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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hey loves! I'm baaack! I've been sooo out of blogging the last few days because I've been spending so much time working on finishing up my eBook, so I've missed y'all but am excited to be here today linking up for The Girl Behind the Blog and sharing a bit about encouragement :) 


Link to the Influence Conference that I talked about:


Thanks for watching, have a beautiful day, friend! 
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"Hope is the reality that there is something coming for you 
when your eyes cannot see it, 
your ears cannot hear it 
and your flesh tells you it just isn't there." 
Rita Springer, via Instagram 

Keep your hope, beautiful friend.
Don't give up on it - even when you can't see or hear or feel.
Just keep believing, you'll see a new season soon.
He won't let you down.

Really love you all! 



// Outfit Stats // 

Necklace: Gift from trading post in Arizona 
Top: Bottom layer: Angl, top layer: Forever 21
Skirt: Angle (borrowed from my sis!)
Belt: Handmade from my bridesmaid's dress for my dear friend Heather's wedding.
Shoes: Target (borrowed from my mama!)

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Summer is SO here (it's seriously like 150 degrees in California right now - which, for the record, I love :)  and with it we have some fun summer music. Everybody's got a favorite summertime song - a song that, when you hear it, you know it's summer. Just for fun, I asked 3 of my sweet friends (and FAB sidebar sponsor sisters) to share with us their favorite summer song! 
Mine? It's not officially summer until I hear Tim McGraw's BBQ Stain song. 
     Meet my girls below and click their links and introduce yourself - believe me, these are 3 of the best blog friends out there - you need to know these ladies! 
"My favorite song that embodies summer is Long Hot Summer by Keith Urban. 
That song gets me dancin' and groovin' every single time it comes on the radio!"
Girl, I'm right there with ya - we all know Keith's my all time fav! - Erin

I happen to love "Summer Nights" from Grease during my summer picnics and pool time :)

                                         Blog & Boutique // Instagram // Facebook 

"'Summertime' by Kenny Chesney..I like it so much that I sometimes I blare it in the middle of winter just to put myself i a good mood."

Summertime by Kenny Chesney on Grooveshark

Now, friend - 

What's YOUR favorite summer song?? We'd love to hear. Share below in the comments! 
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

I really love ordering a Starbucks Shaken Passion Tea Lemonade on a hot July day, don't you? Totally yummy and refreshing. Yet, sometimes the budget just doesn't allow for a Starbucks splurge. So, I came up with a solution: make it at home. I whipped up one of these iced teas for myself yesterday afternoon and it was honestly just as tasty as one from Starbucks! I saved money, AND it had way less sugar. Winning! And who doesn't love winning? :) I posted it on my Instagram & Twitter yesterday and had some requests for the recipe. Here it is, y'all! (and if you scroll down to the bottom of this post I have a little book update or somethin' like it)

Homemade Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade Recipe 

1 Tazo Passion tea filterbag 
1 quart of boiling water
1 quart organic lemonade 
1 cup ice 

Place 1 filterbag in a 2-quart pitcher and fill with a quart of boiling water. 
Steep for 5-6 minutes until tea is strong, then remove bag.
Add lemonade to pitcher.
Serve over ice in a pretty cup!
Refrigerate after brewing, keeps for 24 hours.

recipe altered from Tazo tea box 

Also, a quick little announcement for my precious Sweetness Itself Blog readers - So, this sounds a little random, but we're gonna chat about names for a minute - weird, I know, but stick with me ;) - as you know, I've been going by "Erin Elizabeth" on this little blog and on my social media profiles (including Facebook... are we friends?) I've been not sharing my last name. This is fine for blogging - we all have to set boundaries and do what is most comfortable for us based on our situation, life, and family in our profiles that are out there for the world to see on the Internet, and that's OK. But as I am expanding my reach and publishing my book in the next few months (ahh!) as well as have some speaking engagements on the horizon and other exciting stuff (will share soon :) I've felt it is time to expand my "branding" a little bit and become a bit more easily recognizable by sharing my full name. Those of you who know me personally know that my real last name is very long, very unique, and may possibly be the only one of it's kind out there. Which is great! Yet I just don't feel comfortable using my full real name in the public setting. Mostly because of privacy for my family and also because it's super hard to spell, pronounce and remember. So, I am choosing to use a "pen name" or pseudonym. That may be strange to some people but it's what I'm gonna do (by the way, in my searching about this topic on the Internet, I found that Jennifer Aniston isn't Jen's real last name... No! Who knew? She's really Jennifer Anastassakis! See? She gets it with the crazy long last names. I'm apparently in good company ;) I am not legally changing my name, still the same old me. But I will be going by a pen name on my blog, book, etc :) Just wanted to update, because no I didn't get married secretly and change my name - believe me, you'll know when that happens! 

