Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Random Outfit Post

Wore this the other day... which is probably more like a couple of weeks ago... for a bunch of errand running.
(Lots going on. I'm losing track of time over here.)

pulling it all together...
skinnies: H&M Sqin
tank: from Desperation Conference last year
flannel: thrifted
vest: target, via goodwill
shoes: thrifted
necklace: gifted from Lisa Leonard Designs
same leather bracelets, white gold ring from Grams and rhinestone earrings I always wear
hair: side braid

I have to say I looooooove this tank. It's one of those perfect fits that is so cozy. Usually I buy one thing at Desperation each year that I know I'll wear forever and ever. But THIS year I fell hard for the sweatpants and this tank.
I couldn't decide... couldn't decide... so I splurged and bought both... and am so happy I did! They're both absolute favs that I wear constantly.
(If you've been to my house, you can attest to this. Despo sweats and Crown sweatshirt. Practically my uniform.)
The tank says "Alternative" on the label, and I got a large so it would be extra roomy.
I love the funkyness of the deer, AND the fact that it says
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." Psalm 42:1
This is no wimpy deer, people.
Freaking awesome.

(And for those of you reading this who are "in the know," who designs the Despo stuff and picks the clothing sources? I need to know.
Because they're freaking awesome, too. And I secretly want to collaborate with them on some things.)

Hey, here's where you should go check out the info for Desperation 2012.
And after that, you should go tell your youth pastor to bring a group.
Don't have a youth pastor to organize it? Then jump up and take the initiative.
It's life changing stuff here, and it's worth the drive/plane flight/detail arranging it will take to get you to Colorado Springs this June and/or July.

And here's where I stare aimlessly off into the distance and look like I'm questioning something that goes on... and when I upload the photos I laugh at the expression I didn't realize I was making.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Random Outfit Post... & Thrifting Tip

I wore this for a thrifting day a few weeks back. (That sounds like I just plan thrifting days, which is not usually the case. It was when awesome Summer was in town, so of course THAT completely required a whole day be set apart for the hallowed pastime.)
Tip: When you plan to be trying lots of things on, it's best to wear an outfit that's easy to get in and out of.
Hence, my attire:

pulling it all together...
black tube dress: American Apparel, via
cardi: i *heart* ronson, via Goodwill (that you've seen here and here and here and here and... I told you I wear it all the time)
black shiny leggings: Volcom, via Goodwill (Lacie, you asked me to show these forever ago. And I'm only just now doing it!!! So sorry. Chalk it up to me forgetting to take pics.)
black 80's cowboy boots, folded down: little thrift shop in Redmond, Oregon, the finding of which you can read about here
scarf: gifted from my awesome Awaken friends (Thanks, Hannah & Melissa!!!)
other accessories: usual rhinestone hoops, leather cuffs and white gold ring 
hair: one day dirty. I probably had round brushed out the top the day before or something.

I wanted some flat black ankle boot-type-things to wear with this, but don't have any.
We've been seeing folded down work boots for about two years now, mainstream fashion-wise. Recently I saw a pair of boots on a shoe site that were basically folded down cowboy boots, with some buckle kind of thing to keep them in place.
Since these have a black liner, I decided to give it a go. A little funky, a little different. Great for a sometimes thing, for sure.

I love this tube dress because it's not super fitted. It's more like a band at the top and bottom with a bubble of fabric in between. Sooooooo comfy. I layer it with all the time!
I like it when has American Apparel stuff because it's super inexpensive.
(I also love looking at gilt because the outfits inspire me, even if their usual bargains are "$700, down from $3,000." Not exactly in my price range.
But for $8? Yeah. This tube dress was mine.)

I remember finding these leggings at Goodwill. I kind of freaked because I'd been looking for some liquid leggings for-ev-ah, but *obviously* didn't want to pay full price. They were 99 cents... and then 30% off. Whenever I wear them I get comments like, "Rockstar!" and "Wow, what's the occasion?"
Ummm... I just think they're fun to wear. And being a texture girl, I like mixing it up a bit. Some have even said, "I love them, but I could never wear something like that."
Really? Why not?

