SAVE PHILIPPIANS 4:13

On Saul’s quest to murder anyone who spoke in favor of Christ, he happened upon Christ himself (the resurrected Christ that is). Saul then wandered blindly–literally–to Damascus where he regained his sight and became Paul, one of the greatest defenders of the gospel ever known.

For years, Paul traveled preaching the Truth. During that time, he was sought out by multiple friends (yes, friends) to be killed; he was stoned (to death) but revived; he was arrested, tortured, and thrown into jail; he was mocked by incredibly large crowds while preaching (yet here we are getting our feelings hurt when someone ‘unfollows’ us); he had groups of people following him from city to city attempting to annihilate him (people were actually vowing not to eat until he was dead); plus more…

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea.” 2 Cor. 11:24-25

“But whatever anyone else dares to boast of–I am speaking as a fool–I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one–I am talking like a madman–with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death.” 2 Cor. 11:21-23

Countless… He doesn’t even know how many times he was physically beaten in the name of Jesus. He actually lost count.

I feel like that’s something I would remember. Someone kicked me in the stomach in preschool, and I still remember her name. Someone told me in fifth grade that she didn’t want to sit by me at lunch anymore, and I still remember the feelings that were hurt. Someone in college made fun of me for continuing to do theater, and I still think of him every time I book a job. Yet here is Paul, often near death (vs 23) and actually fighting FOR something, but he’s lost count of how many times he was persecuted.

I’ve never heard of a Christian man stronger than Paul. It’s because of him that we have most of the New Testament. His firsthand accounts with Christ have been written down and passed on to us. However, there are many Bible verses that we tend to misuse–no, abuse.

“I press on towards the goal to win the prize…” Phil. 3:14

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord…” Jer. 29:11

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened for you…” Luke 11:9

But perhaps the worst of all, the most dangerous verse to misinterpret, is this:

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength…” Phil. 4:13

We walk around with our printed coffee mugs and our wooden placards on the walls and our sports teams’ T-shirts, and we think we can bend the meanings of these verses to fit our needs.

We’ve missed it entirely.

“Hold in your mind his [Paul] being scourged, having the flesh torn from his back. Hold in your mind his struggling to keep his head above water as the ship he’s on sinks violently into the watery abyss. Hold in your mind his relentless sleep at night while thugs scour the streets to find him and kill him. Hold in your mind the vision of his body crumpled on the ground, his face in the bloody dirt, covering his head and body in a desperate bid not to die from the seemingly unending onslaught of stones.” -Matt Chandler

Do you see now how we’ve done Paul’s precious words an injustice?  It’s not about scoring a goal or following your dreams or accomplishing whatever it is you selfishly want with God’s help.

Paul figured it out. He’s the one with the right perspective. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

There is something profoundly beautiful about Paul’s life. He was fine with living because that meant he could continue his mission. He was fine with dying because that meant he got to be with Jesus. His life was filled with Christ. His suffering was all for Christ. His torture and imprisonment was in the name of Christ.

Philippians 4:13 is so much more. It’s telling us whether we’re in the big leagues or striking out every swing, praise His name. Whether we’re CEO of the company or scrubbing the office toilets after hours, praise His name. Healthy or sick, rich or poor, big or small–praise His name.

Paul detached himself from the material so he could focus on the eternal. Can we really do everything? The answer is no. Can we do everything for Christ, win or lose? Absolutely.

#thingsadored

YOUR ROLE

This Christmas season is my first being a mom, and it’s really got me thinking about what Mary must have gone through. She was scorned for becoming pregnant before marriage, her birth experience was full of discomfort and inconvenience, and she raised this perfect baby boy to later watch him die right before her eyes on the cross. I’d like to think that knowing he was the Son of God gave her a bit more peace and understanding, but he was still her child.

Mary was the only person to watch Jesus come into this world and leave this world. She held him as a fresh warm newborn and also as a cold lifeless man. We can imagine that even if she’d known all this suffering would take place, she still would have said yes to being Jesus’ mother.

Would you have said yes? Would you have endured all the pain that was required of Mary? And if so, why weren’t you the one God deemed fit to fill this role?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28

The thing is, we all have a part to play. Maybe we weren’t Jesus’ mother or father. Maybe we aren’t called to leave our homes and go overseas. Maybe all we’re meant to do is get up and go to our 9-5s and live life with the people in our office. But whatever it is, it’s been assigned to you specifically by God. The same God that chose Mary has chosen you. You have a special role to play in fulfilling God’s will, and it is just as important to accept your task as it was for Mary to accept hers.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. -Exodus 9:16

We’re all in this for the same reason. Our decision making should begin and end with God. Ask Him what your job is, and work fervently towards it. There will be ups and downs, but you were created with that purpose in mind. This is your part. And He’s trusting you with it because He knows you are exactly who He needs.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. -2 Timothy 1:9

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JORD WATCH

THEY’RE BAAAAAAACK!!!!!!

