Friday, July 25, 2014

Stitch Fix Friday: Stitch Fix #1 (July)

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Maybe you have heard about this new website called, Stitch Fix. The way it works is that the company will ask you to fill out a style profile, and give them what kinds of things you would like to see, and how much you would are willing to spend. You can even include your Pinterest style board in your profile. They assign you a personal stylist and they send you five pieces for you to try on in the privacy of your own home. There is a $20 styling fee, and then each piece is priced separately. If you like items, you can checkout right online, and the ones that you don't like, you send back in the provided packaging, which is already paid for. To read more about how it works, you can read it on their website.
At the time I filled out my style profile, the largest size that they carried was a 14. I was currently a 16, so I committed to losing the weight to get me to be a 14. When I had reached a 14, I arranged for my first Stitch Fix in come at the beginning of July.

I was excited to receive my first fix, and excited to see what my stylist would pick out for me.

In the box, you get these style cards to help you match up what your stylist thinks would go well with the pieces. There is also a paragraph that describes why your stylist picked it for you, and any other information. I thought it was so informative and helpful!

So here are the pieces that my stylist picked out for me. Most of the pictures are of the clothes, not on me, because several of them where either too small, or I just wasn't satisfied with the way they fit.

Pieces #1 and #2
This outfit was actually the one I was most excited about to try on. My stylist said that she wanted me to try these on together, so I did. The green pants are skinny, but they have a lot stretch. These pants felt really great as I put them on and they were comfortable, but when I looked in the mirror, I just think that they showed too much. I sent this item back.

The white shirt is a kind of style that I have never tried. Its a flowy shirt that I usually stay away from, since I have this perception it would make me look bigger, or pregnant. I knew that once it went over my head, it was going to be tight. I have a larger bust, so most shirts in my pants size are too small. This shirt was also sort of see through, which I always have a problem with. I sent this item back.

Piece #3
This blue shirt was very similar to the white shirt, except there is a lace back and its not see through, but the same problem that I had with the white one happened with this one... it was too tight. I sent this one back.

Piece #4
Anyone who knows me well, know that I love cardigans. They are a staple in most of my outfits, and I love them! This had a lace front, and a knit back. For me, the cardigan was too short. My torso is already short, so this made look even shorter. I sent this back.

Piece #5
I prefer to where patterns on my lower half, since I have a smaller lower half, the patterns seem to give the sense of more proportion. So when this houndstooth skirt showed up in my fix, I was super excited about it! Its a slip on skirt, with no zipper, and with an elastic waist band. I love this skirt! I kept this one.

My overall first experience with Stitch Fix was awesome! I expected my first fix to have some things that worked and some things that didn't. I can safely assume that in each fix that will happen, but I know as each fix comes, and I send back my feedback, then each fix can only get better. I have told them that I am currently losing weight, so that my style needs and sizes might change, but so far so good.
If you would like to try it out, check out this link and sign up, its a wonderful way to expand your wardrobe and try new things, without having to spend hours and hours at the mall or outlets. Try it out!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Thought: Why I Don't Like Formulas...

Add maths

As a math major in college, I learned a lot about how formulas can model nature. And when it comes to modeling weather, plant growth, ocean currents, or the probability of certain events, I am fine with formulas. Formulas are created in such a way that they can take into account a certain number of variables and factors. So, even in the best models for weather, there are still an endless number of factors, so the formula can only be limited in its understanding of how weather works. But when it comes to trying to model God, formulas are impossible.

If weather has an endless number of factors to do considered, then consider the Holy Spirit. How many more factors need to be considered when God is involved? One of the largest reasons I have strong feelings towards people who try to make the Christian life until a list of formulas is that most of these "formulas" actually can't take into consideration the input of God. You see it all over the blogosphere (the next few examples are just simply titles I have made up on the spot... I am not actually specifically talking about certain posts on other blogs, just the type of post in general)... "5 steps to a better relationship with God", "10 ways to receive blessings from God", "8 essential steps to a better prayer life", etc. And in the world of single bloggers, "Five Steps to the Biblical dating/courting relationship". While these posts have merit to them, they offer encouragement and a call to action on the part of the reader, the scary thing about them is they set all the responsibility on us as people, and leaves little room for God to move.

In the human aspect, these formulas limit our liberty that we have in Christ. The very nature of our relationship with the Lord is that His Love breaks the bonds that we have to the Law and to sin. These formulas and steps just leads to a new law. This very process tells us that if we put in the work that we are told to, then we will get out of the process that we want. This makes our relationship with God much like losing weight. If we consume a certain number of calories (sermons, community, fellowship, etc.) and then we exercise (the spiritual disciplines) on a regular basis, then we will get the results that we want (i.e. the blessing that we are seeking from God). Don't misunderstand me, we will be blessed by those things, and we will grow in our relationship with God, but if we are using them in a way to try to get what we want from God, then our prospective of who God really is, is flawed.

