Thursday, November 8, 2012

Laughing SO Hard



So, we have a friend who's a comedian.
No, like seriously.
He makes his living doing this stuff.
(...and is pretty hilarious... until he asks to babysit your children and you laugh because you think he's joking but he's actually serious... and then it isn't as funny.)


(Yes, John, I just said that.)


We were laughing at some of his videos the other day and I thought I'd share them with you.
These are from our Leadership Conference this past September.
(I think he's in Vegas right now, being all yes-I-do-this-for-a-living like.)






To see more, visit www.johncristcomedy.com

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Behind the Outfit


For me, most things contain meaning.
I remember the stories behind articles of clothing... jewelry... furniture... books.
Fashion isn't just fashion... everything holds a memory.


A lot of people don't get this, and I get that.
I get why they don't get it.
It seems superficial, or materialistic, or whatever.
But the bottom line is I tend to attach meaning, whether warranted or not, to just about everything I have.
(I probably contain in my dna hoarder tendencies.)


Love languages?
My first is Acts of Service.
My second? (I've said this before.) Gifts.
Not gifts for gifts' sake. I remember when this came up in a specific conversation, and a short time later someone gave me a bunch of little stuff, because they thought "gifts" meant "stuff."
But, it's actually not about the "stuff" at all. It's the thought... yes, the sentiment... that speaks to my heart.


When I'm throwing together an outfit, there's always a back story.
I laugh and think of the memories, sometimes deep, sometimes not-at-all.
But, either way, I tend to remember... and hold dear.


This was a recent Instagram #outfitpost.
(You can find me under @angela_white on both Instagram and twitter.)


That navy early 90's shirt I found this summer at a Goodwill in Eugene, Oregon... the big town by the little town I grew up in. I was there with Nate and we were looking for something I can't recall. I was super excited to have something with such fun detail from our trip home.


When I say that scarf came from Forever21, that's no big deal. But in reality, it was a Forever21 in Michigan that we stopped at shortly after I got off the plane with my dear friend Rachael (now) Kiehne. We were there for a women's retreat at her home church, where she was leading worship and I was speaking for the weekend. We had been goofing around in the store (I think I wrapped this around my head), and I wound up buying it. I think of her and our fun trip and how blown away I am at the places God takes me nearly every time I wear it. (Hey, look! It's me & Rach in Michigan!)

The tank was actually a birthday gift from Hanna Hughes, who lived with us all last year. She had bought me something else that didn't quite *ahem* fit when she came for a visit in September, so I exchanged it for this tank with the cool strings on the sides. 
But that happened after she had left, and she never got to see it.
I always think how she would love the way I pair it with things.

The American Apparel skirt I went out on a limb and bought online. I just hardly ever do that stuff!!! But, there was an AA sale on gilt.com, and I just knew that I knew that I knew that I would adore this. It's a reminder every time I put it on that I WAS RIGHT.

The boots I've actually blogged on before... back when "myspace" and "blog" were still mentioned in the same sentence. (Oh, dear goodness, that post makes me emotional!)
They're my hometown. They're country girl. They're a bit of my past, which sat for a long time buried in my closet, but now are used SO often... if even in a different way than originally intended.
(Now THAT'S a message, right there.)

The moth pendant I remember hanging around my mom's neck when I was a little girl. Sometimes she would wear it with this dress that was all white with pink detailing that Dad bought for her on a trip to Korea.
She had pink pumps that matched the pink thread of the dress, and everything about it was just so perfect. Even now as I hold that image in my mind it has a soft-lens light to it.
Sometimes she would wear it to church.
Other times for very rare dates with Dad, which were usually to business meetings, because it wasn't often they could afford to go on an actual date.
I remember always being so mystified by the moths on either side that were pressed between the glass. It had belonged to my Great-Grania, and always seemed to have some kind of magic about it.
When Mom gave it to me there was such a thrill in my heart, like that was somehow an official passage into woman-hood, wearing the moth pendant.


And none of these "things" will last forever.
The clothes will fall apart, just like my mom's beautiful white dress from Korea did.
And the moth pendant will someday be passed to my daughter, but is also doomed to disintegrate, just like the dress.
It's good to recognize the meaning in things, and not look at everything in life from a sterile point-of-view.
And it's good to use the things that mean something to us, instead of keeping them behind glass to simply look at.


We only live once.
Let it be filled with meaning.



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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My reaction... in song






Time to SHINE, baby, SHINE...
and PRAY, baby, PRAY.

Thank you, Jesus, for a nation in which we have the privilege of participating in choosing who governs us.

And thank you, JESUS, that YOU are still LORD.
Your Kingdom has come, and will come, and that. won't. change.
No matter what.
The darker things get, the brighter we will shine.

So, let's shine.



