Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I Hate Goodbyes...

I've started & restarted this a dozen times now...  There's no good way to say it.  No words seem quite adequate.  But, here I go stumbling anyhow... 

Thank you for being a reader & friend.  Thank you for every time you dropped in & let your eyes read one of my rambles.  Thank you for each & every comment.  This blog has been a blessing to me because of you.  I pray it blessed you in its own way, too.

Thank you, friend.

Like I said, I hate goodbyes, so instead of farewell, it's just off to a new adventure...


"I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."
-Psalm 27:13

Monday, June 13, 2016

"The Knot: Outdoor Weddings" Book Review

The Knot: Outdoor Weddings
by Carley Rooney {& the editors of}

There's something about getting married out in God's beautiful masterpiece of nature that has always intrigued me.  In The Knot: Outdoor Weddings book there is an abundance of beautifully photographed inspiration divided up by outdoor venue styles {seaside, ranch, garden, vineyard, estate, & city-scape}.  Each featured real wedding includes lots of exquisite pics {such as ceremony/reception space, cake, flowers, etc.} + details.  I have to admit, in this kind of book I mostly pour of the photos more so than the print.  There's also helpful tips & advice catered to the season & wedding venue.  The only thing I can't rave about with this book is that it features a couple of same-sex weddings.  As a follower of Christ, I believe marriage was created for man & woman alone.

Bookish Love,

P.S.: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Currently {This Is a Biggie}...

I'm engaged!

Since April, in fact!  I know, I keep secrets well.  Things will be changing & winding down here on Bess' Bag, & as much as it pains me to say goodbye, it's a bittersweet thing because it's a new beginning of a brand new chapter & there's beauty in that unknown blank story God already has every line to... & I trust Him in the writing of it.  I pray you do, too, for the one He's writing in your life.

Thank you for being here!  Stay tuned for a couple more posts before I officially say farewell.  I plan to leave the blog up for anyone who may want to look back over any of the DIYs, printables, style tips, godly girl talk, music, & random craziness these past 7 years of Bess' Bag have rendered.  Again, I thank you so much for being here.  I will miss you.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Song Love {June}

"Sparrows" by Jason Gray

"Jesus Sees" by Meredith Andrews

"Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe

Music Love,

Friday, April 1, 2016

Song Love {April}

"Warrior" by Steven Curtis Chapman

"Crazy Faith" by John Waller

"Guilty" by Newsboys

God's Not Dead 2 hits theaters nationwide today. Let's go out & show support for what is true & good!


P.S.: All the songs featured this month are from faith-based films.  Oh, & here's a sneak peek at God's Not Dead 2...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

To My Father: A Poem

I am a little bird -
Do You see me when I fall?

Oh - that You do -
I am heart-wrenched & broken

And bid Your eyes turn from me.
But they stay -

And are grace eyes -
And I can scarcely breathe.
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father."
-Matthew 10:29


Monday, March 21, 2016

'Cause I Kill All the Plants {DIY}

Yes, I admit it.  I'm a cold-hearted, ruthless plant killer.  Well, actually, that's not really true.  I'm more of a "How could I have forgotten to water you?!" sap kneeling by the dying plant's grave in sorrow.  Either way, growing green things & I don't have the best track record.  That's where this DIY stems from {I couldn't resist}...

& everything you need can be found at the dollar store!
I found all the goods above at my local Dollar Tree!  All you need to do is fill your glass container with decorative pebbles {I actually only used 1 of the 2 bags, but depending on your container size you may need more}.  
My faux succulents came inserted in black styrofoam in plastic pots, so I took them out, & snipped 'em down a bit so they'd fit in my glass bowl easier.  Then, I nestled them down in the pebbles.
While some don't do "faux" {which I totally get & would rather have a green thumb, by the way}, it's easier to sleep nights knowing these guys won't be my next victims.  You know the whole talking to plants thing {to encourage them to grow}?  It's still okay to talk to faux plants, right? =)

Crafty Love,

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Currently {March}

+Reading... Atlas Girl by Emily T. Wierenga.  This raw & vulnerable memoir is touching me deep & blessing my soul.

+Listening... to Matt Hammitt tunes, especially "All of Me" & "Let Go."