I threw on the scarf because the outfit was better with a pop of color. Being bright and floral-ish, it's so great to throw over things for added dimension. And, remember. I'm not just about the texture texture, but also about the visual texture. Mmmm... adore.

Sometimes I want to issue a blanket thank you to all those people who pay full price for these really great things and then give them to Goodwill after hardly wearing them.
So, thank you, people.

And, to elaborate on my thrifting tip a little more, when you're planning a whole thrifting outing, it's just easier to wear an easy on/off outfit.
It doesn't always work that way. Usually I buzz in and out of a thrift shop amidst other errands.
But, when it's a planned thing, it just makes sense.
Something stretchy, loose, comfy. Leggings are great for pulling things over in a flash.

Ian came out while I was taking photos. We decided to show our tough faces... and then I started smiling a bit because he was so cute.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do that.

You know those simple truths that you know but sometimes you forget you know?
I was reminded of one a few weeks ago.
I'd been operating under it, but without fully realizing or acknowledging that I was.
There's a funny thing about acknowledging something, and then keeping it front and center in your brain.
It changes the way you operate.

I've been walking forward with something God very clearly told me to pursue.
In fact, He was quite clear about it.
But, in the midst of the walking forward I've at times been frustrated by my lack of understanding or by not knowing specifics of what's coming or by closed doors or by the push-back from some around me.

Why is it that in the middle of things we know we're supposed to be doing we can suddenly feel surrounded by such a fog? Such uncertainty? Such, "Is this really it, God?"
Oh, yeah. 
This is a battle.

A few weeks ago my awesome pastor (Shout out to Pastor Brady! Woo-hoo!) said,
"What was the last thing God told you to do? Do that."

There's just something about putting specific words to it.
I've been following God's leading, doing the things I know that I know that I know He's leading me to do.
But, putting it so simply...
it adds force... brings clarity.
In the midst of doors being closed and then suddenly open, or hearing "Yay!!!" from some and "What in the world are you thinking?" from others,
putting words to the mode of operation sets your feet solid.
No matter what the winds are that blow around my ears, what was the last thing God told me to do?
I'm going to do that.
And there will be battle.
And there will be push-back.
But, if I'm doing what HE'S told me to do...
well, it feels at times like Lucy, in Prince Caspian, when she's standing at the end of the bridge, with a small dagger raised in her hand, seemingly facing all the forces of evil before her.
But she's backed by Someone more powerful than anything coming across the bridge.
So she stands firm.

What was the last thing God told me to do?
Well, He told me to this.
So, I'm doing it.
And then standing firm for the next direction.

Do you feel frustrated with something? Are you confused about what to do or the direction in which to go? Are you a bit wary at not knowing what's coming down the road?
What was the last thing God told you to do?
Have you done it?
If not, do that.
Then stand firm for the next direction.

This is a battle.
Good thing we're backed by the One who's already won.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Random Outfit Post: Valentine's Edition

Yes, today was Valentine's Day.
And as I've said before, you do not need to give me a theme twice for me to take it and run.
In fact, you often don't even need to give me a theme...
I'll just run.
(Fashion-wise. Not work-out wise. Don't be silly.)
Seeing as how this is the one day in the year where pink and red can be worn together without anyone questioning it, well...
I ran.

(I wore this to lunch today with my handsome hubby.)

My hair. It's getting quite long. Nate sometimes calls it a mane.
I don't laugh.
(Well, maybe a little.)

pulling it all together...
red skinnies: H&M, free via XS Threadz
hot pink awesome 80's sweater: Not sure brand, via Goodwill last week. (With Summer! Yay!)
purple tank: Active Basic, via French Quarter in SLO.
purple scarf: Hand delivered from Qatar from Jake the Most Awesome. (also seen here)
black flats: Steve Madden, via Goodwill. They look funny from the top, but they're a great basic.
rhinestone hoops, leather bracelets, white gold ring: same I always wear
hair: Washed and air dried last night, did nothing with it except a little hairspray to tame the fly-aways down.