This type of writing leaves much to be desired, since the Lord is not bound to those formulas. Just because someone writes it as a list of "to-do's" doesn't mean that Lord sit there a reads that post, and says to Himself, "OH, is that how I am supposed to be working among my people?". These lists and formulas to a better "whatever" leads to putting God in a box. It leads the people of God to want God to work like a formula, and do things that are expected. It can also cause us to view God as a dispenser of blessings and gifts, if we can carry out a certain number of steps, or a works based relationship with God. Yes, a relationship with God takes work, but the ultimate goal of working at our relationship with God is NOT to get what WE desire, but to be in communion with God. We work at our relationship with God not to try to receive His blessings (if this is your goal, then you will be disappointed), but to just be in relationship with the Lord.

I don't want my God to do the expected. I want my God to work in the exact opposite, the unexpected. I want Him to work in mysterious, glorious, and out of the box ways. I want Him to defy nature and formulas.
Are you new around here? Start here. You can also "Like" the Facebook Page and subscribe to He will be faithful to complete it... by Email. Both are a great way to stay connected and find out when new posts go live. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that the Lord uses these words to bless you today. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Traveling Adventures: Summer 2013

For the last two years, I have posted about the traveling adventures with my friend, Kelly. Two years ago it was Germany, last year it was a cruise. This year we visited Los Angeles! But not only did I visit LA with Kelly, I also took a three week road trip with a teacher friend. We visited each major city from DC to Boston and ended the trip with a relaxing couple of days on Cape Cod, Mass. And yes, after 18 days on the road together, we are still friends. Even after that I spent another seven days with my family in Upstate New York.

Taking advantage of these kinds of trips is something that I didn't quite appreciate until this year. I mean, how many people that are married and/or with kids can just take off with two of their girlfriends and not come home for a totally of 40 days!? I am thankful that I have a job that allows me to have the summer off, and thankful to have this time to explore the world. Here below are just a few of the pictures that were taken on both the trip to LA and the road trip. Enjoy!

First Professional Baseball Game in California
First Time to In and Out
In the Amish Schoolhouse, this saying you have to pass on your way in

This is what you have under on your way out. I loved this :)

Amish Village: a family's set of clothing

Statue of Liberty

Today Show with Hoda
Cape Cod way our last adventure before I sent my friend home
and I went on to my family reunion

My family at our reunion

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lessons Learned in the Classroom

School SuppliesAs the first year as a teacher comes to a close, I have looked back and there are a lot of things that I have learned, things I would do differently, and a few things that I want to work on for next year.
This year has been one of the most stressful, most difficult, most stretching years of my life, and also one of the most lonely. Whatever career you choose, the first year is probably the hardest, so I am so glad that is is almost over (4 DAYS!!).
I will probably write a few more times this summer about the lessons I learned this year, but there are a few themes that I want to share about this year.

1. My personal shortcomings where compounded from the year first day of school to the last, and it made me feel like I was always running around to only catch up in enough time to fall behind in every area of my life. This included my social life, my walk with God, keeping healthy eating and exercise a priority, keeping up with household responsibilities, and keeping up with grading, lesson planning, and parent communication.

2. Student Teaching could never really prepare you well enough to handle first year teaching stress.

3. Asking for help isn't a sign of weakness or inadequacy, but its a sign of maturity and willingness to learn and grow from the wisdom that is around you.

4. Summer vacation is a welcomed break, and a great opportunity for some extended Sabbath and travel opportunities. (Summer Reading list soon to come)

5. Community and fellowship is one of the most important things to help combat complacency and loneliness.

Continue to look back this summer at the Lessons Learned in the Classroom series! Each one of these five points will be expanded a little bit more!
Are you new around here? Start here. You can also "Like" the Facebook Page and subscribe to He will be faithful to complete it... by Email. Both are a great way to stay connected and find out when new posts go live. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that the Lord uses these words to bless you today. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Singleness Saturday: Praying Through the Tears

1996 Jocassee Quiet Solitude
I *think* that I am not alone in this, and that everyone has that "thing". That one thing that they have been praying for years and they watch as other people receive the blessing that they themselves have been praying for. Its the thing that usually brings you to tears when you pray.
It might be getting into the college or university of your choice, the perfect job, a wonderful spouse, a long awaited child, a working car, a place to live, or a comfortable savings account.

