The Jeans That Made Me Cry

When I first had Eli, I had told myself I wasn’t going to buy any pants until I reached my weight goals.

After a couple months living in leggings, I finally squeezed into some old jeans. Squeezed might be an understatement. They were so uncomfortable.

I saved the uncomfortable jeans for when I really needed to wear pants and then lived in leggings.

I was starting to feel in a fashion rut.

If you read any literature on productivity and getting lots accomplished at home or at work, you know the term “dress for success” is a true statement.

When I have an extra busy or crazy day, I make sure I dress up for it. It seems to give me the boost I need to tackle it head on.

So for me this awkward stage felt like it was stretching on forever. It turned my workouts into stress-outs, putting intense mental pressure on myself that  I needed to get to a certain point to so I could go jean shopping.

One day I broke. I hated feeling in physical limbo. I needed to look good regardless of where I was at in my fitness goals, and I needed to be patient with my body trying to recover from three pregnancies close together.

After talking it over, my husband dropped me off at my favourite jean store by myself and I started the hunt for the perfect pair.

Picking out a few options, I went to try them out.

First pair on, and I started bawling.

Jeans can actually feel comfortable?

I had totally forgotten how good a pair of jeans that fit just right feel. It had been so long since I had bought non maternity pants.

Even with the knowledge that these wouldn’t fit forever, I bravely confronted the total cost of the jeans at the till.

I felt encouraged in my heart. My dreams were worth the cost of feeling good in clothes that would make me feel good in life, even if they were short term.

Sometimes we have to make some sacrifices to keep our productivity up, but you are worth that. The dreams in your heart are worth it. Your marriage is worth the cost of feeling beautiful. Your kids are worth a mom that can comfortably and wonderfully get around with them.

Even the highly motivated wife of noble character in Proverbs 31 knew the value of dressing well for herself, as it says she was clothed in fine purple. Following that, the passage talks about the other important virtues she clothes herself in.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.

I know for me, dignity and strength came in the form of a pair of great jeans that day!

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Meet Katy From Our Simple Love Story

Before we get into the main part of today’s post I want to remind you about the Celebrating Family Photo Contest! There are two more days to enter. It will not take long for you to send a picture in and a couple of lines about it!

All photos should be emailed to monica@myredandpurplelife.com

Winner receives a feature post done on them and their family about activities they like to do and how they encourage their family to spend quality time together.

You can read more about the contest by clicking on the image below.

Now I want to introduce to you Katy (the main writer from Our Simple Love Story). I “sat down” with her in a virtual sense and we talked about why she blogs, her heart for people and what she has learned from marriage so far.

Monica: Why did you start blogging?

Katy: Well, I love to write.  I’ve been writing in some form or fashion since I was a little girl.  I originally started blogging to connect with friends and family while I was at college.  I was introduced to blogging by my college roommate (who is now my best friend) because she was blogging to friends back home.

I started this blog for basically the same reason, although in addition to friends and family, I also like getting to know new people.  I’ve seen amazing support and encouragement from the blogging community just in the past few weeks.  The community makes it fun.

Monica: What’s the purpose behind “Our Simple Love Story”?

Katy: I think part of it is just to record the memories – the things we do together, things I am learning about our marriage or even just a recipe or two.  I also hope that this blog encourages other people.  I have been told lately that I have an encouraging spirit.  I want to use this blog to do just that.

Monica: What have you found to be the single most important factor maintaining a solid marriage?

Katy: It’s kind of twofold.  First, God needs to be the center of a marriage.  In fact, my relationship with God has to come before my relationship with Michael!  Second, I need to accept the flaws and uniqueness of my marriage.  I was horrible at the beginning of my marriage with comparing it to other relationships (let’s face it, I still struggle with this from time to time).  When it wasn’t measuring up, I thought it was because I wasn’t good enough as a wife.  Through lots of open communication with God and Michael, I realized that I couldn’t define my marriage by another person’s standards, and I began to see our marriage as the beautiful living and growing thing that it is.

Monica: Has God placed any specifics dreams and visions on your heart?

Katy: I don’t think God gave me a particular life calling.  I think of it more as a daily calling.  Each day, He has a purpose for me.  I love to encourage others (I hate to see anyone upset or hurting), and I know that God has used me in the past for that particular purpose.

Monica: If you could encourage the world with one message, what would it be?

Katy: When you disagree with someone else, always remember that they are a creation of God, and that God loves them very much.  Once you remove that humanity from the person, you have lost the argument.