Sooooo... these tanks that I wear ALL the time? I just hopped over to French Quarter's site and found out they *gasp* sell them online!
I love... ove... OVE these, because they're nice and long and hold their shape.
So, click and go get you some!
(Mine are all mediums, fyi.)
They also have on there the long sleeve scoop neck tees I layer sometimes.
(like here and here)

One of my favorite Valentines came out onto the porch while I was taking the pictures.

What do we think of all this Valentine's Day romantic stuff?

In all seriousness, though, I've struggled through the years with Valentine's Day.
I remember in middle school and high school wishing secretly that I was someone's undeclared love, and that flowers, balloons and chocolate would appear mysteriously, picked carefully just for me.
But, whenever there was a boy somewhere in the picture, I just wound up being disappointed at the reality that my heart wasn't filled by whatever it was they did do.
(I hear Alanis Morissette singing here.)

Through our nearly 16 years of marriage, I've wondered, "How should we treat Valentine's Day?" Because, we can't look at this one day a year to meet our relationship needs, or we wind up empty and disappointed.
But, if we look at it through jaded, cynical glasses, we can miss the wonderful fun it can be.
And I look at all my beautiful, incredibly amazing single friends... I hear some of their hopes hidden in cautiously whispered wishes... and I remember my own from those days.
And how even when they were filled, I was left not-quite-filled.

Nate shows me his love all the time, and Valentine's isn't the only day of the year that he comes home with special treats in hand just for me.
Now that the kids are older, we're able to have weekly date nights.
It's usually me in sweatpants and no makeup after working out on a weeknight, but we do go out.
Hot, dress-up dates are rare... as are nights away... but I'm so thankful that I don't look to this one day a year. "He better darn well do something good, or I am not gonna be happy."
That just doesn't seem in line with kindling a lasting relationship.

At the end of it all, it's the everyday things.
And at the end of it all, it's not about looking to a person to meet your deepest needs of love and being cherished.
Because, I'm not going to get it right, either. And, I'm so thankful that a last minute living social massage deal purchased this morning made my hubby smile when he came home from work this afternoon.
"You got two, right?"
"No, I only got one. It's for you, Honey. I don't need one."
But when he went back to the site and bought a second one so we could both have massages, I smiled, too.

And a spaghetti dinner at home with the family, complete with candles lit on our sticky table, is the most perfect way to spend this day that I can think of.

Happy Valentine's Day.

He also brought Brit flowers. *my heart... melted*
And me chocolates and cookies and chocolate covered acai berries and Queen Anne Cordial Cherries.
All my favs.
He loves me.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

On Circumstances, Responses & Saving Nations.

We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can control our response.

Joseph had a pretty rough time. He was hated by his brothers because his dad loved him best. They sold him into slavery and told his dad he had died.
Then he was taken to another country and worked as a slave.
Man, bummer.

I sit here thinking, "Holy cow, God. Why would you do that? Why would Jacob live his whole life thinking his favorite son, Joseph, was dead? How awful for Joseph to be away from his family, living among a strange culture, a strange language, alone."

But if Joseph had never gone in the first place, millions of Egyptians and his own family would have died from starvation because of the famine that came.
The famine that Joseph foresaw.
The famine that Joseph ultimately saved Egypt... and his family... from.

And I think, "Ooookaaaaayyy, God. You knew all that. You knew that was going to happen. You let Joseph be taken so he could be in just that place for just that time. You gave him the ability to interpret dreams and the leadership skills to command a nation, and then placed him where he would do exactly that and save not only the Egyptians, but also rescue the beginnings of the nation of Israel.
Okay, God. I get it."

But, still the whole thing seems so harsh.
And then I wonder what if Joseph had given in to Potiphar's wife? No one was around. He was lonely and away from his family and working hard. What if he would have given in and slept with her? If he would have thought, "I'm lonely. I'm work hard. I'm at least due this."
It would have changed the course of everything else.
But, he could have just gone along with her, and she wouldn't have said anything and Potiphar wouldn't have been the wiser.
And Joseph wouldn't have wound up in prison, falsely accused.
(Which, come on. I'm sure he wasn't the first one she'd said, "Hey, baby..." to. I'm pretty sure everyone was fully aware of Potiphar's wife's reputation, saw Joseph's character, and knew the truth. On the other hand, I'm sure the other servants just knew it was a matter of time 'til she tried to seduce Joseph. Are you going to be talked about for giving in to temptation? Or for standing against it and facing persecution?)

