Jul 21, 2015

Changes & the Ladyette Newsletter

Hey friends! I know it has been way too long since I wrote a blog post. I've been busy trying to grow Shine Your Light (as well as working a full time job and other things) so I haven't been able to post. However, there are some really exciting changes coming for the Ladyette and I feel like I have a refreshed vision for what God wants this space to be. The website may be undergoing some changes so to stay up to date, you can sign up for the Ladyette newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/btNB6r or follow along on Facebook as always. Thanks for always supporting this blog! Your compliments and encouragement mean more than you know!


Feb 20, 2015

Fresh Start // Marriage

When I started the Fresh Start series for this blog, I had intentions to cover several topics within the topic of marriage.  But, I think a better post would be to just write about what I struggle with most of the time.  And that is time with my husband, and taking it for granted.

My personality enjoys focusing on many different things at once, and so my freetime is spent much in the same way.  That meant my husband was never really getting my full attention because I had some multitasking ulterior motive.  Like having date night with my husband but spending the car ride, time waiting for our food, and other precious moments catching up on my Instagram and Facebook feeds.  I even considered it date night to have hubby help me take pictures for the blog.  And we did have fun, so that made it seem ok, but my personal focus was entirely in the wrong place.

So I decided something had to change and I started praying about it continually.  I started managing my time better to get things done while hubby was busy too, that way both of our freetimes could be focused on each other.  I started leaving my phone in my purse during car rides so I'm not even tempted to start scrolling (although I still fail at this way too much), and then we decided together that having one night a week designated for date night would help, too.

It's tempting to cheat at date night, because I mean, we are married so we eat dinner together a lot.  That should count, right?  I used to think so.  But that's just part of the everyday life of being married, it comes with the territory.  To strengthen our marriage and continue growing with each other, we both think it's important to have that time of undivided attention as well as putting forth a little extra effort to make it feel more special than the every day.

So we decided to create a date night jar (you've probably seen these all over Pinterest).  We filled it with slips of paper each with a date night idea.  We repeated some of our favorites and we didn't set a specific number like 52 because we know that we have designated one night a week to be date night but some of those weeks will have to just be dinner.  It's really just a jar with ideas for those nights when we can't think of anything to do or we want something outside of our normal go-to activities.  A couple of our ideas are: homemade pizza night, nerf gun wars, watching old home videos, making an entire dinner from scratch with family recipes, and bowling (because we always forget that option).

Are you taking back date night this year?

// Read: "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."  Ephesians 4:2-3

// Listen: Always Only You by Josh Wilson

// Pray: Lord, I pray for a strong marriage that is a testimony of your love and grace.  I pray for strength for my husband and that he would seek to be the type of husband you want him to be.  I pray for myself to be both humble and strong in our marriage and to be the type of wife you have called me to be.  Please help us to life each other up and carry each others' burdens.  To pay attention to our marriage and to each other so that we might strength it and nurture it.  I pray for a marriage of three between myself, my husband, and you, my God.  I pray for a marriage that seeks You first  and builds a strong foundation for a family.  Please give me discernment and wisdom for the wife I am to be.

This post is part of the Fresh Start series:  INTRO  //  rest   //   quiet time    //   contentment + gratitude   //   goal-setting   //   home   //   wardrobe   //   hair, skin, nails   //   work habits   //   friendship + fellowship    //   marriage   //   wellness

Feb 18, 2015

Fresh Start // Friendship + Fellowship

Continuing with the Fresh Start series, today I wanted to talk about friendship and fellowship.  I like to think the two go hand and hand because one builds up the other.  I think it's possible to have a relationship with anyone solely built on friendship, however, I feel that having a true relationship with sisters in Christ requires both friendship and fellowship.

Too often we walk around with masks on, trying to pretend that we have everything under control.  We're too prideful to ask for help and to embarrassed to admit we have a need.  But, who better to ask for help than a sister in Christ, won't she be the most understanding, most compassionate, or most willing to help?  If she's seeking relationships based on Christ, she will, and that is the best friendship to have.

We have to come to a point of admitting that we need each other.  Asking for help and receiving it will be a blessing, and sometimes we overlook that fact that the person giving help will be blessed, too.  Luke 6:38 is a reminder to "Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  So asking for help is really just giving someone a chance to be a blessing and receive a blessing in return.

God doesn't intend for us to go at everything alone, He is always with us, and he gave us the ability to have relationships with fellow Christians as well.  He has intertwined our paths according to his plans and we can lean on each others' strengths.  "Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.  We have different gifts according to the grace given us." (Romans 12:4-6a).  We have the opportunity to work together as the body of Christ, each contributing our strengths and depending on each other.  This will create relationships and this will grow with fellowship.  Fellowship comes from meet each other as we are and letting our guard down.  It's time to start fresh with our friendships and truly be ourselves with our sisters in Christ.

// Read: "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17

// Listen: The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets

// Pray: Lord, I pray that you would help me to foster friendships with my fellow sisters in Christ.  I pray that I would be a blessing to them and they would feel at ease asking me for help.  I pray that I would seek help from these friendships more often and to become more authentic.  Lord, please help me to be a friend like you.

This post is part of the Fresh Start series:  INTRO  //  rest   //   quiet time    //   contentment + gratitude   //   goal-setting   //   home   //   wardrobe   //   hair, skin, nails   //   work habits   //   friendship + fellowship    //   marriage   //   wellness

Feb 3, 2015

Birthday No. 25 + Shine Your Light

Today I turn 25 years old.  I'm still trying to grasp that fact.  I can't believe I'm already 25 and I've been stressing over it for several days now.  Twenty-five doesn't look quite like I thought it would.  But I've learned that's the point.  It's not about how I thought it would look or what I had planned.  It's about God's plan.  Right now, I'm exactly where he knew I would be.  And for the first year in my life, I feel like I'm truly giving all the control over to God and stepping out in faith.