Actually, JORD Wood Watches never went anywhere. But the holidays are upon us and so is another gift opportunity! This Christmas, I invite you back to JORD for another round of holiday fun. These beautifully crafted watches are fresh, affordable, and add a fun new twist to any outfit.

JORD’s wood watches are my absolute favorite accessory. They come in many different shades and styles making them a perfect fit for any shopper wanting to personalize their present. These timeless pieces are stunningly unique and very versatile. As you can see, I went for a little more masculine look this year and am LOVING it. I’m able to dress mine up for a night out or dress it down while I’m working from home.

There are countless ways to brag on these watches, but instead of carrying on, I’m inviting YOU to join me and my friends at JORD for a special holiday deal. By simply entering your email address, you’ll receive a coupon worth 25% off your purchase! Trust me, you won’t want to miss out.

ENTER HERE for your discount.

This will remain open until 11:59 pm on Dec. 19, 2016. 

Don’t let this awesome gift opportunity pass you by. Your family and friends can thank me later.

JORD Watches // MY Watch

*This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.

#thingsadored #jordwatch #jordwatches #woodwatch #jordfrankie

HALLOWEEN LEAF CRAFT

Daniel and I did a fun little Halloween craft the other day that I wanted to share incase anyone out there was in search of something festive to do with the kiddos. It didn’t take much time at all and turned out really cute.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Leaves

Acrylic paint

Sponge brush

Q-tip

Lay out the leaves on a surface that can get messy (we used a brown bag from Trader Joe’s). Squirt a little bit of paint right on the leaf, and use the sponge brush to cover the leaves with the paint. Wait a bit for it to dry, and add the faces!

The craft was so simple. We ended up taping them to the wall in the kitchen, and now Daniel tries to grab them every time we pass by. I don’t typically buy Halloween decorations because I’ve got enough Christmas ones in storage already — oops. However, these have been fun to hang around the house, and I’m ok tossing them once the holiday passes.

Tips: Try to find dry leaves. The leaves I brought home that were a little damp curled up on the edges once they had dried out. I found that the leaves also curled a little after I had painted them, but once the paint dried, I was able to flatten them out enough to hang them.

Have fun!

 #thingsadored

BABY FAVORITES

So. Many. Options. When I first started registering, I had no idea where to even begin. Should I get a swing or a rock and play? What kind of stroller do I need? How much should I spend on a diaper bag? The struggle is REAL.

Here’s the good news: you’re the mom. You get to choose. Here’s more good news: there’s not much you need in the very beginning, so there’s plenty of time to feel out what’s going to work best for you.

If you’re just now beginning your registry, or even if you have a little one and you’re still searching for some things you may need, here are a few companies that I’ve really enjoyed. These have all been my go-to’s in the first six months.

When I started my registry, I used the BabyList app. BabyList allows you to register with multiple stores while keeping all the registry links in one place. This was perfect because you can access bigger registries like Target and Babies ‘R Us as well as small shops and boutiques all in one app. Having everything in the same place makes it easy for family and friends to see what you like/need.

The stroller we went with was a Doona (this link takes you to buy buy Baby, but they can be purchased from multiple locations). This is hands down the best baby purchase we’ve made. It’s not only a stroller but a carseat as well. The wheels on the stroller collapse and fold, then everything clicks into a base that’s installed in the car. I cannot even begin to explain how convenient this stroller is. With the amount of traveling we do, I don’t know that we’d survive with anything else. Even the amount of times we’re in and out of the car throughout the day is made easier by having a stroller/carseat combo — not to mention when he’s passed out and I don’t want him to wake up, there’s no moving him from one carrier to another. They’re a little on the pricier side, but after purchasing both a stroller and carseat, you’ve almost spent the same amount anyway. Do yourself a favor, Doona is the way to go.

The only downside to Doona is that there is no undercarriage storage. That’s why I purchased a backpack as a diaper bag. My KiKiLu is so cute and super spacious. I love that it doesn’t scream DIAPER BAG while I’m wearing it, and everything I need plus more fits inside. This thing gets compliments everywhere I go, and it comes in a few different colors. Definitely glad I registered for this.

Another stroller accessory that I’ve loved is my nursing/carseat cover from The Baby Abode. This cover has come in handy when I’m out and need to nurse or if weather conditions aren’t great and his carseat needs to be covered. It’s also useful while shopping anywhere with a cart — plus it makes a super cute scarf. I love that this serves so many purposes because I only need to remember one thing instead of three or four when I get out. They come in lots of cute colors/patterns, plus they’re thin so when you’re feeding your little one, you both stay cool.

