Sunday, July 22, 2012

Being the Bachelorette

Being the Bachelorette

Be honest. Do you ever wonder one or more of these? 
Will a nice guy ever like me? 
Will I ever fall in love? 
Am I pretty enough? 
Why have I never been asked out? 
Is something wrong with me? 
Will I ever find ‘the one?’ 
Will I be alone forever? 

Truth Be Told
Let’s face it girls. Most of us can own up to pondering one or more of these questions that pop & sizzle in our brains & leave us feeling unsatisfied with where we are – in bachelorette-hood {picture me flashing a horizontal peace sign & looking fly {or something=)}. Okay, so bachelorette-hood may not feel that great – in reality, you may barely be able to muster a measly high-five to your fellow single girlfriends, let alone a “fly” peace sign. Okay, so what’s the matter with us? 

 Hmmm… I blame TV. No, really. I do. At least partially. The majority of the media world works to convince us daily that a ‘relationship’ is a must.  You've likely heard of the "reality" show, The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  Each season 1 man or woman is chosen & dates multiple members of the opposite sex at once in search for 'the one.'  These contestants regard the relationship as the prize - & everybody wants to be a winner.  Sexual images ranging from what I call “sneaky ads” (such as a man & woman walking side-by-side with their hands in each other’s back pockets to a fully-dressed woman showing cleavage) to “out-in-out ads” (where nothing is hidden & it’s all out in the open, such as ads from Victoria-who-has-no-secrets) bombard us from magazines, billboards, internet, commercials, store-fronts, movies, & yes, TV, too. 

Three Little Hard Words
 What’s a girl to do in such a crazy, mixed-up, broken place? Guard her heart. I want to say from the start that this isn’t easy – it’s three straight-forward words, but this is going to be hard – not only because of our messed-up-priorities-sinful-self/instant-gratification world, but because of our own human nature & temptations. Just remember those questions you may have been asking yourself: “Why have I never been asked out?” “Is something wrong with me?” “Will I be alone forever?” While those are typical questions from many girls, they are also evidence to a girl’s vulnerability. Her aspirations to be loved, held, & desired {all completely normal God-given attributes} leave her vulnerable to that fact. If the vulnerability factor is present there is always the potential to stumble, thus guarding your heart is tough. 

The Snag in the Dream Catcher
 Let’s get even deeper in this, shall we? It’s true that God placed in us the desire to be desired & loved. Here comes the snag in the world’s dream catcher, though… wait for itA human can’t complete another human or completely fulfill another human’s needs. You see, the worlds caught in a horrible, deadly game of trying to find fulfillment & completion in all the wrong places. Even ‘the one’ won’t be the missing puzzle piece to all you desire… You’ll still be wanting. 

 The Missing Piece 
The only way to complete your puzzle is by knowing the One who placed the desire to be desired in you in the first place: a true, real relationship with God, who gave up His beloved Son for you, & bought you at a great price when you were utterly undeserving & unlovable. It’s amazing, isn’t it? He is the creator & completer. Having the hunkiest, most devoted husband who kisses the ground you walk upon would not be enough on its own. You’d still be craving - something would be missing. What’s such a blessing {to us in the bachelorette-hood, in particular} is that a solid relationship with Christ is enough! A cute guy to hug, hold, & kiss us is not required. I promise. Guys fail, God never will. He knows you & every little detail of your life completely, He even knows & understands your desires. He even has a count on the strands of your hair! 

 I hear some of you now quietly asking, “Then why am I still feeling this way & asking these questions? I love Jesus & know He lives within my heart.” Well, a missed-mashed variety of reasons, some we’ve already discussed, like the world presents sexual images to us on a silver platter that we must continually battle; sexual temptations (many arising from the images we see); our own human nature; peer pressure; comparing your bachelorette status to other girls in relationships with the opposite sex; love “awakened” before it’s time, which is extremely hard to put to sleep (spoken of in Song of Songs 8:4, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” ). As you can see, this guarding your heart stuff isn’t easy. I hate to say I told you so, so I won’t, cause I’m right there with ya! What I know is this, even if you found a great guy today & started dating him, if you tried to make him the center of your life & existence, you’d be let down, disappointed, &, yes, you guessed it, wanting & waiting for the next flavor of the month – which you’d hope this time would be the magical fixer of all wants. If God is your center, you’re going to be okay, honestly. You have everything you need in Him, even when you don’t always recognize it. I love that! 