It comes to no surprise to my regular readers that being single is that "thing" in my life. Its an area of my life that teaches me repeatedly about my need for dependency on God like nothing else in this season of life. It drives me to prayer, and it usually leaves me crying out to God. Marriage can easily become an idol in my life, and I frequently have to prostrate myself before the Throne to give it all up. The Lord is truly using this time of singleness as a time to bring me closer to Him. In the midst of thinking that I am completely alone, I remember that we have a savior that can sympathize with us. He prayed to the point he started to sweat blood! That is some intense praying. While I have some prayer sessions that have more tears than words, I have never prayed hard enough to draw blood.

Another point of encouragement is that I don't always understand what He is doing, but I do know who He is. He is faithful to complete what He has started.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."- Philippians 1:6
This might not include marriage in my life, but I know that whatever He has planned is going to bring Him glory. When I keep this in perspective, I can pray through the tears, still asking Him to bring marriage, and also relying on Him is stage of life. Whatever comes my way, He will be there asking me to rely on Him, and guiding me through.

Whatever your "thing" is, whatever brings you to tears and makes it hard for you to pray, please remember that the Lord is doing something with the pain, with the heartache, with the struggle. He is growing you, stretching you, teaching you in grace.
I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain.  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Are you new around here? Start here. You can also "Like" the Facebook Page and subscribe to He will be faithful to complete it... by Email. Both are a great way to stay connected and find out when new posts go live. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that the Lord uses these words to bless you today. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

How Married Women Can Help Their Single Sisters

You might recognize it if you are a long time reader, this was a guest post on Her Noble Character a while ago, but the blog has since been removed, so I am reposting it here. :)

I sometimes think that I don't anything in common with married woman. Somehow in my mind, the wedding ceremony changes someone, and makes them into someone that I can't relate to. They are now a married woman, and there is no way that she can understand what I am going through in my extended period of singleness.

The third wheel
Sometimes our relationship status can get in the way of us realizing that we need each other. We can see this in our churches were there are separate classes for married couples and single people, or when the Women's ministry events focus on how to be a better wife and mother, us single girls have a hard time sitting through them while we take haphazard notes for an uncertain future, while we watch the rest of the women furiously taking notes of things that they can use now. For the single girl, we might have all the friends in the world, and be able to do what we want when we want, but we can still be desperately lonely. Married girls can have the best husband and children in the world, but also still feel lonely. So we can feel the same emotions, but we can have a hard time understanding the why?
I want to encourage you, my married sisters, that you can help me, and I can help you.
  1. Pray for us. This is a duh!, but it needs to be said anyway. Pray specifically for us now, and not that the Lord will bring us a man soon. While we would like the prayers of our married friends to be how the Lord brings us a man, we are most likely praying for our husbands, and we forget to pray for our now. Covering us in prayer is the BEST thing for us.
  2. Hang out with us. I once was talking with a married friend who has moved away (with her husband, of course) to attend seminary. She told me that she was feeling incredibly lonely on campus because most of the women in her classes were single. It was like a wall between her and her classmates. She was introduced to some of them as, "the married one". Very infrequently did any one ask her to hang out. What a tragedy!  We can learn from each other, and we can give each other mutual encouragement and accountability in our walks with the LORD. So, hang out with us :)
  3. Show us what it looks like to use your home as a ministry. This includes inviting us over to your (chaotic) household. Trust me, we won't even notice all the kid toys! Its so important to us to see how you use your home as a ministry. Not for just the future, but to for the present. I think one the things that single women neglect is to use our homes as a ministry, assuming that this can only be done by married stay-at-home women. 
  4. Remember what it was like to be single. Was your time of singleness a struggle and a constant state of suffering? Did you experience contentment? Tell us about it. Tell us your story so that we might learn from your experiences. We might be reluctant to listen to you at first, but eventually we will see how you CAN relate to us. 
  5. Choose your words carefully. The words of a married friend can sometimes mean much more than you are aware. This is because as a married woman, you have walked through things in your journey that I can't even begin to imagine. While the Lord can mature different people in different ways, your life experience gives you a unique perspective, different than mine. So, your words mean the world, and they can encourage us, or dishearten us. Here are some examples of words that can damage us (some of these seem encouraging, but in context they can actually be rather hurtful) (And I am sure that there are plenty of things that can be discouraging to married women without even knowing it, and please let me know what those are so I can avoid them):
    1. Just don't think about marriage, and it will happen. 
    2. Of course you are going to get married, you are so beautiful.
    3. Because you desire to be married, then the Lord must have it for you in the future. 
    4. The Lord must be working on you and fixing you up before you get married. 
    5. What about becoming a missionary?
    6. Maybe you aren't trying hard enough.
    7. You are still so young. 
    8. Maybe if you lost some weight.
    9. What about (insert name here)? He's a nice guy.
    10. Maybe you're called to singleness.
  6. Encourage us to seek the Lord, serve Him, and life undivided. You don't have as much freedom in this area that we do. So, encourage us in these areas, to serve Him is ways that married people can't. Encourage us to use this time of singleness to be solely devoted to the Lord. If we come to you asking for advice, encourage us to follow after the Lord, and not after dreams that might not come true. 
  7. Let us babysit. I LOVE children. I WANT children of my own someday, but since I am not married, I will just have to "parent" my friends' children while I wait. :) Don't ask us every Friday night, but help us be the nurturing creatures that we are by babysitting your kids. 
  8. Allow us to serve you. This might include things like allowing us to take you out for lunch, or coming over and helping you with your household cleaning. Also, consider serving us in a similar way. 
I hope that you found this helpful and encouraging in how to relate with your single sisters better. Anything else that you can think of? 