Another trial and error product for us was diapers. Thankfully, we were gifted a few different brands, but we ended up using Pampers the most. I loved having the little line that goes from yellow to blue when they get wet. We also experienced the least amount of blowouts and leaks with these, especially once he started sleeping 10-12 hours a night.

As we all know, babies are messy. Bath time is a daily occurrence, and I’ve found a few things that make it fun for both of us. The tub we registered for was the 4mom Infant Tub. As a new mom, this was really great because it reads the water temperature. If the water gets too hot or too cold, it sounds a small alarm letting you know to adjust it. I was thankful for this because I wouldn’t have known what too hot/too cold for a baby was. Once I got a feel for the correct temperature and he could hold his head up a tiny bit better, I started using the Blooming Bath Lotus. I loved this because not only is it soft and comfortable for the baby, it also travels really well. Fold it up, put it in your suitcase, toss it into any sink, and TA-DA!! You’ve got yourself a bathtub. The second thing that we use during bath time is Babo Botanicals soap. The first soap we tried dried Daniel’s skin out a bit, but we’ve really enjoyed their products. Plus, when they sent the soap to us, they included some BOMB lip products for me. Brownie points were scored for sure.

Nighttime… this is where babies tend to differ the most. Some sleep 4 hours a night, some 12. Some stay in your room for the first 6 months, some go to the crib after just a few weeks. Some stay swaddled for a long time, some don’t. For us, we kept Daniel in our room for the first 16 weeks then moved him to his own room. No rhyme or reason, that’s just what worked. The decision I had a tougher time with was when to stop swaddling. He was wiggling those chubby arms out from about 3 weeks on, but it’s safest to keep them swaddled until they can roll over. So, how do you bridge that gap? With the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit! It’s a great transition from swaddle to complete freedom in the crib. Their arms and legs are a little more free, but they can’t roll over with the suit on. It’s amazing. He also started sleeping much longer stretches once we put him in this… Just sayin’.

One of my favorite little contraptions is the Baby Shusher. It makes a subtle shushing sound that’s gotten Daniel to sleep in the most dramatic of public meltdowns. It’s small enough to fit in the carseat/stroller with them and hardly takes up any space in the diaper bag. I take this thing everywhere, especially when we’re going to be out for a while and I’m counting on him napping on the go. You can purchase them from multiple locations, and they make great shower gifts.

One piece of advice I would give is not to have too many clothes. I know, I know, there’s so much out there and everything is adorable and you want allllllll of it. But honestly, I’ve grown tired of digging through outfits he barely wears to find my favorites. I would suggest choosing 10-12 pieces per size and nothing more. I do laundry everyday, so it’s not like he’s ever going to run out. Here are some of my favorite clothing brands: Rylee + Cru, Jax & Lennon CoMurray & Finn, June IsleKid WildZara Kids, and H&M Kids. For some fun accessories, check these out: Kinbe, Noble CarriageBriar Handmade, and Petite Soul Shop.

Moms need clothes, too, and I’ve found the one piece of clothing that EVERY pregnant/breastfeeding mom needs: Dwell & Slumber dresses. The buttons in the front make it easy to nurse, and the flowy one-size-fits-all design stretches for even the biggest bumps. These dresses are pretty much glorified pj’s, and I’m not sure I would have made it without these. They sell out super quick though, so set your alarm when they restock and be ready to POUNCE!

Woolf With Me is where I found nursery linens such as his crib sheets, changing table pad cover, and Boppy cover. Their stuff is so cute and comes in tons of different patterns. I had a really tough time deciding what I wanted!

As far baby wearing, we’ve really loved the Solly Baby Wrap. It’s cozy and cute and you wrap it yourself, so there’s no such thing as outgrowing it — until your child is so heavy you wouldn’t want to wear them anyway. The colors are beautiful, so I don’t mind having what I’m wearing covered up by it. And don’t worry, it comes with instructions for how to put it on. If I can figure it out, you can, too.

Something else I’ve been using a lot lately is our Gathre mat. It’s made with real leather and is super easy to clean. We’ve taken ours for picnics, to the beach, and we also put it under Daniel while he’s eating because it’s a quick clean up. They come in some really fun colors, however, we chose the streetcar pattern so he’ll be able to play with it for years.

Since it’s not all work and no play, I’ll also share some of my favorite toy companies. These are toys that I find to be aesthetically pleasing (because we all know kids stuff can come in… interesting colors) and safe incase they end up in their mouth — as most toys do. Check out Fanny & Alexander, Hazel Village, and Little Cottonwood (they also have great clothes).

Hopefully, some of you that were as lost as I was have found something helpful. Like I said, these were all my first-six-month go-to’s, and they’re all companies I trust using for an infant. If you have any questions, reach out or leave a comment below. I’d love to help out more if I can! And don’t get overwhelmed. We all make it out alive :)

 

#thingsadored