Tag: christian blogger

5 Ways to Protect Your Peace During the Holidays

Ever since I can remember I’ve looked forward to this time of year. Overall the holiday season brings good cheer and the opportunity for families to come together. The older I get, and more specifically these last two years, I’ve become acutely aware of what disturbs me during this season. Underneath the excitement is often anxiety surrounding family dynamics. Knowing this, I am actively engaged in guarding my heart and maintaining my joy. Today I’m sharing 5 Ways to Protect Your Peace During the Holidays.

1. Guard Your Conversation

Perhaps it’s a sibling calling to complain about your parents. Or a oarent calling to guilt you into changing your plans. Maybe a friend calling with the latest gossip or drama. This is where I need you to guard your conversation. Redirect the call or end it entirely. Even during face to face conversations don’t be afraid to inform folks that some topics are off limits. You will NOT be explaining why you’re still single. You will NOT be discussing your fertility. You will NOT talk about the recent breakup or your career change. Minding your business is always in order.

2. Guard Your Space

Even if the festivities are at your house this year you have a right to control the energy of your home. Don’t allow people to invade your space with negativity and chaos. It’s not rude, it’s your right. If you’re visiting others, you are not obligated to hug, kiss, sit near, or stand next to anyone whose makes you uncomfortable. Excuse yourself from the table, go upstairs/downstairs to chat, etc… You are not a prisoner.

3. Guard Your Time

Hosting holiday festivities also means that YOU get to decide how long folks stay in your home. If family is notoriously late and inconsiderate, inform them of the start and end times. If you snooze you lose! Having decided to venture out to someone else’s home, you too are not obligated to stay all day. If you can give 3 hours max without feeling overwhelmed so be it.

4. Guard Your Plate

Don’t drink alcohol? Skip the toast or opt for cider. Vegan? Don’t let Grandma slap her famous deviled eggs on your plate. Also, don’t allow what you put on your plate to become the topic of table conversation. No you don’t have to betray yourself and eat foods you avoid, but you also don’t have to eat like abird because mama likes to body shame.

5. Guard Your Money

Finally, if it’s not in your budget, don’t buy it beloved. I know your sister shows up like Old Saint Nick with gifts for everyone… Uncle Bill can’t wait to pull up in his 2020 Range… But you can not afford to go broke trying to buy validation. Honor yourself by committing to the financial discipline you’ve been practicing all year!

As you can see all five of these suggestions can be summed up in one word: boundaries. Setting and maintaining personal boundaries is something I’ve been working on all year. As the holidays approached I could feel myself becoming anxious. I began to worry that those boundaries would make me appear cold or distant. However, I’ve made too much progress in 2019 to lose it all at the dinner table. I encourage you nit to do so either! Xo

Dress//H&M , Wrap//K. Vaughn Scarves , Shoes//Donald J. Pliner

5 Benefits of Keeping a Gratitude Journal

Ever since I was a pre-teen I’ve kept a journal. My mother purchased my first one in middle school. In her spare time, she was a writer. Poetry and songs written in beautiful penmanship tucked away in stacks of dusty notebooks. She encouraged me to write as a way to be creative. I don’t think she realized just how therapeutic it would be also. Nowadays I begin every entry with gratitude. Naming at least 3 things for which I’m grateful. Doing so has changed my perspective. In this post we’ll discover 5 benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.

1. Shifts Our Focus

One can certainly argue that journaling in general relieves stress. Keeping one allows us to identify problems by writing through our thoughts and feelings. Thus, we are more likely to uncover the solutions. However, a gratitude journal not only helps organize thoughts, it helps increase mindfulness. How? By shifting the focus from problems to blessings. We arw are suddenly more aware of what’s going right in our lives. Not what’s wrong.

2. A More Positive Mood

Now more than ever it appears our society is hypersensitive to the perils of this world. Doom and gloom are front and center in the media along with our own individual challenges. The simple practice of naming all the things we’re grateful for trains our brain to be more aware of positivity. This daily reprogramming will increase our overall happiness over time.

3. Greater Satisfaction

I have seen firsthand that expressing my gratitude has given me greater satisfaction. Even scrolling through social media I no longer feel “behind” or “unaccomplished” or “covetous”. Why? Because I am satisfied with my present. Each day I’m reminded of how much I have. How much I’m loved. How far I’ve come as a person. This fills me with thankfulness and that leaves little room for comparison.