 You can check out Katy & Michael’s website at www.oursimplelovestory.wordpress.com or click on their image above.
I really like that Katy issues a challenge at the end of her posts. Recently she blogged about how they had fallen into the habit of watching television while eating. She was honest about it, and her desire to make that change. She issued a challenge to her readers about it, and kept us posted on how she was doing.
Enjoy checking out Our Simple Love Story. Thank you Katy for your time answering my questions and sharing with all of us!

High Five For Friday

Good Morning to all my beloved readers! I’m linking up with Lauren at From My Grey Desk Blog. Check out the rest of this week’s celebrations!

1. Yesterday I announced that My Red & Purple Life is hosting the Celebrating Family Photo Contest! I am so excited about this, and I really hope you take the time to join in and enter for a chance to have a feature done on your family. This is a great opportunity to encourage people about the importance of investing into others!

2. Monday my husband was home sick after battling a brutal bout of the stomach flu. We were up most of the night on Saturday while he threw up. So Monday was a much-needed rest day for us. We spent Caleb’s first nap back in bed sleeping, and the second watching a movie. It was so good to rest and relax!

3. I tried making this extremely delicious, visually impressive, but extremely simple supper: Braided Broccoli, Cheddar and Chicken. We really enjoyed it. You can find the recipe here.

4. We indulged in President’s Choice Brownie Ice Cream. Well, I did. I needed some motivation while my household was sick, so I went out and bought it. It’s unbelievably delicious. Just don’t eat it with really hot tea, my teeth ached from the extremes I was putting my mouth through!

5. Okay, I could have had three points about my son Caleb, but I’m combining them all into one so as to not bore you with too much information on him! This week he cut his first tooth (you can’t see much of it yet), ate Cheerios for the first time and went out for coffee with just me. It was adorable. He sat in the high chair at Tim Horton’s, ate his snack, and talked in his language about everything he saw. He’s so precious and has just been an even extra blessing this week to us!

Thankfulness is the key to contentment! Celebrate the simple things you experience in life. Find strength in joy.

Be bold and share with the world your top moments of the week!

Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Make Way Partners – Working Against Child Slavery

This post might be disturbing to you depending on what you know about child slavery and sex trafficking already. I heard about this organization, Make Way Partners, on Focus on the Family, and I’m going to be honest I was so wrecked by the founder’s story, we are still processing what life looks like after hearing such information.

I ask you to please open your heart to what God might be saying about this. I’m going to keep this concise, there are lots of additional information out on the web about this topic to inform yourself. The question is, what do we do?

Kimberly Smith and her husband and kids followed the Lord’s call to work in Spain as missionaries. When they were over there they stumbled upon, not looking for anything like this, a brothel that was home to many children between the ages of 5 and 15. These children had been kidnapped from their homes and brought over to work as sex slaves. They had been terrible physically, sexually and emotionally abused.

It took the Smith’s two years to get this brothel closed down. The man running it went to jail for a short time and then was let out. The children were shipped back to the shanty towns they were kidnapped from, only to be filtered through the system again.

At this point in hearing Kimberley’s story my heart was absolutely shattered. How could you continue to hope when the children you just spent two years of your life tried to rescue seemed to just be cast away when they needed love, care and support.

The Smith’s didn’t give up and went to the Sudan to start working in the towns where a lot of the kidnapping was originating from. Sudan has suffered Christian persecution, modern-day slavery and genocide by an invading radical Islamic regime consistently for the last decades, since Britain withdrew in 1956. This has resulted in Sudan holding one of the highest per capita rates for human trafficking in the world and the Republic of Southern Sudan ranking as one of the poorest nations in the world. Women and children are the most vulnerable, with orphans being the primary target of slave raiders.

Make Way Partners also works in Romania.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain former Eastern bloc countries, like Romania, have become major source countries for trafficking of women and children. Estimates as high as two-thirds of women trafficked for prostitution worldwide annually come from Eastern Europe. Today Romania ranks as one of the worst countries in the European Union for human trafficking.

Romanian’s are considered among the world’s most trafficked people. After Romania’s inclusion into the European Union (or EU in 2007), it was noted that EU membership did not solve the root causes of human trafficking and in some ways may have made them worse because of the new freedom of travelling from Romania across international borders were the demand for prostitution and slavery is high. Today Romania ranks as one of the worst countries in the European Union for human trafficking. The EU membership has also increased Romania’s position as a transit country for its non-EU neighbors (example, Moldova) where trafficking is also a devastating problem.

One of the things Kimberly challenged listeners to do when I heard her interview was “to let our hearts break for these children as though they were our very own kids being trafficked”.

