Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fashion Tips from a 5-Year Old: Belts!

Today my niece gave me a fashion tip:
Now I don't know if I agree with the ALWAYS part, but it is some decent advice and can produce some pretty cute outfits. Honestly, "belting" used to intimidate me. One of those things that looks cute on other people and on Pinterest, but that I could never pull off myself. But I have since gotten braver with the belt trend and here are a few cute outfit inspirations I found...

from La Vie Petite
I love the jacket with this one!

from Cape Cod Collegiate
So simple. So cute! Love the scarf and the maroon top!

from LOFT
 A belt can add a pop of color!

from TeenagersPosts tumblr
My personal favorite! Summery and comfy. Brown belts are so versatile!

Which is your favorite?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: From Textbook Answer to Deeply Rooted Truth

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” –Psalm 139

This verse is prominent in writing and discussions about a woman’s worth. Many women know this verse by heart. Some are truly comforted by the truth it reveals. But for me, I didn’t exactly know what “fearfully” and “wonderfully” meant. I knew this was the “textbook” answer to my questions about my worth, but what is it those words so readily retrievable in my mind actually mean? How can they affect the way I live and view myself?

With this combination of curiosity, confusion, and potential comfort, I decided to look into the meaning and truth of these words.
I do believe we have a Maker. Though I have questioned this in the past, the complexity of human life, to me, is beyond the capabilities of chance. So I know I was made. But what is this “fearfully” and “wonderfully” business?

Here’s what I have found in the dictionary and my heart as I explored and expressed this through art:

Fearfully. I always thought fear was a negative thing. Scared. Frightened. Afraid. Timid. Anxious. But an alternate definition of fearful is this: “full of awe or reverence.” Not only are we to fear the Lord, but when He made us, He was (and is!) full of awe and reverence for us. He admires His work in us. This is amazing to me. We were created with heartfelt interest and respect. The Lord has a lot on His plate, but He still takes interest in us!

Wonderfully. Now this one has a positive connotation. But what exactly does it mean beyond really good? What I found is this: We were created as unique, marvelous, and set apart individuals. We are not mass-produced. Every detail of us is planned. We are complex, yet complete.

Here are my final thoughts. We are known and loved. We weren’t created and then forgotten. We have a Maker who takes continual interest in us. We were created to give praise, honor, and worship to Him.

Although I need a constant reminder of these words and their meanings, they are no longer just a textbook answer, but a solid truth in my life.

This personally created visual reminder hangs on my wall, right next to this gem, sent to me by Wonderfully Made with the purchase of a book.

What does “fearfully and wonderfully made” mean to you? Are there any truths that you want to look into more deeply?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Untangling the Knot of Perfectionsim

I am not sure who reads this blog or who can relate. But I am a big perfectionist. Pretty much anyone who knows me knows that. But it’s also something I am trying to change. While perfection sometimes has a positive connotation, perfectionism can become deeply rooted in the way one thinks and lives, and causes them to strive to meet impossibly high standards- usually self imposed. As we know, perfection is unattainable, so as standards aren’t met, they continue to strive, and grow increasingly frustrated.

I write this in the third person but it is something that rings deeply true for me.

The past few weeks have been filled with a new job, starting a summer class, beginning my senior honors project, and realizing that graduation is fast approaching. This, of course means scary decisions about grad school, careers, and life. And as fear taps my shoulder, the perfectionist response is to try harder. Strive more.

This makes me think of tangled jewelry: tightly wound, knotted chains. That might seem random but bear with me… I picture a mess like this:

Or this...
I think it is safe to say that most women (and maybe men, to avoid stereotypes!) have encountered a tangled chain or two in their life. Usually when you are in a hurry, of course.

Trying to untangle the chains sometimes leads to pulling tighter- because the harder you work at the “problem” the faster it will be solved. Right? In this case, wrong. Pulling on the chains makes it worse, tightens the knot, and increases the tangle.  When you let the chains relax and work on one section at a time, the knot loosens. The necklace comes free.

I am beginning to see and believe that striving doesn’t fix the problem at all. It just makes it worse. I’m not saying it’s bad to have goals and expectations for yourself. I think they are somewhat essential.  But it is also essential to make sure they are reasonable. Are the expectations driven by what you really value or are they driven by habit?

To my fellow perfectionists, when your world starts to feel chaotic, act opposite to the tendency to try harder and strive higher. Relax, work on small areas at a time. Loosen the knot; don’t make it worse.

Now, some other advice I am trying to embrace:



Can you relate to any of this? Do you believe that a problem can be solved by actually trying less?