Thank you! Thank you! Father, You are all we need!

This is the awkward year when my birthday falls on Thanksgiving. In an ironic plot twist, I’m usually a little bitter about this instead of grateful. Surprise, surprise. I’m not a very big fan of my birthday, usually the annual plan is to think about making plans, delay, not end up making very big plans, disappointment, back to regular life. As I enter year 27 the cycle is starting to fall apart and for the first Thanksgiving birthday I’m celebrating probably since childhood (my sweet 16 was on Thanksiginv, somewhat anti-climactic) I’m finally grateful.

I had never been anxious about aging and getting older. It seems a bit ridiculous to fight against and complain about time, but we as humans never cease to do it!  The thing is, at one point 27 started to look old and I realized how much I haven’t done in my life and anxiety crept in. It wasn’t so much about the tasks and achievements I had wanted, I was more so disappointed that the blessings I had asked for and “waited” for for so long had never really arrived. Once again, bitterness.

I don’t know the exact time I became ready to turn 27, but it probably happened this year when God opened my hearts and I started saying “yes” to Him. It became very clear that I had put so much hope in getting the things I wanted and believed I deserved in life that I stopped caring about and being thankful for the life I DID have and all the potential there. Looking back it all seems so silly to have been stressed out and I now see all the good in my life and realize I can never discount that. Are there things I still want to accomplish and blessings I’d still like to see God put in my life? Of course, but will He be given the glory if all I do is wait around for the things I want instead of saying yes to what He can do through me? Yes, because He always gets the glory, but I choose whether or not I will be a part of that. Saying yes to pursuing God’s glory has made all the difference and I see now what my life can be with or without the desires of my heart because I already have all I need in Christ.

Around the world when Christmas comes we start looking at all we don’t have – usually in the process of making a gift wish list, but we also do this on a daily basis in our consumerism culture. I’m grateful that our country celebrates Thanksgiving when we do and (to the few who haven’t seen all the Christmas decorations in stores and songs on the radio) it puts a hard stop on when it’s appropriate to start celebrating the season of giving (and receiving) – once we are thankful for what we already have. We are blessed beyond reason and compare and I hope everyone has an opportunity to really reflect on that fact tomorrow, between the football and awkward family moments, and fabulous, forced over-eating!

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I create an all-encompassing list of how much I have to be grateful for!

 

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Who Is Sovereign?

After what appears to be the most crushing episode in political history, people have taken to the internet (and the streets for some) since last night to preach gloom and doom. Despair and disappointment reign as sinful humans realize that other sinful humans and man-made institutions were not a secure place to put their hopes and dreams. Who has done this to us? Surely all our neighbors thought the same as us? How could they not, we are right! We’re good people after all.

Francis Chan, while dealing out a very bitter pill, difficult to swallow not only in size, but the texture grates as it goes down, is right. It’s hard to hear, but living under these assumptions is incredibly dangerous. If you can explain the little evil in you, you begin to strengthen that muscle until you’re able to sweep even the biggest offenses under the table of your conscience. We are not good people, we are impatient, impetuous children looking to our own knowledge and strength and demanding we get our way. Notice the disappointed people today lashing out, stomping their feet, and making their threats on social media. Disappointment is natural and I can’t say I was excited at either prospect.

As expected, the flood of social media responses today show exactly what kind of people we think we are and who is the true sovereign in our lives! WE are GOOD people. I am the good sovereign in my own life. The captain of my ship, the commander of my soul. That’s a lot of pressure! I’m lucky my brain goes by the popular vote and hasn’t figured out an electoral system yet! (To be truthful, in my world there is no voting, Lisa World is a happy, thriving dictatorship). But we are good people, we deserve good lives! We’ve done enough of the right stuff to earn it, the civic duty was done and I’d like the instant reward and reminder that everything I do matters!

Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive
Unless the LORD does raise the house in vain it’s builders strive.
To you who boasts tomorrow’s gains, tell me what is your life?
A mist that vanishes 
at dawn. All glory be to Christ!

God has taken yet another opportunity to show us that He is at work in this world. Countless gods lost their golden crowns today. Their power and ability, or lack there of, was exposed and many little kings were forced to leave their thrones in the wake of this sobering news. This is scary, but nature abhors a vacuum. The throne must be filled. Someone must be the sovereign. What has been most uplifting from my experience today has been observing the first steps as people leave the thrones of their own lives- after the temper tantrums ended, many turned the narrative around in their lives and have accepted responsibility for the most important things. “I’m going to love everyone really hard” “let’s be good and kind to one another” “we love you boldly and courageously, we are with you”. Does it take something this shocking for us good people to take this on as our battle armor and boldly fight the righteous battle of doing what is right in our day to day lives? It looks like it does.