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Monday, November 5, 2012

Laugh Break



With all the election stuff, I just felt like having a good laugh.
I know I posted this a couple of years ago, but seriously, it never fails to make me laugh til I look ridiculous...

Watch it.
Then watch it a second time.

...and then find yourself singing the song at random times that seem really out of place.
"The world has gone insane, and you don't know what is right.
You gotta keep on keepin' on.
Get on that pig and hold on tight!"




And if you're wanting to read where I stand on all the election stuff, read yesterday's post.
But then come back here and watch the video again so tomorrow during election coverage you can be singing it repeatedly in your head.


...or outloud.
(I vote for outloud.)


(And I realize that spell check says "outloud" isn't a word. Technically it should be "out loud" or "out-loud." But, I say we make "outloud" the official correct spelling.
Just like I also say we should make "attackative" and actual word.
Because some people are very attackative lately.)




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Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Vote



There are many Christians who've decided to not announce publicly who they're voting for.
Pastors, authors, speakers... they've prayed about it extensively and come to this conclusion.
For those in the public eye, it's so important to make this decision with much prayer and thought.
I understand that if you endorse one candidate, you risk making supporters of the other candidate feel alienated when they sit in your congregation, read your books, listen to you speak.
Church is about people coming together, unified by following Christ.
It's a family that welcomes ANYONE in, no matter what.
I think it's wise for these leaders to follow what God is leading them to do; to say, "Seek God's heart. Read His word. Vote your convictions," but not necessarily say a name of a particular candidate.


I've also very prayerfully approached this subject.
Nowhere in the word of God are we told to remain silent on issues.
We are told to seek wisdom... to listen for God's leading... to do good and protect the vulnerable.
We are told to speak truth in love, to not seek to offend, to guide our words cautiously, to respect those in authority.


After seeing MANY of the leaders in my life prayerfully choose to not share which candidate they are voting for...
I have prayerfully chosen to be public about my vote.


There are many people who are undecided and unsure.
If those of us who are led to speak up remain silent, they will be swayed by those who ARE vocal.
If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know my heart.
You know I am passionate about life and people and the Church rising up to take their place.
Christians and politics are not mutually exclusive.
Rather, as Christians we are called to engage, to use wisdom, to speak up on behalf of those who are unable to... on behalf of those who have been silenced.


Nate and I mailed in our ballots last week.
We voted for Mitt Romney. 


There are a lot of views, a lot of words, a lot of talk, a lot of slander being slung around in society about both candidates.
The bottom line is I look at the issue of life.
How a candidate values life in all stages shows clearly where their heart is.
I do not think the Romney administration will approach everything perfectly.
Even the issue of life.
No administration ever does.


However, the Obama administration has not valued life.
In fact, it has waged war against those in our nation who have no voice.


I also do not believe in a big government that controls the wheels of capitalism and turns it into a system of wealth redistribution.
I do not believe in a government that financially takes care of its people.


I believe in a government that protects the freedoms of its people to financially take care of themselves, and in doing so empowers its people to create jobs, take risks, and invest in the care of others who are struggling to make ends meet.


I believe in a government that is for the people, by the people... not a government that is for big government, not a government that weaves its control throughout every aspect of society.


I believe Mitt Romney is by far the better choice for President of our nation as we seek to do what is best for all of us.
Not a perfect choice.
Not a "Christian" choice.
But overwhelmingly the best choice.


If you are a follower of Christ, then you need to read the scriptures, seek wisdom for yourself, and ask for God to give you HIS heart on the issues at hand.


You know what conclusion I have come to.
Whatever conclusion you come to, please vote.
It is our responsibility as Christ followers to engage.
To respectfully and responsibly take a stand.
To take action based on love and our convictions.
To take every opportunity to do what is best for the people of the nation we live in.


(To read more on why Christians should be politically engaged, visit Glenn Packiam's well-voiced post.)





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Saturday, November 3, 2012

On countertops and breeding grounds...

My countertops are a breeding ground. No matter how often I put it all away, it comes right back. AND spreads itself around... as if mocking my attempt and letting me know there is never any real "win" in this situation until children leave home.

Which isn't really a "win," either.

Good thing our house is lived in and loved and a breeding ground for other things, too. Like hopes and dreams and faith and miracles and encouragement and life lived full.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

MixItUp: Skinny Cargos



I have two pairs of skinny cargo pants.
(Yes, I wear them both. Often.)


(...*ahem* veeeerrrrryyyyy often.)


The darker pair is Charlotte Russe, on sale for $5 a couple years back.
The lighter pair is actual JBrand (pioneers of the skinny cargo), found last year at a resale shop in Vail for $40.
I kind of flipped.


