lap - feeling low I turned to the section for that day. It was Romans chapters 7 & 8, & when I started reading I didn’t know what I was getting into. It turns out it was the perfect place for a sinner like me to go.  Here’s some of what I found:

You know when you feel like you should do something, but you let the opportunity pass - & then you turn around & do the things you don’t won’t to do that make you feel like a big let down mess? You’re not alone…
Paul speaking: “For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.” –Romans 7:19 NIV

Doing the things we hate & not the good things that we want, make us feel like horrible ugly flops, but Christ died to make us 'horrible ugly flops' clean & beautiful from all of these things.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” –Romans 7:24-25

You know that feeling of failure & soul angst? It’s not to remain.  We who are in the Savior are not 'orphans'…
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
-Romans 8:1 NIV

I know I won't be finished with this challenge called 'life' until He calls me home.  It will be a challenge, but Christ Jesus has won the final victory. Let’s begin again, knowing that we will fail at times, but seeking & striving beyond our frail humanity, because of the power of Christ in us & how He makes us brand new.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:6 NASB


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Challenge 3

Challenge 3

This Easter Sunday, there’ll likely be several new faces {perhaps the one you invited =)} milling uncertainly about your sanctuary. Let someone new know that you’re glad she/he’s there! Whether they’re a visitor or someone you just usually don’t seek out, find someone new to greet with love. That person is someone for whom God sent His only Son to die – they’re special – just like you. Let them know it. That’s one of the messages of the cross…that we’re treasured by the One who made us. Perhaps, you could invite the newbie to a Sunday School class or other church event. Ask questions about where they live, work, go to school, etc. – people generally love to answer. Compliment an older lady’s attire or shake an elderly man’s hand warmly & introduce yourself. Hand them a bulletin & let them know about your church, preacher, & congregation. Introduce them to others. We’re called to love like Jesus loves. That’s a big order, cause He loved us with His whole life, & in the end He loved us more than life. Let’s start going out of our way to show this love. Remember how Jesus washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20)? The King of Kings took on the position of a humble, lowly servant to show His love! After doing this He says, “I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.” –John 13:15, NCV. A few verses later, Christ issues this – not a suggestion, plea, or idea – but a "command", “I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” –John 13:34-35, NCV. Even today, our love shows the world that we belong to Christ Jesus. Love is a command.


P.S.: I'm already practicing, see! =)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Challenge 2

Easter Challenge 2

Sure, you’ve probably heard/read the story all your life, but why not take time out this Easter to read it again…privately to yourself – don’t rush through it, but seek to soak up each verse & its meaning for not only the entire vastness of humanity, but to little ole’ you. You know, ‘you’ doesn’t seem that little after you read what the Creator of the universe did to see that you had a way to be with Him forever – if you’d just take it.

These words are some of the most powerful to me…
“But He {Jesus} was wounded for the wrong we did; He was crushed for the evil we did. The punishment which made us well, was given Him, & we are healed because of His wounds.” Isaiah 53:5 NCV (emphasis mine)

Where to find the Easter story…

NOTE: You may want to read a few chapters before &/or after, depending on how much of the details (such as the triumphal entry into Jerusalem; cleansing of the temple) surrounding the crucifixion & resurrection you want to read.

An account is found in each one of the gospels. Here’s where to find them all…

Matthew 26-28
Mark 13-16
Luke 22-24
John 13-21


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bess' Bag's 1st Ever Easter Challenge!

Easter Challenge

This event wasn’t really planned. It sort of just happened, but sometimes that makes for the best recipe - & allows our Lord to do His stuff, when we listen to His nudging & follow. I’ve found myself lately falling into the trappings of apathy – you know, going through the motions of this life & lacking a passion, in this case, for Christ - mixed with a real want to live my life for Jesus, but feeling like a failure at my aim. You see, it’s not just my aim to point to my Savior in all that I do, it’s my very purpose for existence. If I fail in this, but gain in other areas, I’ve still failed. But, the one thing I know, is that if you seek to do God’s will with all your heart, He will help you to live it out. So, I don’t want another moment to go by – let alone another Easter, when I don’t strive to serve my blessed, risen Savior who gave up everything for me. It’s time to live for Jesus, because he died for you. Let’s start this adventure together & see what our heavenly Father has in store!