If Joseph wouldn't have wound up in prison, he wouldn't have been able to interpret the dreams of the cupbearer and the baker.
Now, he could have just shrugged the guys off. "Idiots. How'd they wind up in prison? They sure squandered their position. If I was in that position..."
But, Joseph showed kindness.
If Joseph never would have interpreted their dreams (using his gift to bless others), the cupbearer wouldn't have been able to tell Pharaoh about "this guy who got the meaning of my dream right, so maybe he can tell you yours."

Now, the cupbearer didn't exactly follow through on his word to remember Joseph and get him out of prison. It took a while. Joseph could have grown bitter, because that would be frustrating! "Dude, you said you'd vouch for me, and I don't even come up in casual conversation until two years later?"
I mean, Joseph would have had every right to be mad, bitter, etc...
he could have sunk into depression and squandered his place of leadership the chief jailer had given him.
But he didn't.

And when called before Pharaoh, Joseph interpreted his dream (funny how God puts us in places to use the gifts He has placed in us) and was immediately promoted to a position where his gifts and abilities would save the nation of Egypt AND the forming nation of Israel.

It all looks like a bummer of a ride...
 except the result...
the part where he saves countless people...
including two entire nations.

And I think of Jacob (Israel), when he's finally reunited with Joseph after thinking of all these years that he was dead.
What complete sorrow he endured. What depths of misery his soul carried every day.
"Man, God. What a bummer. Why would you allow a father to face such pain, such agony?"
Yet, the very son that he grieved for wound up saving his entire family.
And God told Jacob as he journeyed to Egypt to reunite with a son he thought was dead, "Don't be afraid. I will make you a great nation. I'll go down with you, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes." (Be with you when you die.)

God reunited this grieving father with his son, and Joseph was with Jacob when he died.

Now, I realize I'm a bit dramatic. I haven't been sold as a slave and shipped off to another country.
But, sometimes don't circumstances feel that way?
We feel falsely accused, trapped, forgotten.
None of it is fair.
We wonder why in the world God would place us where we are, allow us to walk through the circumstances we're in.
Because, it's not like Joseph had a choice about his circumstances!

But, he did have a choice about his response.

So, what's your response amidst your circumstances?
Are you going to give in to the call of Potiphar's wife? So many others have. So, what's the big deal if you do, too?
Or are you going to run away from the temptation?

Are you going to become bitter and angry at being falsely accused?
Are you going to act akin to where you're at (prison) and who you're surrounded by (prisoners, criminals)?
Or are you going to become a trusted, favored leader in the middle of it?

Are you going to become bitter and angry at being forgotten?
Surely, no one would blame you for lashing out sometimes with words and/or passive-aggressive actions. "Yeah, she's bitter. She's gone through some tough stuff."
Or are you going to keep faithfully serving where you're at, so when you are remembered and called upon, you can step forward with God's wisdom and favor fresh upon you?

Go read Joseph's story for yourself. It starts in Genesis 37.
Pretty crazy stuff. And pretty crazy results.

May we never doubt that God is the God of the smaller picture AND the bigger picture.
One is not independent of the other.

How are you responding to your smaller picture? Because it's going to affect your bigger picture.

I want to be one who saves nations.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Random Outfit Post

Wore this a few days ago.
Or maybe a week ago.
Actually, more like a week and a half ago.
I mean, I'm so on top of these things.

(Look at me. I look so tough.)

pulling it all together...
leather bomber: My Dad's from the 70's. A little big, but super warm and amazing. Plus, I just love that it was my Dad's.
skinny cargos: JBrand, that I've wanted forEVah, via a resale shop outside of Vail.
tee: Burberry, via my favorite thrift store for, like, fifty cents. (also seen here) (Remember, I altered it.)
cardi: I *heart* Ronson, via Goodwill (wearing WAY too much lately)
boots: Ropers. From high school. 
scarf: gifted from my awesome friends who are missionaries to Mexico. (Thanks, Hancocks!!!) Women use these to carry things on their backs, like babies and such. Seeing as how I'm no longer in that stage of life, it works great as a large scarf.  =^)
belt: thrifted. I think it's homemade.
jewelry: rhinestone hoops from shop in DIA, usual leather bracelets, Lisa Leonard necklace that you can't see.