+Thankful... for the astounding gifts He bestows on me daily + His loving patience towards me.  How often I forget to see them.  Help me, Father God, to have eyes to see & a heart that speaks continual gratitude to You, the giver of all good.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

+Praying... for purity, a hunger for my Maker, & to be more like Jesus & less like me {the sometimes scary prayers}.

+Learning... to trust {again & again & again}, because He is good & for me {& I am a stubborn mule}, & I am completely forgiven, & to relish the unexpected season I am in {seasons are fleeting & this one will not last forever}.

+Loving... sitting on my favorite boulder perch, feet dangling over the river, & walking old & new trails with my Abba, Father.


P.S.: What are you up to lately?

Friday, March 11, 2016

One of Those Days...

Ever had one of those days where everything goes wrong & you feel like, well… if you’re honest, life just stinks?  Of course you have.  We all have.  Mine just happens to be today...  It can look grim, dismal, & downright discouraging from the easy perspective of “right now,” but truthfully my life really doesn’t stink at all.  In fact, I have more blessings than I can count!  And while, yes, this moment doesn’t smell too great, it’s only a moment & God is still at work working all things – yes, even this – for my good.  

I trust You, heavenly Daddy, help me to keep the faith when the going gets rough!

Love for the Mess,  Stress, & Disappointment,

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Song Love {March}

"When I'm With You" by Citizen Way {This came on the radio while I was driving around the other day, & it really felt like just what I needed to hear. Hope this song, & the others, speak to you, too.}

"God is on the Move" by 7eventh Time Down

"Just Breathe" by Johnny Diaz

Music Love,

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Love Without Limits" Book Review

Love Without Limits by Nick Vujicic 
with Kanae Vujicic

If you’ve never heard of Nick Vujicic, the Australian guy born without arms or legs, who now goes around the world proclaiming the love of Jesus, where have you been?!  Nick is definitely a dynamic evangelist, & now, husband & father.  Sure, many didn’t believe this would ever be the story of his life, at times he admits he didn’t believe it would turn out so beautifully himself.  But, that’s the mighty, loving, working all things for our good God that has reigned forever for ya!

In Nick’s recent book Love Without Limits, which he coauthored with his lovely wife Kanae, a beautiful love story – complete with comic twists & turns – is told, along with advice from the newlywed couple.  The married couple found themselves on the road to parenthood with Kanae’s surprise pregnancy just a few short months after "I do."  Thus, the book covers parenting advice & family life, as well. 

The story of the two’s meeting, getting to know each other, long-distance relationship, proposal, & marriage is a joy to read.  The honesty the couple shares with readers about struggles & experiences is refreshing, yet the advice at times feels somewhat small in its depth of insight – which isn’t too surprising as the couple are still very little-traveled on this marriage road, as they both readily admit.  Still, this book can be a beneficial resource & delight to many, especially young couples who may see many of their struggles & joys reflected in Nick & Kanae’s life, & those who follow Nick’s remarkable story.

Bookish Love,

*I received this book free of charge through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 29, 2016

For You

"No Longer Slaves" by Bethel Music

"Cast My Cares" by Finding Favour

"Here I Am Anyway" by Josh Wilson

Brave Love,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Take That Leap!

I know fear.  We've been like this {visualize me holding up 2 fingers twisted together} for a long while now.  Yep, we're old...  hmmm, I'm not sure what the word is - not friends...  Acquaintances?  Inseparable enemies?  I don't know, but one thing I do: it hasn't been a stellar association & it isn't a relationship from above.

God did not give us a spirit of fear {that's straight from 1 Timothy 1:7}.  Then, why can't I shake this?  How did this happen?  Let's look at what fear does first.

Fear causes us to make hasty, unwise decisions & it can paralyze us from taking the bold, risky steps God is calling us to.  It whispers every founded & unfounded "what-if."  It knows how to trigger our deepest dread &, if given the space & time, it will completely plunge our hope into utter darkness.

But if God did not give us a spirit of fear, who did?  That may be the easiest answer of the day: the enemy of our souls, Satan.  How do we combat fear?  That answer is a little more difficult.  What's the hardest part?  Putting it into practice when fear has become the default mode of a weary heart.

