Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Laugh of the Day || From my Brother

My little big brother Mitchell, who is currently living in Arkansas while interning with a church there, did an absolutely hilarious post this morning about one of his recent "bachelor" experiences. I've been meaning to link to his blog ever since he left, since he's been posting every weekday. Reading his post from this morning reminded me about this!
All that said...go read about his recent late night mice chase encounters! I guarantee you will be laughing. =)


Monday, May 19, 2014

Fashion || Country Style in White, Brown, & Olive

A little modesty tip here: 
-make yourself think outside of the box.
This dress was a strapless dress with a matching fabric belt. When I saw it hanging on the rack at a garage sale, my first thought was "Ah, I LOVE the texture of that fabric. So gorgeous!"
My second thought "WHY does it have to be strapless? There's no way that thing would stay up!" =)
Third thought "hmmm...wonder if I could fix that?"
I bought the dress.
Once I got home I took the fabric belt, cut it in half, made two straps, and sewed them in.

Now I just add a cardigan, and it is perfect. I don't have to worry about the neckline sliding down because the straps keep it tight and in place. 
Boots: Ross, $35 
White Sundress: garage sale, $5
Cardigan: Consignment, $6
Belt: Thrifted, ?
Necklace: Made by my sister, bartered 
(I sew things for her, she makes jewelry for me =))
just a little advertisement for her here-her jewelry is amazing! 
she wrote the word "dream" out on paper, and then made the necklace with that. 
Its so personalized and I love that.
I'm definitely no fashion expert. But I do love studying and researching colors and style personalities and all that. Remember, how we are dressed is often the first thing people notice about us. And we only have one chance to make a first impression for Jesus!

The most important thing of all, though, is that we always have our heart and motives in the right place. Our Sunday School lesson at church yesterday was partially about this (heart + motives) and I was very convicted once again-it is so easy to pat ourselves on the back and say "oh, well I dress modestly" and have a heart full of pride and judgement towards others who don't dress just like we think they should. Having that kind of attitude is completely missing the point and heart of modesty. Modesty is supposed to be a reflection of a heart that is in the right place, wanting to please the Lord and dress in a way that will honor and glorify Him. If our heart is in the right place, everything else will fall in with that. 

At the same time, we've all heard people say, "well, man looks on the outside, and the Lord looks on the HEART." ("For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart". Samuel 16:7b) When people use that verse to justify their opinion that the Lord doesn't care how we dress, they completely miss the point. Yes, the Lord does look on the heart, and man does look on the outside! But... the heart is reflected on the outside. So essentially, the only way for man to see what is in our heart, is what they see reflected on the outside by our dress and actions. Sobering, isn't it? But so true. 

"Keep thy heart with ALL DILIGENCE, for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23

Have a marvelous monday!

Friday, May 16, 2014

One of Those Days!

Life has been happening at a rather alarming rate of speed lately. 
This last week was very glorious in some ways.
And in others, if I look back and reflect, I get a headache just thinking about everything that I did.

The middle of the week was particularily disturbing. In a matter of 24hrs the following events occurred:
First, I  locked my keys in the van in downtown IA City whilst in the middle of trying to pull off a surprise birthday outing for my sister. (more on this later. but needless to say it was one of the more NOT glam moments in my life and quite a complicating process to remedy the situation)
Second, I had to rip out a TON of tight little stitches in an important sewing project that has a looming deadline (deadlines and ripping stitches always go together. always. they are inseparable. trust me. sadly I have way too much experience in this)
And thirdly....I meant to take the dish straight from the oven and set it on the table for lunch...but somehow it flew out of my hands, skidded across the table and over the edge guessed it. There now was cassorole and a million pieces of glass all over the kitchen floor.

It was just one of those days. Those were the three main "moments" but there were quite a few other incidents mixed in there as well. After #3 occurred I sat down, put my head in my hands, and howled with laughter. 
(when you're a more non-emotional person and you don't cry easily you have to have some way to express yourself so generally you laugh hysterically instead =))

And finally, lest I forget the above picture...that was taken yesterday, when my dad needed me to do some painting projects for him in town. It was just spray painting, so not like "real" painting, but nontheless I still put on old clothes because I ALWAYS manage to get dirty no matter what I'm doing. (I'm still a two year old in that respect) 
Well somehow, the wind was blowing, and I was in a hurry and not paying much attention to where the paint was going other than the bookshelf. I was trying to get the project done quickly because we had company arriving soon and I needed to get home to finish up preparing for that. As I was painting along as fast as I could I kept having to stick my head inside of the bookshelf so I could make sure that I was getting all the corners. I finally finished the projects. My brothers were working nearby and came to tell me that they were ready to go.They looked at me with that strange kind of smile that warns you that something isn't quite as it should be. (you know the kind) Brother #2 so kindly informed me, "Chels, have black paint on your nose." My nose? How in the world...?? I flew to the bathroom to verify He was definitely being kind to only mention my nose. He didn't mention my neck..and forehead..and hair. HAIR. 
Ha, always wondered what I would look like with black hair. I wonder no longer...