I've seriously been wearing this cardi constantly. And, honestly, this whole outfit. I just make little variations of it, but it's kind of my current standby.

And these JBrand cargos? I die. I kind of flipped when I found them in October while at a women's retreat. (Yes, we went thrifting on our afternoon break.) I've wanted them forever, but did not want to pay the nearly $200 I kept seeing them for. So when I found them slightly used and around $40 I completely splurged and brought them home!!!
Last winter I found a great pair at Charlotte Russe for $5 (seen here), but I wear them all the time (and they're a little darker). I was concerned about the wearing-out factor. Also, I took the CR pair to Kenya last spring and they were perfect for travel. I didn't want to worry about something happening when we go to Swazi & Uganda this June! (Go read about it & join us in prayer?)
And now I don't have to, because I have two different pairs of cargos. In different shades, to boot.
The JBrand ones are *obviously* waaaaaaaayyyyyyy better quality, but I'm so glad to have both.

I wore this shopping with some amazing new friends! Well, kind of new. I mean, Summer (from Le Musings of Moi) and I have known each other online for quite a bit now. But, maybe it doesn't count until you've met in person? Wait. No. it counts.
Now we're just more like official sisters.

We had SUCH, such fun. I am so thankful God cares about people and relationships and community. He desires us to walk this life out together, and just so happens to arrange little meeting times every now and then.
(Although, I'm fully aware it's probably my turn now to head out to San Diego. SD Girls, can you get me a speaking or worship leading invite somewhere to help make that work?)

And now, I will look like I'm toughly questioning something that is going on, since I'm trying to look tough and all.

But now, I will be more me.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Our family is going to AFRICA!!!

Our family is going to AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that's right. That line says that our family... all six of us... are going to Africa.
It's been a bit crazy the last couple months talking about things, praying for clarity and wisdom.
But, on January 1st God clearly confirmed that He is calling our entire family to go to Swaziland, Africa, this June.
And He keeps confirming it! (Because He's so good like that.)

Swaziland countryside (photos via Children's HopeChest)

Nate, myself, Taylor, Jordan, Brittney and Ian will be traveling with a team from our church (New Life) to Manzini, Swaziland, where we have two Children's HopeChest care points in the vicinity.
Swaziland has been ravaged by the effects of AIDS. 40% of the people are infected, and the population is literally shrinking each year. Without intervention, the country will literally no longer exist in a few decades.
Children are left without parents, and whole communities are unable to work as the strong are killed off by a disease the people don't understand.

HopeChest is an amazing organization that connects Christian communities in the U.S. and Canada with impoverished orphan communities abroad. These intentional, purposeful relationships empower villages to survive, thrive, and ultimately succeed within their culture, producing economic sustainability with dignity.
New Life has adopted two such care points in Swazi, which we will be visiting, bringing encouragement and personal relationship to the orphans and broken families there. 
HopeChest care points are a place where surrounding villages can gather for support and care... to receive the "survive" part that will in turn lead to the "thrive" part... and ultimately to the "succeed" part. They are not places of devastation, but of hope breaking through

One of the incredible things about this trip is that I am the child sponsorship coordinator for our care points and have been working to connect these Swazi children with sponsors so we can move forward in the care and education of the communities.
We will get to meet the children I've been working to find sponsors for!!! And not just meet, but hug, love, sing with, play soccer with, dance with.
These children... together with my children... at a place that really is an extension of our church. Where we will actively come alongside of the people, providing the needed resources and training so they can stand in their culture, gain life-saving education, and ultimately no longer depend on foreign aide to be able to not just survive, but to thrive.
It's so exciting!!!!!