A smattering of how they've been worn in just the past few months:










Dear, goodness, I sure look serious (even mournful) in these photos.
Maybe I should start doing duck lips.
Or really cheesy smiles.
But, this is real life... as captured in my super cheap-o bathroom mirror... usually before I put on sweatpants for the evening... because I'm real like that... yo.


Evidently, I like to wear plaid articles of clothing with either pair.
And various varieties of boots.
Hope this gives you some new ideas of how to mix it up!




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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Investment & Return



Just a short time ago I was having a conversation with a dear friend who is more than ten years younger than I am.
We were talking hurts and marriage and healing and life.
I brought up a side of a certain issue she hadn't thought of that had to do with men and (Warning: I'm gonna say it.) sex and chemicals and how that relates to marriage and healing and life and such.
She was pretty shocked at what I was saying, and that I was saying it so nonchalantly.
But then she paused in her shock and said something to the effect of, "That's something my mom would have said to me. But, she's not here anymore, so I'm sure glad you're saying it to me! Otherwise I wouldn't have known."


Since then it's been on my heart, that had I not said it, she maybe would have never heard it... never known... never been equipped with that extremely helpful knowledge.
But, if someone else wouldn't have said it to me, I wouldn't have known either.
It just so happens that I heard it from a speaker/author at a women's event, which is the only reason why I was able to pass it along to my friend.
But if I had never gone to the event, I wouldn't have had it to pass along.
Or if the person I heard it from had never said it, I wouldn't have been equipped with that knowledge...
and neither would the other women who have gained that knowledge from her.


Someday my friend will be able to pass that knowledge along to someone else in her path and it will be helpful to them like it was to her, and me, and the other women who've heard it.


I'm very aware that things can only come out of us if we first put them in.
Whether it's from friends, mentors, books, conferences...
what goes into us is what will come out.
As followers of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit who has been sent to us to bring wisdom and understanding. But, it doesn't mean we stop investing, stop reading, stop seeking.
How much MORE can the Holy Spirit use what we seek at His leading?


May we never stop investing in ourselves.
The day we stop is the day we choose to stop investing in those around us, those coming after us.
The day we stop investing is the day we decide we don't care about a return.
We're called to generational ministry, generational investment...
generational return.
(Not sure? Go read Titus 2.)


*And if you're curious about the whole sex thing, visit authenticintimacy.com.*




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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Conversations: on fishing



Saturday morning.
We're all waking up and stumbling out of our caves.
Ian is hungry.

"Mom, can you fix me breakfast?"

I think for a minute.
"What do you want?"

"Waffles."

"We're not going to do waffles this morning, bud. What else do you want?"

"I'll have a bagel."

"Okay. Go get the bagel cutter out."

"What? Mom! Whyyyyy???"

"You can make a bagel. I'll talk you through it."

"Mom, can't YOU make me the bagel? I don't want to make it!"

"No, you can make it."



About five minutes passes.
"Ian, have you had breakfast?"

"No."

"What are you having?"
"A bagel."

"Okay. Get the bagel cutter out."

"Moooommmmm. Can't you just make it FOR me?"

"Ian. Go get the bagel cutter out. I'll talk you through it. And then someday, when you're in college and living on your own you'll thank me for teaching you some very simple and very practical things."

"Yeah, but YOU didn't teach me to cook mac n cheese. Dad taught me THAT."

"Yes, and someday you'll be thankful. Because I could do it all for you, but that wouldn't be the most helpful thing for YOU."
(I realize what's about to come out of my mouth.)
"If you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. If you teach a man how to fish, he'll eat for the rest of his life.
Ian, I'm teaching you how to fish."

He looks at me with that sly little smile, realizing he's been cornered.
"But, Mom. This is a bagel."


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Friday, October 5, 2012

Musings & Happenings: on conferences, faithfulness, family & travel



*I can't believe we're already five days into October. 
No, really. I mean, I can't believe it. 
I keep forgetting.



*Isn't that interesting? That I would forget a truth that's right in front of me.
It's written on every calendar. It's on my beloved iPhone every time I look at the screen.
Odd how it's so easy to forget such simple truth,
even when it's staring you in the face and surrounding you wherever you go.

(That's a sermon, right there.)



*In September I had the amazing privilege of traveling with the incredible Stephanie Henderson (Stephanie Henderson Ministries) to Paris, Texas, to lead worship for The Stiletto Project conference.
We had an absolute blast pouring our hearts into new friends, and I can honestly say I learned so much.
I'm continually thankful and blown away at the women God brings into my life. 
Strong in different ways. 
Varied in talent and influence.
This was such a gift, and I love how God stirs something inside us, but then HE creates the path. He doesn't require us to push and shove to accomplish something in our own strength.
He allows us to yearn for what He stirs, and then opens doors in His timing and moves us into it as we lean into Him.
Amazing.
Amazing, amazing, amazing.
AMAZING.



