No More Running From Fear

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message.

Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be afraid.

Case in point. I was a tween with pimples; long, lanky limbs; and an attitude the summer our family went to Ohio to visit friends of my parents who lived on a farm. I didn’t much care if these people were nice. I didn’t much care what we would eat for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. It wasn’t the beach, and I wasn’t overly thrilled to be in Ohio for a vacation. (No offense, Ohio people.) But I had heard they had horses, and that calmed my grump a good bit because, truth be told, I was giddy to ride one.

I just knew I was born to ride! My cousin Beth had horses, but up to that point, she hadn’t had the chance to teach me the ropes. Finally I would have my chance.

The sun danced with a summer breeze the morning we journeyed past the barn out into the pasture for our horse adventure. It was beautiful. A perfect day for an eager girl to do something new and exciting.

I got a quick bit of instructions, and then I mounted the saddled creature, grabbed the reins, and ventured out into the grassy fields. All by my big-tween-girl self.

Freedom met me in the tall grass as Butterscotch and I became fast friends.

We walked. We cantered. We even galloped! I was so good at this!

And then I turned him around, back toward his owner and the barn, and Butterscotch got his run on in a fierce way.

Scared. Me. To. Death.

I didn’t know what to do. I screamed, dropped the reins, and held on to the horn of the saddle for dear life. The owner was waving her hands trying to tell me what to do, but she sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, and the moment was blurry mayhem.

Then when I was sure we would crash into the barn, causing me to meet Jesus way too young, Butterscotch came to a halt.

And I went inside to change my pants. (Joking.)

I was so scared that I collapsed into an ugly cry. Couldn’t even control my emotions. And on that day, one thing became crystal clear to me: I do not like to be afraid.

Seriously.

If I see a snake, a mouse, or a spider (generally anything with more or fewer legs than I have), chances are I’m going to run the other way screaming louder than a middle-school girl at a Taylor Swift concert. Why? Because those creatures freak me out. It’s an unsettling kind of fear. And remember? I don’t like to be afraid.

Yet the Bible says we are to fear the Lord. Come again? How does this make sense?

I’ve come to understand that the fear of the Lord is a good kind of fear; it’s a righteous fear. The best kind. When God says we are to fear Him, He’s saying we are to be in awe of Him, to revere Him as the One who dwells in unapproachable light. To recognize Him as the eternal eminence who sits on the throne of grace and lovingly welcomes us to encounter Him intimately as we worship.

I fear God when I reflect on His greatness, when I whisper, “Good job on that flower, God!” when I trace the jawline of my sleeping, whiskered man-child and give thanks to the loving Creator who created him.

I fear God by giving Him the honor, esteem, and adoration due Him. In good times and bad.

I fear God by recognizing that He is God and I am not.

I fear God by understanding that all of the power in heaven and on earth is His. And in doing so, I’m ushered into a fresh beginning. To the greatest resource of power. To a starting gate that opens wide to knowledge, wisdom, and instruction—all of which are worth far more than any understanding this world offers.

Straight up: The world is a faction of fools who laugh at godly wisdom. It whispers venom to our souls …

“You don’t have to pay attention to God.”

“Do things your way.”

“More! You need more!”

“It’s okay to watch that raunchy movie or read that trashy novel.”

Blah. Blah. Blah…

No thank you, world. I’ve got a mad crush on my God, and I don’t need your misguided direction. The fear of the Lord leads me to wisdom in a beautifully sacred way. And that’s a fear worth running toward full force.

Have a blessed day!

How To Take Your Style From Summer to Fall

Anyone who knows me knows I’m ALWAYS cold.  I love the heat of the summer BUT I do love the change in seasons.  Fall with the beautiful colors and the crisp air.  Is it crazy I am a hot weather girl but LOVE to wear sweaters.  Don’t try to figure it out.  LOL.  I gave up a long time ago…

Too hot for sweaters, too cold for spaghetti straps. What’s a fashionista to do?  I’ am by no means a fashionista so I am glad I was able to grab some tips from Thirty One‘s top fashionistas….