4. Better Sleep

First let me say that I work evening shift. So in general, I don’t fall asleep right away when I get in from work. However, I’ve certainly noticed that taking time to write in my gratitude journal before bed has calmed my spirit. After a hot shower, this allows me to refelct and relax. No anxious, worrisome thoughts keeping me awake all night. Instead I am at peace.

5. Increased Generosity

The more we shift our perspective to our blessings, increase positivity, find greater satisfaction, and get better sleep we will inevitably become more generous. Think about it – the more grateful I am, the more likely I am to lend a helping hand to someone else. When I stop thinking about what I don’t have and praise God for what I do… the more I give to others.

I’m sure there are more than 5 ways gratitude journaling has been beneficial , but these are a great place to start. I encourage you to take up this practice with me. Examine all the beauty in your life and document it in a daily journal. Watch yourself uncover more blessings than you ever realized!

Jacket//Kmart , Sweater/Jeans//H&M , Boots//Thrifted

Crop Top + Black Palazzo

Fashion has always been one of the ways I connect with other women. It often allows me to encourage, uplift, and even gives me an opportunity to share my faith. Quite frankly, it’s the reason behind this blog. Recently another dope blogger Rebecca Shakespeare-Armstrong reached out to and D. F. Cameron and myself about collaborating. As bloggers of faith, none of us are surprised when people assume our beliefs limit our style. We decided a summer fashion series on Dope Modesty was in order. To kick things off I’ve chosen a true summer staple: the crop top.

Right now you’re thinking one of two things: “Sis, it’s just a shirt. Live ya life!” OR “Sis, it’s not a good look!” Would you believe neither one of thise are wrong. The whole point of modesty, is to allow the Holy Spirit to first dress your character. There are items I’ve worn in the past that I never intended to appear sexy. However, another sister in Christ may find skinny jeans with no duster a little too tight. Or a sheer top with a spaghetti strap tank too revealing. Each of us must discern when we are seeking fleshly validation. There is always intent behind an outfit, but interpretation will vary. My rule is that an outfit is to be appropriate for the venue, moveable, and properly sized.

Most crop tops come in a short (below bra), mid (below ribs), and full length (at/above navel). Making any of these work is a matter of either layering or proportions. This floral crop top is mid length. By pairing it with a high waist pant less skin is shown, which makes it more “modest” by most standards. This is perfect since this look was for a brunch date. These black wide legged palazzo pants are soft, just like the top. Each piece is loose and feminine. The photos don’t totally capture the pleats in the pants, but they add texture to the look.

While there are some things I will never wear, very few trends do I consider completely off limits. I never claim to wear modest fashion. I sumply dress and let others decide for themselves. Ladies, you don’t have to be afraid of expressing your style. Instead of stifling it, simply ask yourself “Does this contradict who I am?” I sincerely hope this was helpful. If so, let me know in the comments below. Also, be sure to look out for the other posts in this series from Rebecca Shakespeare-Armstrong and D. F. Cameron .

Top/Clutch//H&M , Pants//Thrifted , Shoes//K&G , Sunglasses//CVS

Black Floral Short Set

So you mean to tell me that after 8 seasons of diabolical treachery Cersei dies due to structural damage at Casterly Rock?! A freaking building collapse… really? I’m convinced Game of Thrones writers are trying to make fans livid (if so, it’s working). *Deep sigh* I could go on but refuse to go down the rabbit hole. Instead let’s lighten the mood and focus on fashion. Spring is such a hodge podge of temperatures (because global warming), it seems the only consistent theme are the flowers my wardrobe. Ones like this black floral short set for instance.

Last year my mother took me shopping for Mother’s Day and we spotted this outfit at Mandee’s in Springfield. If you’ve never been to Mandee, every item in the store is priced at $10 or less. It’s insane, I know, which is why I can’t believe I don’t shop there more often. This floral short set came in three variations: pink, black, and white. White was my first choice but I couldn’t find my size. Nevertheless, the black proved to be a great pick because I can wear this in the fall as well.