Walking out our destiny...
"...Blessed is she who believed there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the LORD."
Luke 1:45



Amazing world changers of Paris, Texas.



Jesus with boots on and the Eiffel tower, Texas style.



Steph sat by this guy on the plane home.
"Angela, what are you doing? Angela. Seriously. Are you... are you taking a picture?"
Maybe. *wink*




*In September I also turned 36!!!!!!!! I came home from The Stiletto Project to find the house decorated with streamers, a cake on the counter, presents on the table, and Ian had even made "Happy Birthday" out of legos.
(Yes, it's sitting atop the ferret cage.)



(Click to get full panorama effect.)


I am one... blessed... mom.
I know there are many women who don't want to divulge their age for various reasons.
It's kind of a thing, "Never ask a woman her age."
But, I'm proud of my 36 years. Honestly, I think the enemy creeps in often and tries to whisper, "You're to old for _______." OR, "You're too young for _______."
Really? REALLY?
Well, which is it?
Am I too young? Or am I too old?
The truth is NEITHER! I've walked this earth for 36 years and am going to take ownership of every single one of them.
Do I get a little discouraged sometimes with new wrinkles or my body doing odd things as it ages?
Yes. I'm a normal woman.
(And, man. Some of this stuff is odd.)
But, the TRUTH is I am exactly the right age for what God is calling me to do, 
so I'm gonna CLAIM IT.
And you should, too.
As I claim my age and battle scars and wars-fought-wisdom, maybe some of the younger women looking at me will realize age isn't something to deny but rather something to grasp and dwell in.
Because, really, age doesn't matter. It's what we do with the years we've been given.
None of us is promised tomorrow. We're not even promised the end of today.
So, I'm gonna be thankful and shout from the rooftops that I'm here now...
and I've been here for 36 years.



*We had our New Life Leadership Conference.
I am so thankful to be part of a church family that serves, that loves, that is resilient, that works it out.
Isn't that what we're called to do as family?
We're not perfect... but we're not called to be perfect.
We're called to be in it together... for better or worse, through thick and thin.
Family.



Worship in the Living Room.



Worship discussion in The Tent.



Awesome friends and worship leaders came from Wales! Cath posed with me and Sound of Wales's new cd "Llef" (The Cry).
(Jon, I'm still disappointed you wouldn't jump in. I have no evidence to show Claire. WHEN you come back in Easter, you WILL be subjected to this.)  :-)


And look who ELSE was here for the conference...


Mr. & Mrs. Daniel & Hanna Hughes!!!
(Along with Hanna's parents, whom I did not get a pic of. Boo.)



They may have had to squeeze in the car on the way to the airport.




*Last weekend I had the beyond-incredible honor of leading a group to Women of Faith in Denver.
If you've read this blog for any length of time (even with it's pauses and whatnot) you know I've gone every year for the past however long.
(Okay. Twist my arm. 13 years.)
This conference has been a huge foundation in my life. One of the reasons I am who I am today.
Because any good investment made repeatedly and faithfully becomes a great investment.

I'm going to do a separate post on the HOLY COW FREAKING AWESOME time we had, but I just wanted to say here how blown away I was (am) by God's faithfulness to pour out blessings on His girls.
He just IS.
He just is faithful.
And He just DOES.
He just does pour out.

When we make the commitment to make the space in our schedules, we experience His faithfulness in SO many ways.
And those other 117 women who joined our group can testify to that alongside of me.
In fact, they can testify to the point that we already have 65 girls who've reserved their tickets to go NEXT September!!!
It's that crucial.
The fact that they're standing with me and declaring it just melts my heart to a puddle of snot and tears and love and God's faithfulness.




Click the panorama pic to see the amazingness. Thousands of women holding up their phones in worship and declaring, "I will follow you."
(Photo courtesy of the awesome Jessica Sheasby.)



Rockin' out with Cece. Look where I'm taking this pic from! I KNOW!!!
Best... seats... EVER!

(We have 150 for next year. Will your hiney be one of the ones filling those seats?)



*Amidst all of the amazing things that have been going on, our family is heading into a huge transition.
I don't mean to be vague here, but there are so many unknowns and things we don't have answers for that it's better at this time to leave it at simple:

We are staying in Colorado Springs.
And we are quite thrilled about it.

This in and of itself needs a whole blog post.
In fact, many posts.
But, for now please be praying with us into the adventure God has birthed in our family.
Way before Africa He began speaking, whispering, leaving impressions on our hearts about the future.
But in Africa and after Africa He made very clear some of the things He is calling our family to.
One of them is staying put, here in Colorado Springs.
Out of that, other things will flow.
And we could not be more THRILLED!!!!!