Are you new around here? Start here. You can also "Like" the Facebook Page and subscribe to He will be faithful to complete it... by Email. Both are a great way to stay connected and find out when new posts go live. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that the Lord uses these words to bless you today. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why I am Thankful to be Single: Part 2

Desperation; Who holds your heart?Almost exactly a year ago, I sat down to my computer extremely distraught about my current marital status. It was right after New Years, where I had spent the evening with many happy couples celebrating either their first New Years as a married, engaged, or dating couple. Yes, there were a few single people, but I still felt incredibly lonely as I watched the couples be able to kiss someone for New Years, while I just sucked down some more Sparkling Cider. Only minutes after Midnight, I felt the surge to burst into tears, so I quickly excused myself and ran to my car. Another year of praying, fasting, waiting, and wondering had past without even the slightest change to my marital status. Well, after allowing myself to crawl desperately into the hole of self pity, I decided that the only way to get out was to try to at least come up with even ONE thing I was thankful for about being single. I came up with FOUR (read those here), but even the four were a struggle. After another year of no prospects, I am attempting to add more reasons to the list. :)

5. I can focus on saving money, time and resources. During my time being single, then I can work on staying out of debt, and I can practice being smart about my money, time and resources. If I were to get married, these skills would be beneficial to practice now, rather than later.

6. As I am experiencing my first year as a teacher, I could never imagine being even in a relationship with someone. I am so stressed, so busy, and so overwhelmed that to add a serious relationship to it would probably break me. I would have to either neglect my job or neglect my husband. So, as I am getting into a groove in my career, I am thankful that I to be single while I am figuring all this stuff out.

7. The longer that I remain single, the more my faith is stretched, and the more the Lord teaches me on trusting Him to provide not only for my present, but also for my future. This time of singleness is a reminder to everyone the all sustaining power of the Lord to provide and take care of his children.

8. While our culture says that I am wasting time not being the pursuer and dating around, and that I am not "putting myself out there" enough, I believe in the sovereignty of God. If it was in the Lord's will for me to be married today, then I would be. This perspective has helped me realize that I am not missing out on anything that the Lord hasn't planned for me, yet. There is no wasted time when the Lord is sovereign. If marriage is in my future, then its going to come when the Lord plans and I am not wasting my time by waiting patiently for who the Lord has planned for me.

This year has been another year of prayer, fasting and waiting to see what the Lord is going to do, another year to grow in thankfulness to be single. My desire for marriage has only increased over the last year, so I have to continually remind myself that the Lord is desiring something different for me in this season of singleness. As I continue to see more and more of my friends get married and "settle down", going to bridal showers, bachelorette parties, or weddings don't get an easier, but I do hold on to the Christ is all I need. And the Lord is allowing me to be a testimony to the watching world on how awesome God is at providing for His children!

Christians always seem to be in a time of waiting, waiting on a spouse, children, retirement, promotion, etc. These times of waiting are preparing us as we wait for Christ to return for us. This is the ultimate eternal event that we are waiting for. Take the time to reflect on the eternal nature of our waiting for Christ's return and how anything else that we are waiting for on earth pales in comparison to Christ's return for His bride.
Are you new around here? Start here. You can also "Like" the Facebook Page and subscribe to He will be faithful to complete it... by Email. Both are a great way to stay connected and find out when new posts go live. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that the Lord uses these words to bless you today. 
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