Easter Challenge 1

There’s perhaps no time like Easter to invite someone to church (except maybe Christmas). It’s true {& sad} that many people only go to church twice a year. It’s also sad {& true} that many of us who follow Christ don’t invite these “two-timers,” “one-timers,” or “no-timers” to church. I recently heard on the radio that when a major Christian survey group polled believers with a question something like ‘Do you share your faith with others?’ a large number responded positively. However, when the question was later reworded to something like ‘Are you evangelistic with your faith?’ the numbers dropped dramatically. You see, after some investigation, many were backing up their answers with these faulty thoughts: ‘people know I go to church;’ ‘people know I’m a Christian.’ When the words were changed to mean ‘Do you tell others about Jesus?’ the truth seemed to float to the surface.

You know, it’s not always the easiest thing to share the gospel, but it’s what God has called us to do. I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing for our Lord to give up His only Son to a world that didn’t deserve it. If you are a Christian, His strength is in you, & He will help you find the words to say to this world on His behalf. The world aches for His love, whether they know it or not.

For the 1st challenge, all that is asked is that you ask someone to church for Easter. It could be a classmate, friend, neighbor, perfect stranger at the shopping mall {not a store dummy}… So, let’s start to live out our faith. Be sure to be armed with the time(s) of your church’s service(s), address, & phone number… in fact, why not right it on a card to hand out?

If you complete this challenge & want to share your experiences please leave a comment on this post! I’ll be sharing my experiences, as well. I think I might invite my neighbor. Let’s share the Love that’s given us the hope to continue on.

In Christ,

P.S.: Here's the perfect song to begin again...

Easter Bucket Updo Mini Tutorial {+ Bunny Gifts}

So, do you still have an old pail used for the Easter egg hunts of yester yore {I’m in a poetic mood here}? Well, let’s give it a more mature update, shall we? I promise it’s easy-peasy. Whose idea was it anyway to give egg hunts an age limit? At my church it’s little ones through elementary… Oh, well, we’ll just make our ole buckets extra cute, put a bunch of lovely blooms from our Creator in ‘em {okay, my are silk flowers}, & use ‘em to spruce up our room or porch! I pine for these! {Now, I’m in an Arbor/Earth Day mood, oak-ay!} Sorry, couldn’t resist! Yes, I may need some kind of comical, or other such, therapy. Sorry.

P.S.: Psst! We may be past the egg hunts, but below you’ll find some bunny-themed gift ideas just right for us.

What You’ll Need:
-bucket or basket
-ribbon (I used 2 types)
-large sticker or cutout
-hot glue gun
-buttons (optional)

Here’s What to Do:
-Find the ribbon(s) you want & rehearse the layout on your Easter pail. I used a wider purple grosgrain paired with a skinny green grosgrain.

-For a pail like the one I used (by the way, it’s from Michael’s ($1)), it’s hard to wrap the ribbon all the way around the bucket snuggly, because of the way the pail is shaped, so I cut ribbon to go about half (or a little more) around the bucket.

-Next, I glued the ribbons down using hot glue at the ends of each ribbon & a couple places in the middle of both the purple & green ribbons. If you only wrapped your ribbon halfway around your pail (like I did), you can hot glue 2 pretty buttons to each raw edge end of the ribbons.

-Hot glue your large sticker or cutout onto your pail. I centered mine & placed it directly onto the ribbons.

-Add flowers & enjoy! Viola! An easy Easter update!


Easter bunnies are sweet, but Jesus is the sweetest! 
The Easter Bunny Cometh

ring - ModCloth - $9.99
ring holder - Urban Outfitters - $12
umbrella - TopShop - $30
pouch - Mulberry
salad mixer - ModCloth - $15

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Max on Life" Book Review

We all have questions, this much I know. Perhaps one of the greatest subject areas for questions is the spiritual – Why does God let us suffer? Does God listen when I pray? Where will I go when I die? How do we know God exists? In Max Lucado’s new book Max on Life: Answers & Insights to Your Most Important Questions, the author takes all the question marks & seeks to render the reader a period. The questions covered in the book have all been asked the author at one time or another, & are divided up into the following categories: Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Haves/Have-Nots, Hereafter. There are a total of 172 questions in all, with most answers being about a page in length, plus both a topical & scripture index. Max (the title suggests he’s a 1st name basis kind of guy) digs up the scripture to aide are question-asking-selves, plus puts his Biblically-minded thoughts in common understandable terms. He often asks the asker to change their perspective on a head scratching situation or predicament. By no means does he claim to have all the answers, but Max does know the One who has it all figured out – the Creator, & even when we don’t understand, he ensures us that God does. Reading the book I’ve found a renewed sense of peace, purpose, & strength through Christ. As a believer, the author has often reminded me of things I already know, but his wording has made me see the truth in a more take-it-to-heart & live sort of way. I can definitely see God’s hand using Max’s… oh, & heads up to all those fellow would be writers that want to write with an eternal purpose, after the last question Max gives us all some “penning” advice in a section called “The Write Stuff.” Not only does this book answer questions, but it gives advice to scribblers! What more could you want?