So, we covet your prayers as we navigate this season.
I'll go into more detail as the path of the adventure unfolds, but for now all we are doing is holding our arms wide open and putting one foot in front of the other where God leads us to step.
With very few things concrete. With no answers.
But He doesn't say, "Follow me and I will give you answers."
He says, "Follow me and I will give you LIFE."

So we are.
And He is.


#boom
#JesuslovesmethisIknow


And if you got those last two lines, you must either follow me on Instagram and/or Twitter, OR you've sat in my kitchen for a large chunk of the past year.
Or both.









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Friday, August 31, 2012

"...but go on..."



Earlier this week I was facing a little crisis of sorts.


It's funny how so many things can be swirling around us on the outside, but it's those inner struggles that are actually the hardest.
I tweeted a while back, "Prepare NOW for battle-time decisions, or else when the battle rages you will be frozen and unable to do what needs to be done."
At first read, that can easily mean that when the battle is raging around us, we will have prepared and made up our minds what to do.
When someone does something less than honoring of me, I've already prepared my response.
When something in my life comes crashing down, I've already prepared my response.
But, what about when the battle is raging inside us?
At second read, we realize it's often the inner battle we need to be prepared in advance to fight.
What about when those thoughts sneak in?
What about when the questioning comes?
What about when we're tired of the resistance and we wonder, "Is this worth it? Is it really worth all this? Ugh."


I know God has called me to speak truth.
Well, He calls ALL of us to speak truth, so it's really not that great of a revelation.


...except that He really has. He has called me to speak truth that He shows me, boldly and without fear, yet wrapped in grace and love and peace... walking each step so intentionally at His direction.
In the last few months I have done that in various places in the world. 
Wales. Swaziland. Uganda.
In the past year(s) I've stood in front of numerous people... large groups, small groups, individually... and called out the truth that God has laid on my heart, wrapped in the reality of His loving grace.


But interestingly enough, the battle always rises... especially on the inside.
Because there is an enemy who does not want us speaking truth.
(Or sometimes he's fine with us speaking it, as long as it's not wrapped in grace and love, because that does even more damage than if we never spoke it in the first place.)


Earlier this week I was preparing to reenter some areas (because the fall season is here, and that's what we do in fall: reenter) where I know God has called me to speak truth.
So, why is it often easier to travel and proclaim it than to do it on your home soil?
(I could expound on that here, but it's meant to be a thought provoking and somewhat rhetorical question.)


And the inner battle rises.
Funny how, when we seek His thoughts and His heart, He is so quick to affirm and confirm and build us up in what He has called us to.


"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."


Do you know who God said that to? Paul. He said it to Paul in Acts 18.
Paul the greatest apostle of all time.
Paul who stood before people who both loved him and hated him and he spoke the truth, wrapped in grace and love, no matter the audience.
PAUL!!!!!
"Do not be afraid any longer..."
Ummm... why would God say that to Paul
Paul wasn't afraid. Right? Paul never had second thoughts. Right? 
He was the Einstein of the Apostles. 
The Abraham Lincoln of the whole group.
The Montana in the heyday of the 49ers.


Or maybe Paul was human, like the rest of us.
And maybe thoughts and questions rose in his head like the rest of us.
And maybe when he got shut down and turned on and shunned, maybe sitting there at his desk, reflecting in the candle light, up too late...
maybe he had the same thoughts as the rest of us.
"Is it really worth it? Is it really worth all this? It's so exhausting. Maybe I should just stay here and study. The other guys can speak truth. Silas, Timothy. They got this. I'm tired. I'll stay here and..."
Yet God, so quick to affirm and confirm and build up, says, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."


Earlier this week I was facing a little crisis of sorts...
wondering if it was really worth it. Thinking maybe I should throw in the towel in this certain area. There are others that have it. I could just retreat and it would be fine. Reasoning in a way with my own self, knowing what God has called me to do, yet weary of the doing it in certain places that are just... so... hard.


"Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."


Yet God is so quick to affirm and confirm and build up. I just love so much His sweet and tender way of reassuring us while dolling out a kick in the rear.
We seek His heart, we go to His word, and then a passage jumps off the page. It hangs in front of our eyes while at the same time hugging us so tightly and literally causing a physical surge of strength in our bodies, causing us to stand up, pace the room and exclaim, "Yes! Okay, Lord! I'll do it!" 
The passage is written as a message straight to us, exactly in this moment... nearly two thousand years ago.
Because His word is living and active, sharp as a two-edged sword.


And no one on the outside would know that Paul even needed to hear from the Lord, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you..."
But it was recorded so we would know that these are real people, dealing with the same inner battles.


And no one would ever know I've struggled with any of this, except that I'm recording it, because I'm a real person who deals with the same inner battles we all do.
But, I've made up my mind in advance and prepared myself NOW, so when it rages I will trust God's word and what HE says.