I’m going to be honest, I haven’t allowed that to happen yet as emotional protection. I have cried about this everyday since hearing about their ministry. I feel like I am starting to allow God to break my heart, however I’m still sorting through what my response would be. There is no point in me simply weeping over them, since there is nothing that comes from that, but I must force my tears to action.

Whether it is strong prayer support, finances, spreading the word and personally going over to help their work, there are a lot of opportunities to help.

I have been so challenged to the core of who I am – what am I sacrificing for someone else? What am I refusing myself so that I can bring Christ’s love to someone else?

Here is a statement from their website regarding what they are doing in these countries:

In Romania our indigenous leadership cares for 12-20 girls at any one time who were trafficked into prostitution between the ages of 10 and 30. Each girl or young woman has been rescued from the brutality of forced prostitution, rapes and beatings.

Through House of Treasure, we offer a holistic healing approach that includes discipleship, counseling, medical care, job training, money management, and parenting skills for the young women who have borne children through their trafficking. We help them to rediscover who it is God dreamed of when He first formed them and give them the life skills to re-enter the world as the bright light that God intended them to be.

 In Sudan Make Way Partners primary mission is to protect the orphans through Christ-centered orphanages, schools and other necessary infrastructures.  Through partnerships we participate in the building of long-term indigenous discipleship and relief ministries which provide opportunities for hope and healing. 

I really encourage you to listen to her broadcast on Focus on the Family. I will be sharing the broadcast on my Facebook Page.

Many of us are involved in helping with many different ministries and give our time, love and money to things that God has put on our hearts. Not everyone is called to go overseas to help with something like this. I guess what my challenge would be, only because this is where I am at, and I’m sure someone else has to be in the same place: Allow God to break your heart for them. Don’t put up walls just because you can’t handle knowing that this goes on.

If your child was captured and used as a sex slave, I know you would go to the ends of the earth to find, rescue and love them. If it was my child, I would be daily begging every person to get involved and come help me.

These might not be your children, but they are someones child. These are God’s kids. Maybe he’s asking you to join the search party?

Thankfully there is hope for these children thanks to amazing people giving up their lives to help and serve others.

No matter what your calling in life is, or what group of people you have a heart to minister to, I pray that we would not become so consumed in our own lives that we do not sacrifice to see someone else rescued from darkness.

 

Blessings,

 

The Twelve Days of Purpose: Day 11

You’ve heard the saying one person’s trash is another person’s treasure? Well when we bought our house there were a few “treasure” pieces left behind by the previous owners. We have tried to make use of a few things. As we have been redecorating our bedroom while my husband has been home on holidays, we felt that our one wall was looking empty. I received some awesome scrapbook paper for Christmas, and using some leftover materials we created some cool wall art (original idea found on Pinterest).

My scrapbook paper was 12″ x 12″ squares, so Andrew cut the leftover plywood sitting in the garage into squares of that size. Then we chose our nine pieces of paper. This was a very difficult process. I struggle to think outside the box. I tend to over match items, so when you see the final product, you’ll have to realize what a stretch this was for me to embrace. Thankfully my husband has great ideas and manages to pull me aboard with his plans.

Before we started mod podging we spray painted the edges of the wood black. Here we are covering each square with a couple of tablespoons of Mod Podge and then placing the scrapbook paper on top of it. We found out quickly that you need to start from the middle and work out smoothly the bubbles. Making your hand into a fist and pressing firmly worked the best. Also, you need to let the Mod Podge dry for about 20 minutes before applying the layer over top of the paper. Otherwise you’ll get something like this mess:

Scraping this stuff off is not fun! We used a spatula and that ended up getting most of it off and we just did it again over top of the same piece.

We let them dry once we covered the top layer in more Mod Podge. You could spray paint them clear after to protect the paper, but we decided we didn’t want the glossy finish for when the light reflects off them.

This next step was all Andrew. Caleb and I just sat on the bed and watched him measure, drill and hang up the art. He did an awesome job spacing the nine squares out in three rows of three. Ready to see the final product?

I am so happy with how this project turned out (seems like the ones that involve my husband always turn out way better)! This definitely adds a splash of colour and vibrance to our brown and beige bedroom!

I’ve had so much fun working on projects with Andrew, but sadly he goes back to work on Wednesday. I’m going to try to not think about that tomorrow and just enjoy our last day off together (until the weekend of course!).

Have a blessed week!