Note: The section entitled “Him/Her” deals with relationship/marital questions, & because of this, I believe this book is best for older young adults on up.

*I received this book from the publisher for free (through the BookSneeze program) in exchange for my honest review.

Bookish Blessings,

P.S.: I'm glad our heavenly Father has got this thing called life covered... & us, His children, safe under His wings.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Song Love: "Here Goes" by Bebo Norman

These words are so true...

"Never got anywhere by running away -
Never learned anything without a mistake -
Never loved anyone by playing it safe..."

-"Here Goes" by Bebo Norman

"Here goes everything!"

Those who want to save their lives will give up true life, & those who give up their lives for Me will have true life.
-Matthew 16:25 NCV (emphasis mine)

I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength.
-Philippians 4:13 NCV (emphasis mine) 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's Hip to be Square Wreath Tutorial

Have I mentioned my angst against a computerless apartment? Oh. I have? Okay, I’ll try to stop, because I really do have loads of blessings + a heavenly Daddy who loves me. {So who needs to complain? Sigh. I just miss you guys (i.e. gals)!}

I’ve so missed creating tutorials on here, too! So, let’s begin – shall we?

It’s Hip to be Square Wreath Tutorial

What You’ll Need:
-frame (without glass or backing)
-silk flowers
-scrapbook paper
-hot glue gun

It all happened one day as I was strolling through my favorite thrift shop... There’s an aisle devoted to pictures/frames…& more often than not there’s picture frames without glass or backing. What can you do with those? Hmmm… My mind started turning & this tutorial was born!
-Begin to wrap the twine tightly around the frame {*starting near one corner*}, securing the end of the twine with hot glue, & hot gluing every so often.
-Wrap corners carefully, planning them out before you add any hot glue. I sort of went at an angle & then brought it to the other side & started right after the corner – thus some of my bare frame corners show, but I will later cover them with silk flowers or a sticker. {As this was my 1st time crafting wreaths from frames, I’m still working on some of the process.} =)
-Add silk blooms to the frame with hot glue + a sticker, with a scrapbook paper matte {cut slightly larger than the sticker} on a piece of cardboard.

Ta da! You could add a loop of ribbon to hang it if you’d prefer, or just hang it with a wreath hanger. There’s so many variations to this, too! Here’s some more ideas:

Wrap frame in…
-ribbon; scraps of fabric; wire; lace; burlap; spray paint it…

-photos; seashells; buttons; pompoms; brooches; bows; house numbers; paint; faux butterflies/birds…

It is hip to be square!


P.S.: My back-less, glass-less frame cost only about 30 cents at the thrift store!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Beauty Picks

Spring Beauty Picks

Bess' Notes: Items marked with an *asterisk* are ones I've tried myself.

*1. Country Chic is Bath & Body Works new spring fragrance - available April 14th.  Currently you can try it in mini lotion form for $1!  I was able to preview this scent in a full size lotion {which I've been using happily for the last couple weeks}!  Country Chic is a sweet fragrance; it's got lovely floral notes without being a complete overpowering flower power punch. {You know what I mean?}  Hints of citrus & woods balance it well. I love it!  It smells like spring, drizzled gardens, & sunshine  rays {well, at least to me}!

2. For warmer weather, spf lip balm is the perfect choice to protect your lips while adding some tint/shine.  This one has an spf of 20 + it's from the makers of Vitamin Water, so it's got some good stuff in it to boot!

3. I love this coral-y pink nail polish color for spring {in any brand}!  It reminds me of an impromptu picnic & the paler shades of a watermelon slice!  {I believe the color shown here is called 'Cute as a Button.'}

*4. Nivea makes great stuff, & this no-sun gradul tanning + firming lotion is no exception!  You can choose the lotion designed for your skin shade + desired tan {I chose light to medium, I think}.  I could definitely see my skin become sun-kissed {light-medium glow} - I used it on my legs about every day for a week & the color did deepen with each application.  The only problem areas were the ankles, feet, & knees where the color would sort of be darker or uneven...but once I knew that I could be more careful of those spots.  I love that this lotion gives you a sunny look without the damange of the rays! 

5. Physians Formula Mineral Wear loose air brush powder promises a skin pleasing effect - not only does it go on smoothly, but it's good for your skin + it has an spf of 30!

Love to Ya Beautiful,

TRUE BEAUTY: "Charm is deceptive & beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised."
Proverbs 31:30