"...but go on..."


And I will continue walking out what He has called me to do, in the very areas He has called me to do it.


And so will you.


"...for I am with you..."








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Monday, August 27, 2012

MixItUp: Black Tank



One of the everyday fashion woes I hear most often is people aren't sure how to mix things up.
Getting stuck in ruts is one of the biggest problems we have, and I'm no exception!
(In both life AND fashion. I've ordered the exact same thing at Spaghetti Factory for 15 years... and I'm NOT going to change THAT. But, you CAN change how you wear that bright colored jacket you bring out once a month!)
We buy a shirt we love. We wear it with one outfit.
And then it's stuck in our head that way and we only wear that certain shirt with those pants and those shoes.
We don't ever mix it up.


Why?
Why don't we pair it with something else?
Because we get stuck in a rut and aren't sure how to get out.


I'm starting a new post series called MixItUp.
It's pretty simple, really. I'll post some pics of the same item of clothing being worn in different ways...
hopefully giving you some ideas on how to mix up your own stuff.


In this post I wore my no-name baggy black tank that I thrifted a couple years back, seen here:
(Yes, I realize this is an easy one to start on.)


...layered with a longer Active Basic black tank, Poleci silk crop pants, Tahari sandals, no-name silk 90's top and Kenya earrings.


The next day we went to a thing downtown as a family...

...with 501 cut-offs, large black/brown belt, Qupid sandals, Kenya earrings, F21 necklace, and cheap sunglasses.


And then it was so comfy I wore it again a short time later to take Mom and Dad to the airport...


...with same Active Basic tank layered under, American Apparel skirt, I *heart* Ronson cardi, Qupid sandals, Kenya necklace, I can't remember which earrings. Funny, I switched which side the braid was on.


And you may or may not already know my secret. I don't necessarily wait days between wearings of the same item of clothing. If it's a staple (black tank) I may wear it multiple days in a row (if it's not dirty). If it's a more identifiable piece (blue skirt), I may wear it if I'm not seeing the same people.
Because this is REAL LIFE and... does it really MATTER?


Just sharing my secrets here, people. Just sharing my secrets.

Now, go mix it up.


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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ka Mun Rah... and I have come BACK...



THREE MONTHS!!!
Holy freak-out cow.
And in those three months since I last blogged I have
*been to Swaziland with my family (freak OUT!!!)
*South Africa and Uganda with my daughter  (I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!)
*seen two amazing weddings 
I've been praying for 
*been to California, Oregon and 
Washington to see friends and family 
*miraculously formed a group of over 100
women that will crash Women of Faith in September
*experienced so many incredible things
*sent my kids BACK to school (muah-ha-haaaa)...


and God has been kicking my rear to get back on here and blog about all of it!


(Of course, if you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you have seen the craziness of this summer's journey documented in pics and short sentence bursts.)


Hopping back into things, there will be some changes on this blog.
You will see posts on everything our family experienced in this amazing summer.
Africa was beyond incredible, and I desperately want to share all of it with you. Things we learned, things that didn't happen I thought would, things that did happen that I may have not been as prepared for.
All of it.
Because God is INCREDIBLE and it's all HIS story (HIStory) that is shouting to be told!!!


One of the major changes you will see is that I am re-enabling comments.
Long ago, there were comments on this blog. And then there were not, due to reasons that maybe I'll explain at some point on here but won't get into now.
Well, comments are HERE. So, while most of my readers may not ever care to leave a comment, some of you have said you'd like to at least have the option.


HowEVer, this blog is NOT COMMENTS BASED!!!!!!!!! There are some bloggers and readers that live and die by comment numbers and topics and whatnot.
I'm just tellin' ya right NOW that this blog is not one of those.
If you DO choose to comment, I'm going to do my best to respond within a few days of the post. Because you've come here, and you've taken the time, and that's just super cool, so I want to respond!


Another major change is that I will still be blogging on fashion-y type stuff (yes, that's an official term), BUT my Random Outfit Posts will now be appearing mostly on Instagram as just plain Outfit Posts.
(This has already been happening, which some of you know because you already follow me on there.)
I will still do tip and style posts on here, for sure. (And I'll probably even post the Instagram pics every so often.) But, it was just too difficult and time consuming to try and set up the camera outside, get some decent shots, upload them, sit down to do the post, etc.
In my real days full of real life, it just didn't happen as often as I wanted it to. And one of the whole POINTS of the outfit post is to show what I'm actually wearing in real life and how you don't have to spend a fortune to feel good in what you're wearing.