 Game Plan 
Recently in my own life I’ve decided to create what I’m calling my “Game Plan” to guarding my heart. I simply made a list {which can be revised & added to} of things I need to cut out or add to my life to help maintain sexual purity in mind, body, & spirit. Here’s some things from my list (hope you find them practical & helpful): 
-take a daily walk with God (this consists of me walking around my neighborhood & having an open conversation/prayer with my heavenly Completer in my head) 
-read a daily devotional (I added this in along with my daily Bible reading) 
-stop watching shows that portray any sexual innuendo (these are like the “sneaky ads” – they can seem completely innocent, but be corrupting you nonetheless) 
 -read godly resources that deal with guarding my heart (I am currently reading Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Etheridge & Stephen Arterburn & I highly recommend it for teens & young women for its frankness & godly outlook) 

This confused highly sexualized world is a tough place for us Bachelorettes, but with the Lord in our hearts, a plan in place for keeping our hearts guarded in such a battle zone, tons of prayer, much practiced self control, & a strong desire to know & love God in all that we do with our whole self, we can make it safely & righteously into God’s plan for our life. It won’t be easy, but through His strength we will make it! 

Love to All You Fellow Bachelorettes, 

Pics From the Trip {Part 2}

I hadn't been to a Disney Park in forever... & I had never been to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  I have to say it was fabulous!  Tons of shade, not quite so busy as the Magic Kingdom, & loads of animals (which means loads of opportunities to learn & see new things).  

Here's some of the highlights...

saw Finding Nemo & The Lion King shows (great way to beat the heat & so fun - I felt like I was going to cry during Finding Nemo, but I held it together (yep, I'm crazy) =)

watched a parade {yes, Minnie totally remembers me from the last time I met her when I was a tot}

got to see loads of God's amazing animal creations (lions, tigers, hippos, giant bats, exotic birds, giraffes, bugs, crocodiles, rhinos, & more) 

got completely soaked on the Kali River Rapids ride {part of the world of Asia in the park, which is where I got a lot of these final pictures}

attempted to shop at Downtown Disney {crazy crowds} {love this "gown" made out of Princess Aurora dolls + the sweet Tinkerbell & Mad Hatter tiny top hats below}

Well, that concludes my trip to Florida!  Glad to share it with you!  Wished you could have tagged along!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Camp Craft: The Mermaid's Hair Clip

This Camp Craft project would make a terrific addition to a girl's craft night or sleepover!  So fun, yet so simple!  

Here's What You Need:
-metal hair clip(s) (found at most any craft store)
-sea shell(s)
-hot glue
-small scrap(s) of fabric
-small amount of stuffing (like what you'd stuff a pillow with)

Here's What to Do:
To create a more stable place to attach the hair clip to the shell, we will create a sorta 'pearl' out of a scrap of fabric & some stuffing.   

Place stuffing onto the fabric scrap & create a mini pillow-like shape.  Carefully hot glue this to the back of the shell so the stuffing won't come out & it is secure to the shell.

Finally, hot glue the clip onto the back.

Ta da!  Now you're ready to accessorize like a mermaid!

More Inspiration:
You can create loads more hair clip styles.  
See some of my other creations above.

Bonus Project:

Create a place to hang & organize all those hair clips you make!

What You Need:
-wide / long ribbon
-plastic hanger (the smaller the better)
-hot glue
-scrapbook die-cuts (optional)

What to Do:
Decide how long you want your hair clip holder & cut your ribbon a little longer.  Carefully break off the sides of your plastic hanger to slightly smaller than the width of your ribbon (so the ribbon will hide the hanger edges).  Next, fold the top edge of your ribbon under to create a 'hemmed' edge & hot glue to hanger (you can also hot glue some ribbon around the edges of the hanger first if they are sharp or you want to make sure they are hidden).  Finally, if you'd like, you can add a scrapbook die-cut (or some other picture) to the bottom to hide the raw ribbon edge.

Camp Craft Love,

P.S.: I've always dreamed of being a mermaid!  Here's some summer beauty products inspired by the half-fish maidens {yeah, these are likely all part of my dream world, too, but I like 'em even if I can't afford 'em all}...

Mermaid Beauty

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pics From the Trip {Part 1}

Sunday night I returned from my trip to Florida!  A whole week without the computer!  I've missed you!  I had loads of fun, but there's nothing like coming back to all the comfortable familiarity of home.  

Here's some of the highlights...

played in the waves

wrote my name in the sand

visited a fort

touched the top of a palm tree {not the one above, however}

explored an ancient city {St. Augustine}

marveled at the Spanish moss

drove down Magnolia Street {known as one of America's most beautiful drives}

explored local shops

dined under twinkling bulbs

found unusual spots {Scarlett O'Hara's restaurant}

Well, that's all for now.  I'll have more later.  My next stop was Orlando & Disney's Animal Kingdom!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Let's Hit the Beach!

Let's Hit the Beach

Ever yearned for the salty sea breeze or to dig your toes into white sugary sand? 

 There's something essentially summer about the beach.  Gazing out far, where the horizon hits the water, & suddenly feeling so small in God's great big world...  The ocean is a magical place!  

And... I'm headed there this coming week!  It's sort of an unexpected journey.

 So, as I pack I thought I might as well help you pack, too, in case the beach {or even the pool} is one of your summer destinations this year!