When the calendar says fall but the weather report hasn’t quite caught up, dressing for the season can be a challenge. There are some simple swaps and creative styling, which can make your summer staples work well into autumn!

Try these seven tips and tricks to transition your wardrobe as we head into fall:

1. Start with simple swaps. Begin your summer-to-fall transition by packing away your flip-flops (OH NO!!!) and bringing out the suede booties (staple in my closet) , or trading an airy cardigan for a structured blazer at work. Add a breathable scarf to any outfit for another signal fall is on its way.

2. Do a style switch-up. Trade your summery Studio Thirty-One flaps and straps for a neutral color palette to take you from August to September and beyond. Ikat Bazaar, Twill Stripe and Dotted Geo Pebble are some of our picks.

3. Maximize your maxi. You live in them all summer – so why not stretch maxi dress season? Top your dress with a jean jacket (they go with EVERYTHING!) or flowy cardigan, or try a long-sleeved tee under your dress for more coverage.  Have you tried a tee under your dress?  What’s the best one?  I can’t seem to get that look to work for me…

4. Throw out the color rules. Bright shades like our Fields of Gold Pebble or pastels like Rose Blush Pebble have their place in fall, too! Pair Fields of Gold with navy or turquoise tones and wear Rose Blush with olive tones for a look that transcends season.

5. Play with coverage. When there’s a slight chill in the air, re-purpose your summer staples. Wear a longer knit tee under your favorite crop top, rock a wrap dress over jeans, and break out the tights (or leggings) to keep your summer skirts in the rotation.

6. Carry your bag into fall. Was our Statement Canvas Shopper your go-to bag this season? No need to leave it at the beach! Neutral materials like canvas, rope and twills can transition your tote seamlessly from your summer getaway bag to your everyday fall tote.

7. Add some edge. Stay warm, look cool! Cut the sweetness of summer sundresses and rompers with a military-style cargo jacket in taupe or olive, or a cropped moto jacket. This look can be easily dressed up or down with your accessories – think chunky jewelry or sneakers vs. heels.

8. Style your home. It’s not quite time to break out the pumpkins and leaves, but you can subtly show the change of seasons with something as simple as our Statement Canvas Pillows. We especially love our succulent-themed print designs!

What is your best tip or trick for transitioning from summer to fall?  I hold onto my flip flops as long as possible BUT my tootsies do get cold quick.  Share your tips with us…

 

Tasty Tuesday: S’mores Icebox Cake Recipe

Thank you Delish for this yummy recipe.  The marshmallow whipped cream is everything.  I am going to try and recreate it with some changes since dairy and gluten are out of my diet…..

PREP TIME:  30 minutes     TOTAL TIME: 6 hours 30 minutes     YIELDS: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 c. cold milk
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 7 oz. marshmallow crème
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 1 package mini marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a 9″-x-5″ loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing overhang on all sides.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk pudding and milk until fully combined. Let cool completely.
  3. Make marshmallow whipped cream: In a large bowl, beat heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in crème and set aside.
  4. To loaf pan, add 1 layer of graham crackers, breaking crackers up when necessary to completely fill bottom. Spread 1/3 chocolate pudding on top of that, then add an even layer of mini marshmallows (about 1/2 cup). Spread on 1/3 marshmallow whipped cream mixture, then repeat process 2 more times, ending on marshmallow whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. When ready to serve, invert cake onto flat serving platter and peel off plastic.
  6. On a baking sheet, add 1/2 cup mini marshmallows. Using a kitchen torch or broiler, toast marshmallows until golden brown. Once cool enough to handle, place on top of cake. Serve immediately

Want to take this YUMMY recipe to the next barbecue? Why not try Thirty One’s Perfect Party Set. The Perfect Party Set expands to hold two 9” x 13” casserole pans inside 2 interior water-resistant thermal compartments. Handle grips make it easy to carry, while the exterior zipper pocket can keep additional items like utensils, baking instructions and additional ingredients secure during transport. It’s the most convenient way to take your favorite casseroles, desserts, appetizers and more to your next family picnic, neighborhood cookout, celebration or camping trip!