In all honesty, fear & I haven't always been so close.  Sometimes, when fear has come knocking, I've kicked him to the curb like a super-ninja with mad street skills.  But, after awhile I stopped going to my ninja training class {yep, I never got my diploma... sad}.  Anywho {& back to reality}, after multiple attacks from fear, its whispered lies {because who knows lies like he whose native tongue is lying (John 8:44)} started to sound like rock-solid truths.  Weakness won out, & taking my eyes off Jesus I began to focus on the anxiety that burdened my very bones.  Fear is a thief that wants to rob us ultimately of our very life.

So, what's the plan?  How do we fight?  Fear is such a multi-faceted, personal, evil-transformer kinda thing in its victim's lives that there's not a single ninja training video that can be presented.  Yep, that's messy real-world for ya.

Here's some starting places, however...

  • Replace the lies with God's Truth!  Read His Word.  {Click here for some of my favorite scriptures on dealing with fear.}
  • Let it out.  Talk with trusted, faithful family & friends.  Ask them to pray for you concerning this.  Christian counselors are also a godly resource & help.
  • Find something that takes your mind off fear, & back on Jesus.  Sing worship songs, hang out with godly friends, or volunteer to help those who need it.  Fear doesn't thrive in such places.
  • Pray.  Pray.  And pray some more.  It's true that God already knows what we need & what we are going to say, but He wants to hear it from us & it blesses us to speak to Him & expectantly await His loving reply.

This won't be an overnight change, it will be a journey.  Some days I battle hard & win, others I don't.  But through Jesus we can do all things {Philippians 4:13}!  Take that leap, & leave fear behind you, a fuller life through Christ's strength lies just beyond that anxious place you've been calling home.

Love & Fearlessness,

P.S.: Truth: I wrote this for my own fearful heart.  I pray it blesses yours, too.

Help us, Lord, to take a fearless leap knowing You will catch us.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Reminder {To Us}

Don't forget.  When all the 'what ifs,' insecurities, & shadows come creeping...

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love & of self-discipline."
-1 Timothy 1:7 NIV

Brave Love,

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Currently {Feb.}

+Reading... Love Without Limits by Nick Vujicic {review coming soon} & the book of Hebrews.

+Working... as a substitute teacher {that's where the uber-sweet unicorn card came from that now resides on my fridge}.

+Praying... for God's will & strength {always}.

+Seeking... to be more selfless, giving, & trusting.

+Thankful... for the amazing guy God's placed in my life & all the smiles & love he brings!

+Excited... about future adventures & new places!


P.S.: What are you up to lately?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Song Love {Feb.}

"Diamonds" by Hawk Nelson

"Here's My Heart" by Lauren Daigle

"Awake Our Souls" by Tim Timmons

Music Love,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Just Saying...

"The grass withers & the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever."
-Isaiah 40:8

His promises are true.  His words are rock solid & eternal.

Love & Peace,

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

That One Healthy Fear

"The One Healthy Terror."  Maybe a strange chapter title, at first glance, for a book entitled Fearless.  I dove into it anyway, thinking I already had that "healthy" fear pegged, unmasked, & known.  Perhaps you feel the same.

Perhaps you know in head-knowledge & in fluent Sunday-School-ese that this "healthy" fear is a reverence & awestruck awe for the great I Am God.  However, as I read Max Lucado's words, I uncovered how small my knowledge base truly is & how I have placed a neat box of my own ideals, wants, & needs around this uncontrollable, in-containable King of all.  

It struck me, then, that when I pray "Father" & use such familiar a term as "Daddy," I am right in saying so, but do I ponder that this same Father God, to whom I lift my prayer, is the One who flung stars all around the heavens with purpose & order, & tenderly knit together every unborn baby in every mother's womb?  Who parted & unparted seas, & formed the loftiest peaks & every bumpy ridge of a tree trunk's bark?  Designed every mysterious unique swirl of every human beings' fingerprints since Eden & the first?  The One who can rain down wrath like none other, & still spreads across the sky a promising rainbow to this day?  The One who loves in such an immeasurable, incomprehensible amount, giving up His beloved Son for us, that all the grains of sands & drops of water upon the earth added together do not equal it?  