BUT, not ONLY is our entire family going to Swaziland in June, when the boys fly back with that team, Brittney and I will be following on to Uganda where we'll meet up with a team from the New Life Worship Choir and School of Worship.
(I mean, we're already in Africa, so why not?)
We'll spend our time in Lira, Seeta and Kampala, where we'll join with Christian Life Ministries at two orphanages. We'll build a perimeter fence and spend time with the orphans and moms who work there. We've been asked to lead worship and do some training at churches in Kampala. We'll get to visit a Compassion center and witness the amazing work they do.
Our team will also have the opportunity to minister to people in the largest slum area in Kampala, as well as visit a village where over 200 people were killed in recent years by Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.

Our family is GOING, investing and building relationship with these African communities.
My human nature has wondered, would it be better to simply send money and resources, instead of go?
But God has clearly shown us that, as our family goes... together... there will be something unlocked in our future...
in the futures of our children...
that no amount of money sent will replace.
In my prayers over the going, I hear whispers and see visions of a global future for our family. I don't know exactly what that means, but I know we're called to faith-filled obedience.
And I know our family is called to Africa this June.

So, that is what we're doing.

And amidst the walking out of faith-filled obedience, I will also be traveling to Cardiff, Wales, in early April. In the extremely post-Christian atmosphere, we are helping put on the Ignite Hope Youth Conference. The youth will canvas the city, reaching out with the hope of Jesus to teens that truly don't even know He's a person. The Christians there are very alone, with their faith being seen as antiquated, and the name of Jesus as simply a cuss word. When people do begin a relationship with Jesus, they are mocked and often ostracized. New believers are desperate for discipleship, for encouragement. The few steadfast believers have been earnestly praying for revival, and we are going to come alongside them in that.
Our team will also be speaking at a women's conference in conjunction with Ignite Hope.
Recently I started to think, "With Africa, should I even be going to Wales? God, is this right?"
The answer was so immediate and so authoritative, "Yes, you are going. You will not fully realize why until you are there. But, I am the One leading you into it."
Like I said, it's been a crazy last couple of months praying over the "what" and the "which one" and the "how." But then we heard the answer: "ALL."

Will you consider coming alongside of our family? 
Will you pray for us, for wisdom, for insight, for provision?
Will you pray for Nate and I as we lead our children into such adventure, and into a global perspective that will shape their futures?
Will you consider partnering with us financially as we walk this out?
Swazi is $3,300 per person, equaling $19,800.
Brit and I will only have to get in-Africa flights to Uganda (variable rates), and then pay ground costs ($1000 each), so we're estimating around $3500 to $4000.
Wales is $2000.
When I went to Kenya last year, I was a bit nervous about the $3,000. But, God called me... and He provided... so MUCH of that was through YOU!!!
Now He's calling us into something that will cost around $26,000... and I'm not a bit nervous.
He is calling, so He will provide.

Please pray, and if it is on your heart to come alongside and help us GO, there are a few different ways to contribute:

You can give easily via paypal. They only charge a 2.2% transaction fee, and the rest will go directly to our trip(s).

You can also give online through New Life, which is tax deductible!!! All of your donation will go entirely to our trip(s).
You simply go HERE, click the "Give Online" link on the lefthand side, set up a simple account (so we can send you a tax statement at the end of the year), and then choose from the drop down list under "Fund" to contribute to:
Swaziland Missions June 2012 trip, and sub-fund of White, Nate and Angela & family (the biggest need, obviously!)
Uganda Missions Choir 2012, and sub-fund of White, Angela and Brittney
Wales Missions Women's Trip 2012, and sub-fund of White, Angela

If you would prefer to send a check, email me (Ask Angela link) and I can give you further details on that.

What an amazing adventure God has called us into!!! Our family is so excited to GO and see what He is going to do. (The kids are even okay with getting all the shots so they can go. THAT is miraculous in and of itself.)

I'll be posting updates as we navigate this adventure, but I have also added a separate link
Help us GO to Africa
that will remain at the top of the blog. I will have this post on that page, as well as easy donation links to both paypal and New Life's online giving link.
That way you can access it easily at any time.

He has definitely called us into full life.

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