 

The Twelves Days of Purpose: Day 9 & 10


To finish up my Twelve Days of Purpose posts I will be combining the days since they have taken place over the holidays without a chance for me to blog about them. First I’m going to show you the jewelery organizer made from an old shutter. The shutter itself isn’t necessary to the design of the organizer, but it does add a vintage look to it.

This is the original shutter that we got from my in-laws. We cleaned it up and took it into the garage to spray paint it. It was wonderful to do this with my husband, we’ve had fun doing projects while he has been off work!

Ok so just to clarify, although I realize this isn’t a fashion blog, I don’t usually wear black socks with brown flats! I just threw them on to run to the garage. Anyway, we decided to paint this white since the trim in our room is white and the walls are dark brown. I enjoyed spray painting. Andrew was astonished to find out this was my first time doing it (besides when I clear coated my coasters). This is where the two say part of the project comes in. We had to let the paint dry overnight.

We purchased a set of these large coat hooks from home depot for about $2.50. We screwed the large ones in on the top for my scarves and belts.

We bought two packs of eight long neck hooks, perfect for hanging earrings, necklaces and bracelets on! We varied the hooks in lines of four and three. Andrew put one on each side up high for my long necklaces.

You can see the hooks on the outside edges are below the screw holes for mounting the organizer to the wall. We ended up moving them above the hole so that when the necklaces are on they cover it.

I thought I was going to be able to fit more scarves on this, but they covered up my jewelry, which I suppose normally wouldn’t matter, but I wanted you to be able to see the whole organizer to get the full effect. I chose my three favourite scarves as of right now, two of which I just got for Christmas! I still haven’t figured out what to do with my studs so I just have them sitting on the ledge, which actually is working quite well!

I am really happy with how this project turned out, and I am enjoying picking out what jewelry I want to wear now that I can see it all.

Our purpose statement has been coming together, but I need to make time to sit down and write something out. I have noticed that people love to live by sayings. You can walk into any home decor store and find some catchy phrase about life. One thing I have noticed however, is that a lot of the time they are not biblical at all! I personally have a problem with the statements that talk about always following your heart or “find the courage to follow your heart”. I realize that God does place desires in our heart, but in Jeremiah 17:9 it says,

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

Instead we are to follow God as Matthew 6:33 says,

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

So as we talk and pray about our purpose statement, I want it to be a statement that is true and sound. Not flowery words that don’t really mean anything, but something of substance that our family can hold onto and declare that we are committed to.

Anyone else have any imput on our purpose statement? If you don’t remember what the values were that we hold dear you can recap here.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend ringing in the New Year!

 

The Twelve Days of Purpose: Day Eight “Part One of the Final Project”

For the last few days I am going to be working on a larger project that is intertwined with our family purpose statement. I am taking an old shutter that my in-laws gave me, repainting it, putting coat hooks on it and then doing three blocks of artwork that incorporate a summary of our purpose statement, or the whole statement itself. This may of course change a little if I get other inspiration.

Unfortunately I have to admit, I over committed to these daily blog post. Not in general, but just a few days before Christmas! So I will resume it in full force next week!

Today I want to talk about purpose statements and give you some thoughts surrounding ours. I would LOVE to hear if your family has some kind of statement and to get some ideas from you!

Let’s look again at the definition of purpose. As a noun (refresher: person, place or thing) it means:

“The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”

As a verb, or an action it means:

“Have as one’s intention or objective”

From the simple definition we can see that there are two folds to your purpose. Purpose is figuring out exactly who you are and why you are here, but it is also acting firmly on the objective that you have set.

Here are some things that our family holds as important. All of these things are principles that we would want to fit within an all-encompassing summarized statement. This isn’t the be all and end all of what’s important to us, this is mainly to help us process what values we hold dear.

  1. We believe that our number one purpose is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and endeavor to fulfill the destiny that he has for us. (Mark 12:30)
  2. We believe that strong families are the foundation of a strong nation. We value our commitment to marriage, and then our commitment to loving and nurturing our children. (Malachi 2:15-16 Joshua 24:15)
  3. We believe God has created us and given us gifts to help each other and to help others. We value serving in our church family and serving those around us with needs ultimately to lead them to Christ and show Jesus’ love. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
  4. We believe that we are to be leaders in the area of honour and integrity to the world around us. (Psalm 26:11-12)
  5. We believe in protecting our home, to “set nothing wicked before our eyes” and to “guard our hearts and minds”. (Psalm 101:3, Proverbs 4:23)

So that is our start! We’re still praying about anything else that needs to be in it. Now to come up with a statement that covers all that!

Please share your thoughts on purpose on a personal or family level to encourage others to explore their own purpose!