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Monday, April 29, 2013

What Mommy Wore

Shirt and necklace from Forever 21. Bermudas from Target. Shoes are from Ross...dress for less. :)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How Do I Know if He's "The One"?

I thought I might give a little testimony to the power of surrendering to God's will.  Because really, that's what it all boils down to.  God's will over our own will.  What I have to say in this post will only matter to you if you are at a place in your life- in your walk with Christ- where you truly want only what HE wants for you in the area of your relationships.  Do you truly want only God's best that He has hand picked for you?  Do you truly want to advance His Kingdom single or not?  Do you really believe His promises?

How do you know if you are in God's will or your own in regards to the man your interested in? Well, ultimately, only you can know that for sure.  But, here are some things that may indicate one way or the other.

 Are you in place in your walk with God where you are filled with His Holy Spirit and have regular communion with God on a daily basis?

This is of utmost importance in waiting for the right mate, because if you are not filled with His Spirit, how do you expect to hear his voice and feel his gentle leading?

With that said here are a couple questions to ask yourself when trying to identify the mate God has selected for you. If the answer to any of these questions is "no", than you need to do some serious soul searching and prayer to ask God what is the right step to take moving forward. Be honest with yourself and to God. Trust Him completely that if this one you're interested in, or even in a relationship with isn't the one, He has someone so much BETTER for you than you can possibly imagine. Trust me, the pain and loneliness of being single doesn't hold a candle to the pain and despair of being married to the wrong one. As my mom once told me in response to my whining about being "alone", "Maria, just because you have someone sharing a bed with you doesn't mean you'll never feel lonely." You have to sort out your own issues of insecurity, trust in God, faith in His promises, and ability to wait, before you'll ever find fulfillment in a man.

Here goes...

1. Does he challenge you to live up to higher standard in your walk with Christ?

- As a husband, God has ordained him to be the priest of your home. Someone who you can trust with the big spiritual decisions. You will be working together, but ultimately the weight of the spiritual well-being of your home falls him. Can you trust this man as the priest of your home? Someone who will hold you and your children accountable to a deeper relationship with God? Someone who will be a pastor to you in addition to your husband.

2.  Does he treat your parents with respect.  Does he enjoy their company and does he respect their authority over you?

-  If he has a problem fitting in with your family, there is a problem.  Marriage is a package deal.

-  If he has a difficult time abiding by the rules and parameters established by your parents within the courtship/relationship, red flag.

3. Are you in love with who he is now, or who he'll be some time after you've fashioned him into the man you're hoping he'll be?

- Don't get me wrong. In marriage both the man and woman grow and learn through each other, resulting in maturity. But, if what is keeping you hanging on in a relationship is the hope that one day he'll change into the godly man you want him to be, you could be setting yourself up for a real disappointment. And I'm not just talking about spiritual traits here. How is he with money? How is he with his friends and family? Is he trustworthy? Is he wise?

4. Can you really, truly, honestly be completely, totally, fully yourself with him?

-If you feel the slightest pressure that you need to be a certain way or act a certain way with him that isn't a true representation of who you are, it's wrong.

- If there is anything that you feel you can't be open about yourself to him...any subject you feel Ike you can't broach, and topic of conversation you need to steer clear of, it's wrong.

- If you feel self-conscious about yourself around him, it could be wrong.

5. Since engaging in a relationship with him, have you grown closer to God?

- This should be obvious, but I know what it is like to be caught up in the emotion of love/lust. You start slacking on your responsibilities and commitments, especially in church.  You devote more time to dates and late night phone conversations than to prayer and fellowship with Him.  When it is right, God will be the center of the relationship. You will be inspired to serve.  You will be praying together! God will come first, and your walk with Him will grow more intimate. Thus, my next question...

6. Is there a struggle to maintain sexual purity within the relationship?

- It's completely natural to have sexual desire for the one you love. But, when Christ is the center, each of you should be so focused on maintaining the other's purity that you will do whatever it takes to do so until the appropriate time- marriage. Limit alone time. Have accountability partners. Whatever it takes. One of the fruits of the spirit is self-control. If you feel like you're losing control, then you are not walking in the Spirit. If you are in a situation where you have compromised in the area of purity, know this, God still loves you. I still love you, but you need to make a change.