With the glorious invention of Pic Stitch that leads to Instagram that leads to Twitter that leads to Facebook, I can snap a few "real life" shots and post them with outfit details in just a couple of minutes.
Which means I'll post them more often... which means you get to see what a real woman who loves real fashion wears during her real days in her real life... which means hopefully you'll sometimes be inspired to step out of the box and try something new in YOUR real days full of real life.


Because some days it's stilettos and somedays it's flats.
And some days it's lots of jewelry and some days it's not.
And some days it's sweat pants and some days it's a dress.
Because that's JUST how life IS.
And we can feel confident in ALL of it.


But whatever changes happen, whatever adventures God leads me into, whatever topics are on my heart to discuss here,
Stilettos & Grace will always be about the (un)balancing act of walking out this amazing, grace-filled life that God has called us to.
It's an ADVENTURE, and we're meant to embrace it as such!


"I have come that you might have life, and life to the full."
~Jesus, John 10:10





(Title... where's it from? It's a frequent quote here in the White House.)





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Friday, June 1, 2012

Random Outfit Post



I still have a few more Wales posts to do.

And I'm forever walking around giving God TOTAL glory for the miraculous story, told in my last post.
(Because we're going to Africa. 
OUR FAMILY IS GOING TO SWAZILAND AND UGANDA in LESS than a WEEK!!!)

And I NEED to update you on some AMAZING Women of Faith info.
(Are you coming with our group? Because we're going to have a BLAST. And I'm a seat snob, which God totally provided for and gave us AWEsome seats.)
Sign up or get more info on my Women of Faith blog page.

BUT, I have been hearing some comments...
"It suuuuure has been a while since you've done a Random Outfit Post."



Yes. Yes, it has been a while.



I was feeling very olive-y on Sunday...






pulling it all together...
cropped silk 90's shirt: Found for less than a dollar at my fav thrift store up on the Air Force Academy.
cropped silk pants: Poleci, dirt cheap at XSThreadz. SO comfy.
black billowy tank: Goodwill in California. I think it's a yoga brand, but it is incredibly lounge-y comfy.
black tank layered under: Active Basic, fav layering brand, from French Quarter in SLO.
strappy sandals: Tahari, a birthday gift a few years back from my handsome hubby.
gold earrings: Kenya.
gold bracelet: from mom, via my sis, from Spain? (Mom, I can't remember.)
same leather Brave and Grace bracelets I always wear and small gold ring from Grams.
hair: Showered night before, slept on it, ran my fingers through it with a bit of hairspray to add texture.


This outfit would actually be great without the tank layered under. However, I was going to church and wanted to make sure everything "stayed in place" if I felt like jumping around during worship.
Hence, the layering top. 
But if I were just wearing this out and about I wouldn't worry about it. The drapey tank looks a little more flow-y and loose without the second layer beneath.
In fact, I did wear this tank three more days this week!
*gasp*
Because it was just sooooo comfy.
(I'm a rule-breaker like that.)


(Actually, I'm not. I'm totally a rule-follower. But, when it comes to fashion... I'm a rule-breaker. Ooooo... I feel so Molly-Ringwald-as-Andie-in-Pretty-in-Pink-ish.)


I love how strappy these sandals are, and the stud detail and soft leather are amazing. The fact that they're only a 3 inch or so heel makes them great for long-wear. There is a little scuff on one of the tips that I need to fix. But, it's me we're talking about here. 
I always forget to do that stuff until I'm wearing the item that needs fixed.




And because we all know I can never be too serious, even if my above pics make it seem like I am...







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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swazi Update: FUNDED!!!


(This post is an update on where our Swazi finances are and the amazing things we have seen take place. We are still taking donations to make the Uganda goal for the follow-on trip Brittney and I are making. Details below.)


Last week we witnessed a miracle... 


Wednesday morning we launched a matching campaign for our Swazi trip. An extremely generous donor said they would match, dollar for dollar, all donations up to the cost of one trip ($3500, which has gone up from $3300 since we first started on this journey). We were blown away at this amazing opportunity!!!
That meant that if we could somehow max out this matching gift, we would raise $7000 for our family's trip to Swaziland!!!


When we started this journey back in January, we had an estimated $27,000 to raise for our family of six to go to Swazi, for me and Brit to follow onto Uganda and for my Wales trip (that I took in early May).
***Get those full details here.***
We had no idea how the funds would be raised, but we knew that we knew that we knew God was calling us into all three of these trips.


My Wales trip was covered about a week before I left, which was amazing and miraculous in and of itself.
When I returned we looked at the $12,000+ balance in our Swazi account and said, "Okay, Lord. We can't do this... we knew that when you called us into it. But YOU can. ONLY You can."


SO many incredible people had given to put that $12,000 into our account. We were humbled and beyond thankful at the generosity of our friends and family. The tutu sales and fundraising nights at Marco's Pizza had been helpful, but we knew we couldn't stop there if we were going!