All of that {& more} is the One to whom at times I have cried out against, & doubted, & accosted, disappointed, made demands of, the One I have flailed before like a temper-tantrum toddler at a grocery store...  Whom I have hidden from those who need Him most out of my own fear, but fear of God in all His immeasurable power & might I have neglected.  I, in my deep sinful foolishness, have been afraid of so many things unworthy of angst.  Didn't Jesus say to not be afraid {again & again}?  For if we are to fear something, may it be that "healthy" revering fear of Him who brings us to our knees in love & worship.


"They fell on their faces & were greatly afraid.  But Jesus came & touched them & said, 'Arise, & do not be afraid.'"
-Matthew 17:6-7

Friday, January 22, 2016

{Super Easy} Photo Display DIY

Ever had one of those projects that sits around for months 'cause you're not exactly sure what it's gonna be yet?  This was that for me.  I water color painted over this inexpensive thin canvas months ago & have been puzzled as to what I wanted to do with it since.  That is, until today...

Above are the supplies needed for this project.  If you'd like to make a stand for your photo display {instead of leaning it against something}, you'll also need some sturdy cardboard.  P.S.: A ruler is quite helpful, too!

Paint/decorate your canvas {or leave it clean & simple minimalist white}, find the center of the canvas with a ruler, & attach a metal clip near the top center using hot glue.  {NOTE: If you have a certain size photo you want to display, it's helpful to place the metal clip on the image prior to hot gluing to see how you want it spaced on the canvas before you affix the clip down.}

If you decorate your canvas, printing a photo or quote on a piece of vellum lets your design peek through.

It feels good to get things done!  I like the fresh simplicity of this project & it's versatility... it would make a great recipe or note holder, too.

DIY Love,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Currently {Jan.}

+Reading... Fearless by Max Lucado, Savor daily devotional by Shauna Niequist, & Job/Psalms in the Bible.  I'm still working on my Bible reading plan that I started last summer & I'm more than half way through!

+Working... as a temporary librarian at a school for the month of January.  It's "inner-city," & some moments are a real challenge, but I'm leaning into Jesus & that's the best place to be.  Josh Wilson's Pushing Back the Dark is my anthem for these days.

+Missing... someone very special.  The miles in-between seem so far.

+Cleaning... out tons of stuff I really, really don't need!  It's time to live with less; I'm bogged down by all this stuff I never use.  I think I could have been a millionaire if I had just saved my $ & not gone shopping.  Yep.

+Excited... about 2016 & all that it mysteriously unfolds daily.

+Praying... for God's continued miracles & peace for the hurting & sick loved ones in my life.

+Praising... our awesome God that Pastor Saeed Abedini is now released from prison!!!  Plus, so many blessings in my life currently!

+Fighting... fear.  It's a daily battle, but in Him is my victory.

+Wearing... whatever is warm & cozy & layered.  It's freezing here!


P.S.: What are you up to lately?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Whatever.../ Keep Going...


Some days the words flow like rushing rapids - & the hands aren't fast enough.  Words race pen.

Others, like molasses, & it is a push & a pull & a lull of stillness in the white space.  Wondering if the tree's been tapped too often & is drained dry.

The thing is to work in both times - the flood & the drip - keeping hands ready & thoughts swirling.  Carbon into diamond takes work, my friend.

Whatever it is, keep going.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."
-Colossians 3:23 NIV


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Song Love {Jan.}

"This Year" by JJ Heller

"This is the Day" by Josh Wilson

"This Cup" by Sara Groves

Music Love,

P.S.: Here's a bonus song!

"No More" by Josh Wilson

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

This New Year

It's been a long time, guys!  I've missed you!  Really.  Truly.  Yep.  2015 was a busy whirlwind in some respects, & yet there were sweet moments where I chose the otherworldly not-rush that is so foreign to this century.  2016 is bright & hopeful like blooming daisies...  Part of me can't wait to see the adventures flow from God's pen, & that other part of me knows His timing is better than my hurry.  So I do the hard wait-&-see as it is written, & resist the urge to try & grab the tool from my Almighty's hand, 'cause His stories are best & I can trust Him {& so can you} with this new year.


P.S.: I'm so glad to be back!