I arose today without fear. True, I am a privileged, educated, white female so this happens almost everyday. But I arose today knowing that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. No merit of my own I claim, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. But I looked around and became very aware that I was almost entirely alone in this. If people were not filled with righteous (and much legitimate) fear, they were cushioned and comfortable in a dark sense of security, based on something as short-lived a 4-year political term. What is left? What will happen now? Where will they find hope? What was their hope built on if it was so easily dashed? I found the emptiness many realized today to be the most crushing of all. I was compelled to pray.

More important than any civic duty or war we fight in as a nation is our spiritual duty to war for our brother’s and sister’s souls. To fight the fatiguing and thankless battle against the enemy and ask the Lord to comfort the comfortless and uncomfortable. As despair and emptiness hung heavily today, the Holy Spirit moved me to beg for the souls of the lost and hopeless. With a vacancy in the throne room of many personal lives, why couldn’t Christ come in glory to fill the role of Good Sovereign? The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1 Corinth. 1:25). Isn’t that something worth putting our hope in? The people of this nation want a champion, doesn’t that sound like the strong, just champion we all need and want? A King who can set captives free and comes to serve with mercy and grace?

I am a slave to that perfect grace and mercy.
I am only free because of Christ’s sinless life.
I am only free because of His sacrificial death on the cross.
My freedom is not based on earthly citizenship, nationality, the color of my skin, my political party, sexual preference, or anything else in this world.
The only freedom that will ever truly be mine is based solely on the blood shed for me. No merit of my own I claim, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
I am proud to be born a free citizen of the United States of America, but I know that my true home is in heaven and my citizenship is secured only by the blood – an entrance fee I could not afford myself, given to me freely through God’s perfect love which casts out fear.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

 Who is sovereign in your life? Can they stand up to insurmountable and overwhelming questions and anxieties we’ve all be facing? Christ has overcome for us.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

The Empowerment of Self-Advocating

I don’t know if I’m really talented as a beauty blogger. I can’t even say that I think I have a gift for blogging period! However, there is an experience I’d like to share about, so here we are!

I would not call myself an outgoing person and I would certainly say I am a procrastinator, so almost 2 month ago when I lost one of my credit cards without a trace…. I did nothing. When I accidentally get swindled into a service that maintains a ((n) expensive) monthly subscription, I just continue to live my life and pretend the money isn’t swiftly flowing out of my account. Never confront, never make myself too big or draw attention to my needs. After years spent in customer service, I know what those obnoxious customers sound like and even the most justified still sound pretentious and rude. Very infrequently do you get to help a reasonable, friendly person who has been slightly inconvenienced and would just like simple rectification.

No longer! I can’t exactly pinpoint why it takes so much inertia for me to be moved to advocate for myself and make the necessary phone calls, and I don’t think you really want to read about that either. I can say that almost every interaction I have had in the past few months of standing up for myself has ended positively and with the customer representatives thanking me and genuinely sounding relieved that they were not being yelled at again today. Am I doing something especially right that brought us here and I’m now encouraging you to emulate me? Probably not. But my trick is to always stay calm and just be grateful. Say thank you for their time, people will bend over backwards to help you if you just make it easier for them and remain understanding. Are we not living incredibly fortunate lives? Is the item/service/product in question a necessity for living or a luxury? Start there, and build the experience on gratitude. Kindness and a larger perspective on the situation go SUCH a long way.

Saying this makes me realize that other’s approval is slightly more important to me than I previously realized – but I also think it’s important for someone who has had bad experiences to learn from them and hope to move forward with their lives avoiding falling into the same patterns. IE: I don’t want to be one of “those people” who makes life hell for the poor representative who did nothing to wrong me. It makes it easier to keep going against my nature and standing up for myself when I walk away from a customer experience with my intended desire and a positive interaction with another person. Hearing someone genuinely say “thank you for your understanding” when I remember how often I had to say it while quietly dying inside… helps me remember that my needs are important and worth standing up for! There isn’t any punishment for standing up for yourself and sometimes you have to be “that person” – but remembering to be kind and gracious ends up neutralizing that negative encounter.