I've dreamed of finding my purpose.  I've prayed about it.  I've tried to take control and force it.  But all of that is no good.  We all have a purpose, but I believe God chooses to reveal it to us at different times, which is hugely contradictory to the society standard that forces you to decide the rest of your life the minute your high school diploma is in hand.  I had been waiting for that perfect moment to find out what I would be called to do.  But I wasn't getting answers.  God did a work in me this past year and I finally reached a point of turning it over to him in which I stopped trying to force my interests to be my calling and I realized that no matter what I was called to do, it would be fulfilling because it was my calling, not because I thought it was awesome.

But God's plans are always better than our own, and better than anything we could dream up.  God began putting the puzzle pieces together for me.  It's not a great epiphany.  It's not some awe-struck moment cued by a choir of angels.  It's not a shout to the world about what I love.  It's an inner most peace and desire.  A still small voice inside my heart telling me to go and do this.

SO, this Friday, February 6, 2015, Ryan and I are launching an apparel company focusing on creating high-quality t-shirts with hand-lettered inspirational messages that encourage us to shine the light of Christ that lives within us.  Each message inspires us to live God-filled lives loving others, stepping out in faith, and sharing the Gospel.  We want these shirts to be conversation starters and encouragement for everyone.  This is a tool for sharing the Gospel and a declaration of our beliefs as the body of Christ.  We are founded on the words found in Matthew 5:14-16, "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  We believe these t-shirts are just one way Christians can share the light of Christ with the world, spreading His message, wearing His love, and boldly proclaiming he is Lord of our lives.

The Shine Your Light design is our original, founding, design.  Our website goes live Friday morning and the shirt will be released at 10am.  We are so excited for this new journey and everything ahead.  Our dream is to eventually be able to work with non-profit organizations to fight the good fight and create special designs for specific causes.  Right now, we're just learning the ropes and figuring things out.  While we know this is where God wants us to be and have faith he will bless this journey, we know we will face obstacles as well.  Any prayers you can offer us in support would be greatly appreciated.  You can find us at shopshineyourlight.com beginning Friday, but until then, follow us on Instagram @shineyourlightco or sign up for our newsletter here.

Twenty-five doesn't seem so bad with the Shine Your Light launch in sight, and knowing this is God's perfect 25 for my life, makes it that much better.

Jan 30, 2015

Fresh Start // Work Habits

Now is a perfect time for a fresh start in your work habits.  The end of the year gets everyone out of routine with all the holiday functions and activities, so it's a good time to make new routines, or reset old ones.  Getting a fresh start means you can look back, analyze what did or did not work before, and make needed changes.  But sometimes I think the biggest area in which we need a fresh start for work habits, is our attitude.

Maybe you do what you love, or maybe you tolerate what you do.  Maybe you are fresh out of school or well into your career, maybe even at it's prime.  Maybe you work from home, whether your job is running your own business or just running your house.  Maybe you make dreams and plans of what you'll do one day and you're just waiting to see it happen.

I don't know where you stand, but I do know this...you matter, today matters, and everything you do, matters.  Sometimes we dismiss things as not being good enough to matter, and I think we're missing the point.  Life is made up of tiny little puzzle pieces and God is the only one seeing the big picture, so we really have no idea how to judge what's important or what's not.  The things you do affect other people, all the time.  Maybe it's by serving them coffee with a smile, making sure all the houses have electricity, or even just filling a role that helps us to function as a society.  It matters.

But this is easy to forget.  I get caught up in the mundane routine of the everyday and it starts to feel insignificant.  Embarrassingly, I can admit getting frustrated when I feel like my husband doesn't show enough gratification for the laundry or dishes getting done.  I can easily get frustrated with the work I do at home, the work I do at my job, and the work I do trying to achieve dreams that feel so far out of my reach.  It's discouraging.  But that's because I forget that it all matters to God, every little piece is significant and if I approach it with the right heart, I won't need gratification from my husband, satisfaction from my job, or reassurance of my dreams to come.  I must "Do every thing with love," as it says in 1 Corinthians 16:14.  If I am working so as to give love to others and to God, I'm not seeking any kind of personal fulfillment in return, and that is far less frustrating.  Colossians 3:23, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..." is a verse you've probably heard before.  And it is so true, and it is so hard.  It's easy to forget that everything we do is work for Christ when it feels like we're just working for our employer or other people.  I love the Message translation of Colossians 3:22-25:

"Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work."

Ouch, that hits home.  Remember that my work is for Christ can be difficult.  That's why I need an fresh start with my attitude.  It gives an entirely different perspective to do work for Christ than for man.  Christ is perfect.  He sees all, knows all, and still loves us anyway.

No matter what your job is right now, you can serve the Lord right where you are.  And you can approach it with love, rather than aggravation.  And you can rest assured that it matters.

// Read: "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." Philippians 2:14-16a

// Listen: Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman

// Pray: Thank you Lord, for the work you have entrusted to me in every area of my life.  Thank you for using me to love on and serve others.  I pray that everything I do, no matter how insignificant it seems to me, would bring glory to your name.  I pray for a heart that does everything in love without grumbling or complaining, and without expecting anything in return.  Lord please give me a fresh start with my attitude in my work habits and help me to see change this year.

This post is part of the Fresh Start series:  INTRO  //  rest   //   quiet time    //   contentment + gratitude   //   goal-setting   //   home   //   wardrobe   //   hair, skin, nails   //   work habits   //   friendship + fellowship    //   marriage   //   wellness