Have a favorite recipe?  Share it with us and if I use it in the blog, you will receive some “happy mail” from me….

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: 31 Mom Hacks

hero.jpg

Just a few household items, some creativity, and you can make those long summer parenting days just a little easier while keeping the kids happy, too!

Did you know according to a NEW Groupon survey, most parents are ready to send their kids BACK to school after 13 days of summer vacation?  Are you one of those parents?  I would have to disagree with this survey.  When Belinda was growing up, I loved summers.  It was a nice break from the craziness of school, sports, competitions and more.  When she was younger, she spend mid-week in Ocean Grove with family and weekends at home.  Once she got hooked on gymnastics – life changed but summers were fun.

These hacks may not change your life, but they might save your sanity – and give you more time for the things which really matter.

  1. Save time in the morning by putting your children to bed in their school clothes. (Boy moms, especially, swear by this one!)  Would you do this?
  2. Recycle used coffee creamer containers or use our Hide & Peek Pouch for on-the-go snacks. They fit perfectly in diaper bag bottle pockets and car cup holders.
  3. Place two layers of fitted sheets and waterproof mattress pads over your little ones’ beds for easier cleanup of overnight accidents.  Genius!
  4. Keep a portable, Cinch Sac or a Picnic Thermal Tote in your car for wet or soiled baby clothes.
  5. Did you know the shoulder tabs on infant bodysuits are meant to help you pull a soiled outfit down instead of up over the baby’s head? Who would know this? LOL!
  6. Save trips from the car to the house by keeping a Deluxe Utility Tote in your trunk for all of your shopping bags.
  7. Use a makeup brush to apply diaper rash cream to help keep your hands clean.
  8. Poke your ice pop’s stick through a cupcake liner to catch drippy messes and keep hands and clothes clean.
  9. Cupcake liners are also an easy way to protect kids’ drinks from bugs during picnics. Just put one over a plastic cup and pop a straw through the top.
  10. Make more room in your diaper bag by keeping an Essential Storage Tote, packed with an extra blanket, toys and a change of clothes, in the car.
  11. Lay painter’s tape over your door locks to prevent toddlers from locking themselves in their room.
  12. A pool noodle under the fitted sheet makes a great impromptu bedrail.
  13. You can also cut a pool noodle in half lengthwise and wrap it around a door to prevent slammed fingers.
  14. Line a collapsible Stand Tall Bin with a garbage bag to create an on-the-go trash can for camping trips.
  15. Use a hanging shoe storage bag to organize blocks and other small toys.
  16. Keep a sliced apple from browning before lunch by wrapping it in plastic wrap.
  17. Detangle doll hair with a little dish soap and conditioner. OMG!  I wish I knew this before….
  18. Use a pizza cutter to slice pancakes and waffles into bite-sized pieces for little fingers.
  19. Make any footed PJs slip-proof with a little puffy paint on the soles of the feet.
  20. Sunshine can be a surprisingly effective baby stain remover. Just leave the item of clothing outside to dry and watch the stain fade in just a few hours.

 

  1. Fill a Double Duty Caddy with art supplies so it’s ready to go on rainy days.
  2. You can machine wash your kids’ plastic building blocks and other toys in a mesh delicates bag. (Just don’t put them in the dryer!)
  3. Hang bibs on the back of a highchair using removable hooks.
  4. Free up space in your child’s lunch bag by using a frozen juice box as an ice pack.  Did you know lunch thermals were on sale this month????
  5. In a pinch, you can quickly childproof cabinets with hair ties.
  6. Store ice pops vertically in the freezer to make them easier to cut open.
  7. An empty blow-up kiddie pool makes an impromptu play pen indoors or outdoors.
  8. Pack kids’ outfits – tops, pants, socks and accessories – in individual bags or Zipper Pouches for easier travel.
  9. Give each child his or her own Large Utility Tote to carry their laundry to the washer and back from the dryer.
  10. Freeze homemade baby food in an ice cube tray for perfect portion sizes.
  11. Create a giant dry erase mat with a dollar-store shower curtain.