Current Beauty Favorites

Please forgive me, I’ve failed to update recently due to some very good news: I have a new job. A real job- a big girl job. The kind of job with relatively good pay and benefits that I don’t hate showing up for. And I have a window desk. If they wanted me to stay forever then it is working. That being said- it’s been a bit of a transition getting back into the swing of working full time, but I will be trying to get back on the regular with posts.

Now that I have a paycheck again (technically the first one should arrive by owl post tomorrow or something, right now it seems like a very hypothetical situation) I can spend money! And I certainly haven’t turned down the chance. Some of my recent beauty purchases have been so lovely I felt they deserved mention, so here we are!

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(Please excuse my very lazy photography, links will be at the bottom as wordpress won’t allow me any hyperlinks.)

1. Dr. Brandt Pores No More pore refiner. I received this sample in my March (?) Birchbox and it’s a wonder! I would say it is very similar to Benefit’s Porefessional, but there is something more pleasing about the coloring of this on my skin. It has a velvety matte finish and lasts all day. My only problem with this product would be a user-induced issue, but if you get too much on your skin then my foundation tends to slip and slide which isn’t pleasant. So, the lesson is to obviously only use a small amount as it’s a strong product!

2. Hermes Jour d’Hermes perfume. I know this is unfair, but I really hate the French language because I am so bad at it, I cannot pretend to spell anything French ever. But I love Hermes! And this perfume is divine. Posting about smelly products is impossible for me since I have no idea how to describe this scent. To give you an idea, I will explain that upon entering Sephora I was hoping to find a good every day perfume for summer and spring. Burberry Brit is my signature scent, but I feel it has more of a fall/winter tone, so I wanted something light, fresh, and clean for the day-to-day. Jour d’Hermes is what I got! This product is by no means cheap, but it’s such a nice smell, I smelled a LOT of perfumes before I found it and there isn’t much else like it!

3. Philosophy Field of Flowers lotion. Shopping in the beauty section at Marshall’s is almost never disappointing to me. They always have some random fancy brand with lovely clearanced items! Philosophy is another somewhat pricey brand and I have admired their lotions from afar for a very long time. Finally, last week I was able to purchase Field of Flowers in “Gardenia Blossom”. I wasn’t able to find this particular scent on their website, but basically any floral type will be just as delicious. I’m particularly excited about this lotion as I recently also bought a gardenia scented candle. Overload? Probably not. I have an obsessive personality.

4. L’Oreal nail polish in How Romantic. This is a very nice nudey-pink color that looks really sweet next to my pale skin. Recently I haven’t been as interested in painting my nails, it is a lot of upkeep. When the break or it’s time to take the polish off I just don’t want to deal with it. Nails are apparently an integral part of maintaining a calm lifestyle for me I guess. I’ve moved on from the dark polish and glitter polishes and just want some easy colors that aren’t going to clash with my weird wardrobe. Since it is such a light color you have to apply a bunch of coats (3) to get any color pay off, but it doesn’t hurt that I bought this polish on clearance.

5. Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. I want to preface this purchase by explaining that I have never bought a non-drugstore mascara in my life. Until now. And it hasn’t disappointed to be truthful. I am a firm believer in Maybelline and l’Oreal mascaras, they have almost never done wrong by me. The buzz around this Too Faced mascara with a name I feel awkward about was so good that I felt like “what the hell, live a little! You’re getting a mythical paycheck one of these days and it will be worth it!” The weird shape of the wand gives my lashes body and volume and it is overall a pretty good purchase. I would get this mascara again, but only when feeling very fancy because Maybelline’s the Falsies is still superb and a fraction of the price.

6. L’Oreal Visible Lift Repair Absolute foundation in Light Ivory. It is rare that drugstores have foundation light enough for me. At least that’s the case in winter. I buy the lightest shade, get home and apply it just to feel like a phony. I can’t pretend to be tan, it’s not in my future ever. It was very exciting to open the packaging and find that the tone of this foundation actually matched my skin! This is a cream formula and is meant for age-reversing cosmetic purposes, so it may not be 100% applicable to my skin, but it has a very nice effect!

7. Revlon Just Bitten in Twilight. I love a bold lip- matte, bold colors that dry your lips out and make you look intense. This lip stain isn’t that. As you would suspect of a lip stain, the Revlon Just Bitten line gives just a light amount of coloring to your lips to make it seem, of course, like they are naturally that color. Or like you’ve just had a basket of strawberries. Think of it however it suits you. I’m going with strawberries. This is nice for a natural face of makeup or when you’re doing a heavy eye and want to keep the lip low key. Like I said, it wouldn’t be my go to product since it doesn’t have the dramatic flair of bright red lip, but it is an asset to your makeup bag and the color options are great!