The picture at the top was the before picture, at the beginning of the project, although you can see that I had already started to get the paint on my hands. I took no pictures at the end. Just trust me, I looked REALLY disturbing. Picture an adult chimney sweep with a completely black nose, brown/black hair (that is sticking out everywhere because the paint has now dried) black speckled neck and face, and nearly completely black hands.
 Yeah, we're better off without the "after" photo. =)
Thank goodness for soap and hot water and elbow grease. I still have some paint in my fingernails, and I'm not convinced that its all washed out of my hair yet. But most of me has returned to normal, and that's what counts. =)

That is just a tiny little glimpse of my week. The rest was lovely, really. Lots of hard work, lots of big projects at church and at home, and several groups of very fun company, amongst other things. 

Even those above moments, that were so disturbing at the time? I can laugh about them now. =) My mother always told me that times like that grow character, and I'm trying to remember that!

In closing, I am pretty pumped that in just a few hours here, I'm taking off for a cousin's wedding in the grand state of Ohio. Super excited about seeing some of the Stoltzfus cousinhood again! And of course attending a wedding is always awesome. Doesn't get much better than the two of those things combined! =) 
Y'all can be looking for some wedding loveliness on the blog sometime next week! 

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Happy 20th to the Sista!

It is really unbelievable that she is TWENTY today. 
Seriously! Didn't I just turn twenty yesterday? And she is 3 1/2 yrs behind me!
In age, that is. 
In maturity she is way ahead of me and I look up to her as one of the most amazing people in my life. 
It is hard to believe that there was a time about ten years ago when we were almost to the point of sworn enemies constant unkindness. 
(thank-you Jesus for parents who saw the potential of a great relationship and were so patient in disciplining and telling us again and again the value of sister friendship!)
there is no one I would rather hang out with.
no one who knows me so well. 
she knows my weaknesses and faults and she always sticks with me in spite of that. 
she is my fellow coffee lover. 
her style is amazing. hair, makeup, clothes...she pulls off the most elegant look with ease and grace, everyday.
she is my favorite person with which to watch and quote BBC movies.
she tones me down and makes me think through and talk about things when I'd rather just lose my temper.
(just keeping it real here)
her strength is communication and talking things through.
I'm a stuffer, the opposite of her...but she encourages me to talk about issues instead of just stuffing them under the surface.
Her heart for people blows me away. God has given her this gift for listening and speaking life into people and she has impacted SO many people through doing just that.
she loves Jesus more than anything else in life.
and second to that, she loves her family, and she pours herself out everyday for all of us.
Happy 20th, Alli! 
I wish you an amazing twentieth year filled to the brim with...
* more of Jesus and growing closer to Him
*seeing Him working in all the lives that you have invested in this past year
*a continued sense of purpose and direction
*wisdom as you expand your talents to new fields of learning
*and...many other new adventures =)
Love you, sista!

"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised."
Proverbs 31:10&30

{photography credits to the lovely Hannah Elise}


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sister's Hair || Curls

This is one of my favorite simple styles to do on Liz: curl all her hair, and then put a flower at the side.
so elegant!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bacon Jalapeno Cheeseball || Recipe

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, diced, divided (or leave seeds if you want it really zippy!)
6 pieces cooked bacon, crumbled, divided (about 6 ounces)
Salt to taste
Mix together in order given, reserving a little of the jalapeños and bacon for the end. Form mixture into ball. Roll in remaining jalapeños and bacon until covered. Chill covered for an hour. Serve with crackers.
All ready to go...complete with the pinterest recipe on the screen. 
ingredients and trusty kitchen tools....
it is nothing short of a miracle that this much bacon survived and made it into the cheese ball. sister and I both have a rather shocking love for bacon and it is SOOO good when its hot and crispy.
adding the cumin...
I have this thing for green onions. period. 
they are like my version of comfort food. I could put them in EVERYTHING.
{except chocolate cake of course}
mix it all together....
the finished product!
and it was amaaaaazing! just, when you make yours, remember to refrigerate! =)
and speaking of would NOT believe how many people have come up to me in the last three weeks and asked me how I'm doing. wow. quite humbling.
 I was like, "did I REALLY tell the whole world that I had food poisoning?"

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blessings & Prayer || Conference Recaps

In the past three weeks, I've attended a youth conference and a family conference, plus heard several very convicting messages at my church.
First I just have to say that I am so thankful and so blessed to have the opportunity to be so constantly exposed to such dynamic messages. It is the biggest privilege in the world and I am so often guilty of taking it for granted. But today I'm taking time to thank Jesus for that blessing, because I talk to so many people who don't have it, and I realize more and more what a treasure it really is.

Often after listening to various messages, I go to my siblings afterwards and ask to copy from their notes, since it seems that in most services I'm either shooting pictures or holding babies. =)}

Its really hard for me to know where to start and stop, to know what to share here, because there has been SO MUCH, honestly.