Last Wednesday morning when we launched the matching campaign, we were two weeks away from leaving...

...AND WE WATCHED A MIRACLE HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!


Donations came into paypal, and we received messages and emails from people committing to give.
Thursday early afternoon we received an updated donation report from the church that told us we were getting closer to maxing out the gift, but we still had a bit farther to go.
I spread that news via emails and facebook, and we said, "Okay, God. You know what this is supposed to look like."


And we waited.


More messages and emails came in indicating that people would donate. And we received paypal emails saying that people WERE donating!!! People were pouring out their hearts into this Swazi trip and coming alongside of our family!
And in the midst of that Thursday so many other immediate things were clamoring for our attention with kids and doctors appointments and school ending. We knew God had it... and that we wouldn't receive a report from online donations until sometime Friday.
My parents flew in that night, and we prayed and waited.


Friday morning came and went, and we cheered on Brit as she walked up to receive her 5th grade continuation certificate and officially move into 6th grade... and middle school.
Friday afternoon came and went, and we jumped between classrooms and schools as the kids got out for summer break and celebrations were had.
Friday evening came and we went as a family, with Mom and Dad and Hanna Who Is Most Awesome (our very own School of Worship Intern) to the kids favorite restaurant to celebrate the end of another school year... Golden Corral. 
I kept glancing at my phone, looking at email every so often... and then it came.
A text message from the Amazing Melissa: "I just sent you an updated report."


I looked at Nate and clicked into email. It started downloading. He took the phone from me. "Honey!" I exclaimed. He opened one email... opened the attachment... a grin spread across his face...
"Our Swazi trip is covered."
"WHAT????" I called out in the middle of Golden Corral.
"It looks like our Swazi trip is fully covered and the plane flights for you and Brit up to Uganda are probably covered, too, with some left over for the Uganda ground costs."
"AAAAAAAA!!!!! HONEY!!!! Really??? REALLY???
He showed me the amount, and between the church's online giving site, paypal, and the checks that had come in and we knew were coming, we not only maxed out the matching gift, but we raised over $10,000 in 36 hours!!!!!
Enough to put our total to around $23,000!!!!!!! 


And in the middle of Golden Corral we cheered and celebrated and rejoiced in the faithfulness of our God and the amazing hearts and generous spirits of our friends and family... some who hardly even know us, but believe so deeply in what we are stepping into.


We are blown away. Absolutely blown away. For the past few days I have been walking around with a somewhat dazed look and a slight smile. 
Sometimes laughing,
sometimes with tears pooling in my eyes,
sometimes randomly squealing (which I'm sure is hard to imagine). *wink*
Because one of the huge things with our Swazi finances being covered right now is that we didn't have to spend our last week and a half scrambling to fundraise the remaining money.
We leave a week from tomorrow, and we are able to focus on packing and prepping... get everything laid out, wrapping up loose ends.
This going-across-the-world-with-four-kids thing is no joke! Man. And because of all of you who have stepped in to be a part of this, we can breathe and take these last few days to focus on our family being ready.


You are all SUCH a blessing to us!!! When I say that, I hope you can hear the sincerity in my words. From giving throughout the months, to giving during the matching campaign, to praying fervently for our family and our trip... SO many of you stepped up and into our Swazi story. Not only have you come alongside of our family in this, but you have come alongside the story of these beautiful Swazi people. YOU are going WITH us in carrying the hope of a future to this AIDS-ransacked nation.
YOU have invested in them... and us.


So many of you have invested financially, with sacrifice... THANK YOU!!!
So many of you have invested with your prayers, putting our picture on your fridge or mirror or car dashboard and covering us in the most foundational aspect of this trip... THANK YOU!!!
And so many of you have done BOTH... THANK YOU!!!


Our Swazi trip: funded.
Mine and Brittney's plane flights up to Uganda: funded.
Our Uganda ground costs: we still need to reach that goal, but we're getting there!
Donations keep coming in, and if you still have a heart to join this story and help us go, we do still need help covering the rest of our Uganda costs. I don't have an actual amount on that, because with group fundraising and other elements, it's hard to nail down what remains.
But, we're going to keep moving forward, knowing that just as God has provided for everything else, He will provide for this, too.
(Just follow the giving guidelines on our Africa page.)


Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to everyone that has come alongside of us.
We're so excited to frame that picture of our family in Africa and write every single one of your names on the mat, to be hung in our household and remembered in our Swazi story... in our family's story... that has become part of your story.


God is faithful. He does provide for what He calls us into.
Thank you for being part of that provision for our family.
Many said it couldn't be done, that we were launching into the impossible.
Good thing that's what our God specializes in... making the impossible possible.
We hear, we obey, and we do it with confidence in the One who calls us into the adventure.


Africa, here we come...


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