7. Are you both "one" spiritually?

- You're not going to agree on everything. Your differences can make your relationship stronger! But, trust me on this- you must see eye to eye on areas of doctrine and beliefs. You must be one in spirit. Your standards of holiness must be compatible. (Amos 3:3) Your callings that God has put on each of you must somehow compliment each other. If you're called to be a missionary to China, God isn't going to pair you up with someone who isn't called to some form of missions as well. Your callings and giftings will be unique to each of you, but they will compliment each other beautifully, if it is right. You should never feel like you need to put aside the dreams and passions that The Lord has put in you for the sake of a relationship with someone.

8. Is there peace?

- This one is key. Hear me! If you feel like you need to give yourself a sales pitch about this guy-  convincing yourself that he is the one- then he is not the one! If your asking yourself, "is he the one?", than you don't have peace! He may be an amazing person- even one who meets all the criteria that I've written, that doesn't necessarily mean he is the one! There are a lot of nice, good, even godly guys out there. That doesn't mean that they're THE guy. You must have peace. And those closest to you will have peace, as well. A knowing. And once you know, you know. Really, in any decision in life, if there is a wrestling, or a back and forth, then the answer is most likely no. And ultimately only you can make that decision. Be honest with yourself. Don't ignore that gnawing in your gut. That could be the Holy Spirit saying, "wait, I have something better for you." Don't fear that this one who has feelings for you is the last one who ever will!

Please, if your single or in a relationship, or even engaged, take what I have written to heart. I am writing from experience here. I know what it's like to be's tough.  I also know what it's like to be with the wrong one...not fun. And by the grace of God, I know what it's like when it's right! Believe me, it is worth every day...month...year...of waiting. Trust God with your whole life!  It truly is worth it!

Monday, April 22, 2013

McKenna's Wedding

A couple weeks ago I had the honor of doing the hair for sweet Mckenna's wedding.  McKenna and her now husband, Matt, are true testimonies of what happens when you hold out for God's best.  True examples of purity!  They wanted to honor God by sharing their first kiss on their wedding day.  The day was definitely special.  Such a peace and a real sense of the presence of God throughout the whole day.  Ladies and gentlemen- that is how it should be when God is in it.

Here are just a few pics of some of the hair, courtesy of Mindy Kerr Photography.  There will be more pics to come!

What Mommy Wore

So it's the middle of April and chilly here in south Georgia. So why not give my boots one more go around before packing them up for the summer?

These boots were actually a gift and I do not know where they came from, but I love them and thought I'd showcase them anyway.  The necklace was a gift from my sister that you can find here.  The cardigan was another Ross find for $12.99.  Basic skinnies and a white tank.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Dirt on Dry Shampoo

What is it?

Dry shampoo is a powder like substance that you put into dirty hair to absorb the unwanted oil (aka "grease").  It's nothing new.  Dry shampoos have been around for quite some time.  They were more often used to help ladies who were ill or elderly and unable to wash there hair in a sink.  It's basically doctored up cornstarch.  In fact, you can use straight-up cornstarch in your hair if you'd like to absorb any unwanted shine.  Baby powder works, too.  The thing is with these, is that it can get messy.  If you have darker hair, it can leave a chalky, whitish residue that you'll have to brush out really well.

Now days, the new thing is the dry shampoo in the aerosol form.  This is wonderful because now the product can be distributed evenly without a mess.  I love this product for those second or third days after washing when I want to freshen my hair up.  I spray it right where there is  any greasy shine, and it goes away instantly!  It is also a great product to put in your hair even when it is clean to add in texture and volume. There are many brands out there now jumping on the bandwagon, coming out with their on version of the product.  I have a couple favorites, even though I have not tried all that are out there.  Some work, but smell weird.  Some aren't strong enough and feel like I'm just spraying air in my hair with no effect.  Here is my all time favorite.  It works great and smells great, too.

Dirty Secret from!  "Rockaholic" line.

Runner up...

KMS Hairplay Makeover spray.