What are some of YOUR favorite mom hacks? Share them with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Summer Travel Tips

Summer has arrived and it is time for vacations.  Did you know the last two weeks in July and the first two weeks in August are when most people go on vacation?  Where are you headed on your next vacation?

We are planning to travel in the fall when the weather is a little cooler and the kids are back to school.  Hopefully there will be less traffic.  I don’t know about you but I am the proverbial last minute packer,  I always change my mind a zillion times before we finally leave for a trip. Between changes in the weather, my moods and what our plans will be while we are away – I pile all of the “maybes” together and then sort through them the day before.

I love to travel even though it is a bit of a struggle these days. When Belinda was younger, I used to spend weeks getting things together – snacks, clothes, accessories, etc.  I checked and double checked to make sure we didn’t forget anything.  Of course, we usually did.  Now traveling with hubby, I seem to do the same thing – planning things out since both of us have health issues but when it comes to clothes I wait till the last few days to get things together.  When I travel on my own, you will find me packing on the last day..

Here are some travel tips courtesy of “iheartnaptime.net“.  I use her free printable packing list so I don’t forget anything.

Tip 1: Fill a pill case with any medicines you might need and label them.  This is for all of those “just in case” medicines so you aren’t hunting for things while you are traveling.  This is a HUGE help with those things you always seem to forget or don’t think you will need.

Tip 2: Use a contact case to store smaller items like earrings. It also works great to fill with makeup, like foundation so you don’t need to bring the whole container.

 

Tip 3:Place a garbage sack in your suitcase to fill with dirty clothes. In the past, we definitely would have have been know to use the plastic laundry bags from the hotel but I prefer to use a Thirty One large utility tote especially on a road trip!  Plop the bag in the car and just carry it right to the laundry room when you get home.

Tip 4: Place your necklaces between two pieces of sticky (plastic) wrap, so they don’t get tangled.  Then you can place them in Thirty One’s zipper pouch or glamour case.

Tip 5: Fill travel containers with shampoo and lotions. Then keep them in a bag in your suit case so it’s already packed.  This is so much cheaper than buying the travel size bottles, too.  I leave mine all ready to go in Thirty One’s Hanging Traveler Case.  It is even big enough to handle some full size bottles if you are traveling with the family.

Tip 6: Place a fabric softener sheet in your suitcase to keep everything smelling fresh and clean.

Tip 7: Place your shoes in a zip top bag to prevent dirt from getting on your clothes. OR use those throw plastic shower caps you can get at the dollar store.  Thirty One’s All Packed Duffle is a perfect solution for this since it has a separate compartment just for shoes!  So, it works for travel or for the gym.

Tip 8: Place your favorite snack bars (mine are Aloha bars or Graze snacks) in a snack bag on a  so you always have a tasty and healthy snack.  Check out Thirty One’s Beach Ready Tote which is a great alternative.  It has a wipeable interior and can hold up to 8 beach towels.  So when you unpack all of the goodies, you can use it to head to the beach or pool.

 

13087470_1043041325735019_2138704875780846914_n

Thirty One’s July Customer Special offers your favorite lunch-sized thermals for either $10 or $15.    You can get one item on sale for every $35 you spend!  Gather some friends together either in your home, at a local happy hour, on Facebook or  have a texting party……. to get some FREE products along with a great HOSTESS SPECIAL which  is  the  NEW  Family  Picnic  Thermal  for  just  $20.

The NEW Fall Winter catalog will be out too soon be sure to click the link, fill out the simple survey and get your copy along with a coupon on your order.

Bonus: Print out a packing list from “iheartnaptime” to keep track of everything. It is a HUGE help for me.

Source: 10 Essential Travel Tips + Free Printable Packing List – I Heart Nap Time

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!