Probably the biggest thing that I took away from the youth conference was the above paragraph, just about how blessed I am. The speaker who spoke on the last night talked about his life story. Without going into a lot of detail...his upbringing was pretty much as opposite from mine as is possible. During his message he challenged the audience to be thankful for their godly families, for parents who love the Lord, for siblings who are following Jesus. 
This may seem like a very simple, small thing to take from a message, but God just hit me with it. And I thought I had cause for complaining because my family doesn't....always communicate well? Seriously, my problems are so small compared to what this man went through in his family. I am SO extremely blessed. And I need to thank Jesus everyday for those blessings, for all that I have!

At the family conference I got to hear two of my all-time favorite speakers, Tom Harmon and David Gibbs. These men are just so full of Jesus that I feel like their joy rubs off on me whenever I hear them, and I always go away from their messages inspired to do more for the KINGDOM!

Once again I didn't take notes cause there was only one session in which I wasn't holding a baby. =) But my sister kindly let me borrow her notes so I can share the points with y'all here, since even though I'm pretty sure that message will be with me for life, I couldn't remember all of the nitty gritty details without looking over the notes.

1) You Must Pray!
-don't get comfortable asking for so little. 
-God is a BIG God. 
-every failure in a Christian's life is a prayer failure.

2) Pray Earnestly
-"the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"
-we can fool people, but not God.
-he who prays without fervency, prays not at all. fervency is the SOUL of prayer.
-do you put your HEART into your prayers?
-prayer is walking into the throne room of God and talking to Him.

3) Be Clean
-"Search me, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me"
-ask the Lord to turn heaven's searchlight on you

4) Persist
-what have you quit praying for?
-God wants you to have FAITH and persist in praying!
another thing about the family conference that was SO.GOOD was that this year God really impressed on my heart the need for more encouragement, and follow up, and accountability. It is so easy to go to a conference, and listen to great teaching, and get all excited....and then go home and get busy with life and never apply the truth you've learned! 
this is something our family had been talking about with some friends and I was really determined that this year was going to be different. So at the conference I was much more intentional about being relaxed with my time and having more one-on-one conversations. Instead of pushing to attend all of the sessions, I attended some...and spent quite a bit of the rest of my time in conversation with various people, talking about what God had been teaching/showing us through the sessions, and sharing prayer requests and what God was doing in our lives. 
It was so enriching. I had conversations that I probably wouldn't have had otherwise if I hadn't been encouraged to be intentional about it. 
The above picture was taken one afternoon when my sis and two dear friends of ours went out for coffee together. We talked nonstop and it was the biggest encouragement. so thankful for women like them that God has placed in my life to push me upwards! 
Another friend of our family's who spoke at the conference has really been an example to our family in the area of encouraging and godly accountability with other Christians. It had been something I had been thinking about for awhile and his session really sent my wheels spinning about how I could be more intentional in mentoring and doing accountability with more people.
Since the conference, the four of us girls (above) have started an email loop to keep each other accountable and pray for each other in a variety of areas. We send out prayer requests and updates on how we're doing. It has been so.good. I would highly encourage others to try something like this! There's nothing quite like explaining a struggle or weakness you have with someone, and then having them pray for you and ask how you're doing! It has been a huge blessing already to me, and we've only been doing it for a week. I'm excited to see how God will grow and use it in the future as well.
I got to hang out quite a bit with this little man at the conference. what a dearie he is!
 I was so wanting to take him home with me. =)
I will close with a few last thoughts from another message.
1) You must hear the VOICE
-you hear the voice 1) from the Word 2) from God's servants 3) From God's Spirit

2) You must have the VENTURE
-don't ever get to the place where you're not "faithing it". 
-what has God called you, by faith, to step out and do?
-faith is the capital that spends with God.

3) You must have the VALUE
-what you value is where you spend your life. it determines your priorities.
-what you value will govern the whole course of your life.
-value faith above EVERYTHING.
-"without faith, it is impossible to please God"

And then just this past Sunday I heard two more incredible messages at our church by two guest speakers. But I'm not going to go into recapping those here because its already a pretty full post, and I need to be moving along. =) Suffice to say that I am so grateful for these learning times and all the truth that God is giving. 

Be blessed! I hope there is something here that touches your heart like it did mine!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Of May and New Beginnings

Its hard to know where to start when you've been gone for so long.
I've been running what feels like a hundred miles per hour and in some ways it really doesn't feel to me like its been more than a few days since I posted last. 

I feel like a stranger on here. I can hardly believe that I only accomplished two posts in the entire month of April. 

And then I look back and think about all the traveling and company and conferences and events and celebrations and conversations and LIFE that happened in April...and I'm surprised I even posted at all. =)

It is always hard for me to come back and recap after God has taken me through a powerhouse of learning and growth. I struggle with knowing where and how to start to explain everything that He has taught me. Because no matter how hard I try, I never can fully, truly explain all that sanctification that is happening when His truth collides yet again with my heart in a new way.
But I still want to attempt it, even though it doesn't always come out perfectly. What matters is what He's done, and what is happening through that!

So just wanted to take a minute to give a brief update here, and I'm excited to share with you soon more of what He has been revealing to me the past few weeks!
I'm also excited because May is one of my favorite months and today is the first day of it!

may you all have a very lovely Thursday evening!