This one is a little lighter...not quite as potent as the first one, but still good.
Give dry shampoo a try!
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Monday, April 15, 2013

What Mommy Wore

I found this comfy skirt at Wal-mart for $12.99!  Sometimes your can find some cute stuff there.  I'm learning not to rule it out when shopping for clothes and accessories.  The shirt is from Forever 21, but I've had it for a while.  Shoes are from Target online, here.  The necklace is from Kohl's. Here's the link.  It's on sale for $8.99!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Encouragement for Step-moms Part 2

The next couple pieces of advice are things that I haven't fully accepted and I haven't fully overcome.  It's a daily struggle. And not just for step-moms.  All women struggle with the past.  And we all need constant reminders of God's grace to overcome and move on.

So in handling the day to day life as a step-mom, here are a couple more tidbits of wisdom and advice that I have learned and I am still learning.

1. Never compare yourself to the women in your husband's past.  

Enough people are already going to be comparing you.  Some may even mean well in doing so.  It's hard when people say things in comparison, even when they're in your favor-  I know.  Sometimes it would be nice to be recognized as YOU and not as your husband's "new". So in light of this, do yourself a favor.  Tune it out.  Accept the intended compliment.  And also accept that some people may not like you.  Accept that you are YOU and your husband chose YOU.

Whether you compare yourself to your spouse's past in a positive light or a negative light-  either one is dangerous.

The first type of comparison tears down.  It puts unnecessary pressure on you to measure up to something that doesn't even matter! When you beat yourself up over how you cook, clean, look, and what you weigh, in light of your spouse's past - that is a miserable life!  The pressure mounts up and you can't fully enjoy the gifts in life that you have. And you can't appreciate the unique traits that make you YOU.  When you get in that pit, and all women have experienced that pit at some point, it affects all those around you - your spouse, your kids, your step-kids.  And potentially leads to depression.  Give it up.  Talk about it with your spouse.  Talk about it with a trusted friend who will give you Godly counsel and encouragement.  Don't bottle it up.

The second type puffs up.  We all like the feeling of knowing we're better at something than someone else.  Especially if it's our husband's ex-girlfriend or ex-wife!  That doesn't make it right.  It's vanity. And it's sin. This type of thinking also adds pressure.  Now there is pressure to stay better...stay on top.  Fighting for nothing.  Dangerous.

The only person you ever need to compare yourself to is Christ.  He is the standard.  He is the one to strive to be more like every day.

2. You must forgive.

This may seem like a no-brainer.  But, even when I am madly in love and fully devoted there is that little weed of unforgiveness that can creep up at the most inopportune times.  I hate to admit but there you have it.   And the weed needs to be dealt with by the root, not just chopped off.  It's easy to think about the pain or situation you may be feeling in the moment due to the past of others, but don't forget the pain that those others went through too.

Nothing exposes our own issues quite like marriage.  I'm thankful for it all though.  And as I said in the beginning, I am still learning these lessons.  It really is a daily battle.  That is where God's grace comes in.  I have to ask the Lord for strength to love, forgive and only compare myself to Him.

Monday, April 8, 2013

What Mommy Wore...

So I found this cute "dress"  at Ross just the other day for just $11.99!  Paired it with some skinny ankle jeans and neutral wedges.

I found this super cute necklace at Kohl's recently, as well. I have a thing for Eiffel Towers and all things Paris. I wasn't able to find it on-line for you, but it was by Vera Wang for her "princess" line.  I want to say it was around $20 and I got it on sale for half off.

My Little Gallery Wall

So I've been playing around with my "artwork" in the house.  Since I didn't have one big statement piece to go over the couch, I've been playing around with some of the many little pieces I've accumulated over the years.  After playing around with it all, this is what I came up with.  I think It looks pretty good.  It was hard to  figure out the right balance between symmetry and artsy-ness. I'm pleased though.  I want to build on it too, now that I see it in pictures. :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mastering the Curling Wand

Here ya go!  My take on the curling wand.  It's a little lengthy, but I wanted to give you as much info as I could.  Hope it helps!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Curling Iron 101

I thought I'd create a little visual to show the results of different sized curling irons.  With each look, I held the iron vertically.  Soon I'll make a video tutorial so you can see exactly how I use each iron.  Until then, hopefully this helps!