What to Pack: Beach Bag Edition

1. towel
2. sun screen {Skin cancer is scary & no joke, not to mention the sun ages your skin, so lather it on & don't forget to reapply!}
3. spf lip balm {Don't burn those lips!}
4. sunglasses {Protect those eyes, too!  If you wear regular glasses you can find some sunglasses that clip to the front of your regular glasses or go completely over your frames.  Some glasses even come with custom magnetic removable sunglasses now.} 
5. hair elastics/headband {Keep these handy for when you want to get your hair out of your eyes from windy beach weather.}
6. hat 
7. flip-flops/sandals {Sand can be scorching hot + be hiding broken glass or other litter.  Wear footwear down to the beach & leave them next to where you lay your towel.}
8. water bottle {Hydrate your insides, too!}
9. plastic baggies {These are great for putting a wet suit in or for sea shells.  Have a couple in your bag.}
10. cover-up {A cover-up can be a button down shirt, skirt, maxi dress, tunic, romper, tee... there's loads of options.  If you plan on changing into other clothes you bring make sure you bring the appropriate undergarments.  I remember once having to go to a restaurant after the beach, & I brought everything I needed... or so I thought.  I had everything, but my bra!  I couldn't wear my dripping wet one-piece suit under my jeans & t-shirt!  Luckily my t-shirt was gray {not white} & was loose-fitting, but still, I was sorta holding it out away from my front the whole meal!  Trust me, girls, not an enjoyable way to dine at the end of a long day of fun in the sun!}
11. camera {Waterproof cameras are great for the beach, but they can be pricey, too.  So, what I do is make sure my camera is safe in its case, & then in a plastic baggie, when not in use.}
12. good book {If you're a beach reader, make sure to lather on the sunscreen & pack a fabulous read - might I suggest Bethany Hamilton's Soul Surfer.}

Wish I could post more, but I gotta pack!

Love to the Ocean & Back,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Camp Craft: What to Do With Decorative Tape

I love decorative tape!  I especially like the above version from Domestic Bliss Decor {via JoAnn's Fabric & Craft Store}.  What makes it tops, you ask?  Well, it's made out of wall sticker material - so it's removable & even safe for walls.  I found this roll & a couple other styles on clearance + found a bunch of new items from the company, such as wall stickers & longer & wider adhesive rolls to cut out your own shapes!  Here's some ideas of what to do with a roll of decorative tape...       

Look familiar?  That's right, I used it on my magazine catch-all.  Find the tutorial here.

Add a couple strips to make a striped journal.

Cover a blah bangle.

{NOTE: I cut little slits all along the edge of the tape so I could wrap the excess inside the bracelet + I hot glued ribbon to the inside, as well, so the extra tape on the inside would stay secure.}

Add it to one of those clear candy boxes you don't know what to do with.

Cover a jar + cut out an accent from the tape to add to the lid.

Add it to a frame {you could cover the entire thing or just opposite sides}.
{Bonus Tip: I framed these pages I ripped out of a Vera Bradley catalogue, using a strip of scrapbook paper to fill the frame, & then hung them in my closet.  I'm working on jazzing up my closet... more on that later!} 

There's really so much more you can do with this!  Add it to a wooden monogram letter or vintage book cover... practically anything!   

Crafting Love,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy B-day, America!

Sweet land of my birth...  

Freedom in a country, but most importantly freedom in Christ!  Find freedom in the Savior just where you are!  Happy 4th, everyone!


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Let's Go On A Road Trip!

Road Trip: Let's Go!

Ever get a hankering to hit the open road?

The 'Road Trip' seems to be a summer institution, right up there with watermelons, fireworks on the Fourth, & water balloon fights.  Maybe it's the human condition of wanderlust that makes us pack up & ride the highways & byways, either way, this is a great time to have an adventure - where the very adventure is the journey!

Let's pack!  Remember, travel light, the adventure is the journey.  Here's some things you might just want to bring along...  
Road Trip Fare

Be safe - make sure your car is in good shape for the journey, you've got a tank of gas, a working cell phone (+ have told at least 2 trusted people your travel plans), all passengers wear seat-belts, obey all speed limits, be mindful of the weather, & never pick up hitchhikers (yikes).  Pray before you hit the road for safety, blessings along the way, & an openness to live the adventure God's got in store.  You never know, God might be placing you in the path of someone who needs to hear an encouraging word of hope in Christ!  {After all, that's what He did with Philip & the Ethiopian (read the amazing, ultimate 'road trip' story in Acts 8:26-40).}   

En Route Style Inspiration 
Road Trip Wear

A sweater in the middle of crazy summer heat may seem ridiculous, but it's a good idea to throw one in the car - a blasting air conditioner can be icy!  A silk scarf is a simple way to pull your travel wear together - whether you wear it on your head or around your neck... instant chic/cool.  Comfort is key on a road trip - have comfy (more loose-fitting clothes) + good shoes.

Oh yeah, don't forget tunes for the trip!  Here's one of my favorites... 


Traveling Love,