I realize there are some relatively pricey items in my beauty list right now, but I can promise they would all be worth the investment. If you are having a fancy day and want to go for something a little more high end (or if you walk past the clearance sections and things call out to you like these did) you will not be disappointed with any of these products.

Pores No More- http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod4200231
Jour d’Hermes- http://www.sephora.com/jour-d-herm-P382746?skuId=1568765
Field of Flowers- http://www.philosophy.com/floral-scented-moisturiser/field-of-flowers-body-lotion,en_US,pd.html
How Romantic- http://www.target.com/p/l-oreal-colour-riche-nail-hopeless-romantic-collection/-/A-13967109#prodSlot=medium_2_25
Better Than Sex- http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod5530007#reviews
Visible Lift Repair- http://www.target.com/p/l-oreal-visible-lift-repair-absolute-foundation/-/A-14583636#prodSlot=large_5_30i
Just Bitten- http://www.revlon.com/Revlon-Home/Products/Lips/Lipcolor/Just-Bitten-Lip-Stain-Balm.aspx

February Friday Favorites

I haven’t written a favorites post in a while! I feel the time has definitely come for a reprise.

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1. Downton Abbey. Being a very generous and thoughtful daughter, I bought my mother the first three seasons for Christmas which she then binge watched over her Christmas break. I tried starting the series once and got caught up in how much there was to keep track of when you first get into the story and how slowly it dives in. So I didn’t really start. After catching a few episodes while my parents watched I got the gist of the show and decided it was time to do the thing. And I haven’t been able to stop. I love an English period piece, I’m only human.

2. MAC’s Rebel lipstick. I love a bold lip color and Rebel is one of my favorite go-to shades. It’s that perfect purpley-fuscia color, pretty dramatic, but still a nice shade.

3. Yankee Candle’s Hazelnut Coffee candle! I’ll admit that I am a pretty mediocre coffee lover- which is to say that hazelnut coffee is my favorite kind unless someone is doing all the fancy steps. I am a sucker for those Yankee Candle coupons, it’s just an effective marketing tool! This candle gives my one of my favorite things about coffee without the work.

4 & 5. John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars. This is sort of a double favorite. First, this book is lovely. If you have ever read any other works by John Green then TFiOS definitely will not disappoint. If you have never read John Green, it still won’t disappoint. Admittedly, the story is pretty sad, but it is an important narrative. Second, John Green is one half of the Vlog Brothers on YouTube and I have been slowly progressing through their channel. I’m probably only 200 videos into over 1000, but what is unemployment for other than accomplishing goals like watching every single Vlog Brothers video? Their content is funny, nerdy, intelligent, and incredibly challenging. There is a little bit of something for everyone.

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6. Vodka tonics. Enough said.

7. Tarte blush in Memorable. Now… I just searched online to link this product and discovered it is not available online… Or anywhere else? This particular shade came in my Christmas gift set this year so I don’t know whether it is impossible to find anywhere else, but I think Tarte’s Amazonian clay blushes are still worth talking about. I have a hard time with blush because it’s counter intuitive to me. If I put on foundation to make my face look like it is all one normal color, why am I then putting this pink to red colored product onto my face? Qu’est que c’est le point? These are lovely blushes if you can get past the initial dilemma that blush presents.

8. Spring Oreos. I think I’ve made my feelings about seasonal Oreos clear here before . If further clarity is needed though, I will make another reference to it here (just remember the basic idea is how good seasonal Oreos are).

9. Soap and Glory Hand Food. Essentially, I love all Soap and Glory products. The packaging is cute, they smell delicious, and, to top it all off, they are incredibly effective at doing what they promise. Hand Food is especially nice in the winter months when there’s a lot of hand washing and hard water and dry skin…. I’m getting shivery just thinking about it. Plus they make a neat little travel size for purses.

10. Jimmy Fallon. In general, I would say he is a lovely person and overall favorite of mine. This last favorite is a specific ode to his taking over the Tonight Show. Nothing about Jay Leno ever struck me as entertaining. Conan started strong, but the whole debacle became more than it was worth, and now Jimmy has stepped in. Again, he is overall a lovely person, humble, funny, and kind. His show is fun to watch and doesn’t spend a lot of time on things I don’t want to spent a lot of time on. If that makes any sense. Probably not. Where else would you get to watch Paul Rudd and other beloved celebrities lip sync like this?