Both pieces were $10 each, sold separately. Something that stood out to me was the long vest. Had it been shorter, the set may have appeared cheasy. A long vest adds a level of sophistication to an otherwise trendy ensemble. I also love the contrast of a dark background against bold flowers. Having never worn shorts with over the knee boots I knew that’s exactly how I wanted to style this outfit. I’m aware that some find the pairing a little too risque, especially for a Christian blogger. However, I honestly believe that it’s how you wear your clothes that makes the difference.

The plan was to layer a classic white button up underneath the vest. Would you believe I couldn’t find a single one in my closet? Epic styling fail an hour before my shoot. This pastel pink button up is plan B. I still don’t think it works but hey, the show must go on. Black fringe earrings and a quilted chain handle purse complete this look. Have you ever worn boots with shorts? What do you think of this combo? Let me know in the comments and lets make this a great Monday!

Short Set//Mandee , Boots//Go Jane , Shirt//H&M

It is Well… Making peace with 2016

If you’re reading this congratulations, you are among the extremely blessed individuals to physically cross over into 2017. You are alive. No, it’s not a churchy old head cliche thing to say my G, I’m dead serious (pun intended). So again, let me remind you: YOU ARE ALIVE! If I stop this blog post right now that fact should fill your heart with overwhelming gratitude and happiness. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that many of us are physically here in 2017 but our hearts and minds are still reeling from the global, local, and personal tragedies and/or disappointments we’ve encountered over the last twelve months.

I began 2016 overwhelmed by financial strain. In February my boyfriend proposed and it was one of the happiest days of my life. Excited and ready to finally take that next step, we set the date for January 7, 2017. In April we had a death in my family while preparing for my siblings graduations. By May I’d made the hard decision to move back home with my parents in order to save for the wedding and at the start of summer my fiance and mother both had great new jobs. My family’s collective season of hardship seemed to be over. Then in July while at a concert with my sister, she had a grand mal seizure. We spent the entire month at various appointments with neurologists as they determine if she has epilepsy. August 1st my fiance was abruptly let go from his job and by the end of the month the same was true for my mother. I must say, this nearly crushed me. I felt like what was supposed to be my happiest year was turning into my worst. In September another death in the family on my mother’s side and Thanksgiving weekend her brother had a massive stroke.

If you’re feeling battered by the events of 2016, trust me I understand. Many of you have buried loved ones, lost jobs, and ended relationships. It may seem like the positive affirmations, declarations, and decrees have been null and void over the last year but PLEASE hear this: God is sovereign! Proverbs 16:9 says “A person plans his ways but the Lord orders his steps.” I spent the last three weeks of this year reflecting and talking to God the father. Lord, what was the purpose for ___ , what was the lesson in ___ , how could I have handled/responded to ___ better, is ___ your will for my life or am I forcing something unintended for my destiny? These questions have yielded answers, some I honestly didn’t like so much. However, there is peace in knowing that my times and seasons are in God’s hands.

The calendar year has no bearing on the spiritual seasons of our lives. 2017 will be exactly the same as 2016 unless my perspective changes. Even if the circumstances don’t change immediately, my understanding of them can produce the fruits of long suffering and patience. If I let myself go there, I could be devastated that I won’t be getting married in 5 days. I could feel like a failure that I live with my parents again at age 33 and become angry with myself and God. Instead, I choose to see God’s plan unfold. I don’t always understand or agree with his methods but because I trust him and I know his plans for me are good, I can take comfort in knowing he’s with me. Purpose has a process! This process is unavoidable. It may include some heartbreak, embarrassment, and discomfort but ALL things are working for your good and pain is never wasted with God. 

Somewhere in the fall of 2016 God reminded me that life is not always going to be peachy, but it can be victorious. Many days I would get into prayer and worship, pouring my heart out to God. Writing in my journal and reading his holy word. In times of trial and testing we must learn to hide ourselves in him and let the joy of the Lord be our strength!  As we journey into 2017 the word of the Lord for me is change – maybe that resonates with you also. Change in perspective, attitude, thought processes, mode of operation, etc… My only goal for 2017 is to finish what was divinely inspired and to learn from the challenges of 2016. Let’s implement the lessons learned from the hardships of last year and make 2017 a year of visible change!


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