  All of that to say, I will be officially going by Erin James. James is my dad's full name and a special family name, and I think it just sounds good. Just wanted to update ya so you 
wouldn't be thrown off. Gotta keep my sweet friends and supporters informed. Love you all SO much and excited to share some new things with you soon! 

Be blessed and stay sweet.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

When you wake up each morning, sip your coffee, choose an outfit, take a shower, curl your hair, and put on your makeup, I want you to remember this .... 
Your beauty should not come
 from outward adornment, 
such as elaborate hairstyles 
and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, 
the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
 which is of great worth in God’s sight.

- 1 Peter 3:3-4

      Being girly and pretty is fun and good, certainly not wrong. Makeup isn't bad - it can help us feel more confident, put together, and it can even be like art! But, ladies, remember that your worth is not found in how you look. Your beauty is not found in your pretty face or gorgeous hair. It's found in your heart. We've all heard the saying, "Pretty is as pretty does." and it's really true. True beauty is not having fancy clothes, designer bags, cute haircuts, and full red lips - true beauty is found in the heart and it shines through in your life.

     Makeup fades and someday we won't be young and beautiful. But the inner beauty - the beauty of a heart that loves and serves God and others - this beauty is unfading. 

 So remember that today when you put on lip gloss and brush on eye shadow. True beauty comes from within and shines through, dear friend. 


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Sunday, July 14, 2013

No matter how far you've run or where you've been. 
Whether you feel lovable or unloved. 
No matter what you've done or haven't.

Know this:

You are loved. 

"How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ..."
Ephesians 3:18
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Lately, I've been writing a chapter on Loss and Letting Go for my upcoming book, yet I didn't plan to share this topic today. But, loss touched my life early this morning and I feel prompted to share some rambling thoughts on it tonight ....    

        When I was a little girl, growing up as a P.K. (Pastor's Kid) I often heard people speak of loss. I spent my formative years at The Ranch - a beautiful place where people from all over the world came to be prepared for ministry, to get equipped for missionary work, be encouraged in worship leading gifts... but really, I don't think there was one student who came and went without bringing with them a bit of grief and loss, and leaving with their hearts healed a little more than when they came. I saw their brokenness, yet sometimes I didn't understand the ones who had lost that which is less tangible. As a 12 year old kid, I "got" why the girl whose parents both died of cancer cried alot. But I didn't quite "get" the quirky older lady who used to weep during worship and act funny sometimes. I didn't understand that her loss took the form not of physical death but of a stolen girlhood, of being molested by all the men in her life and an adulthood full of addiction and brokenness as a result. To my immature mind and heart, "loss" simply meant: losing someone you love to death. I couldn't comprehend any other kind of loss. 

       Not until I experienced some of it myself. Loss is described in the dictionary as: The state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value: "a terrible sense of loss." Loss hit me hard late in high school when I lost my church family. When people I trusted, looked up to, and really loved turned there backs on me. I felt loss when friends shut the door, never looked back - faces never to be seen again, voices never to be heard. Loss slapped me in the face and I never looked at him the same. You, like me, have been acquainted with Loss too. Perhaps in a tangible way like the physical death of someone you loved. Or maybe in a less tangible way. Loss touches our hearts poignantly, but it isn't always easy to understand... or rather, to explain. Loss takes on a myriad of forms and looks very different than we expect, I think. 

Loss may look like your grandfather passing away.
Or it may take the shape of the love of your life who walked out on you and slammed the door. 
Loss may be the dream you held tightly until it slipped from your fingers, gone forever.
Loss may look like a shattered hope.
It may haunt you as a broken romance.
Loss may be the baby aren't able to have, but miss somehow.
The husband you dream of, but still haven't met. 
Loss may be the illness your body can't beat.
The love who cheated on you.
The boyfriend who doesn't want you anymore.
Loss may be the family who disowned you.
The people who completely and totally misunderstood you. Who were hurt by you, and you didn't even mean it.
The friend who accused you, slandered you, shafted you, and turned on you.
Loss may look like the mistake you made. That one stupid decision that haunts you.
The regret that follows you around.
It may be the dream you're too scared to chase.
Loss can be time spent and never regained. Years lost. 
Loss may look like the reality of your life today, and how utterly different it is than the life you planned.

"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear."

C.S. Lewis 

        Beautiful, precious one: I want you to know - that your loss is real. However it looks. Whatever form it takes. It is real and it is OK to feel it. Feeling grief does not mean you are weak, it means you are real. And strong. It may feel like fear, and that's alright. 

 Today, Loss came to my door and knocked. It looked like my sweet family's Labrador Retriever taking his last breath and passing away. He died just as the sun rose, joining his brother who passed a few months ago. My heart is heavy and I cried all day. Yet, Loss has come and colored the last few years of my life, and especially the past few months, in other ways - those intangible ways. Sometimes, the very thought of Loss makes me shudder. No, no, no my heart screams as I run fast away from it, denying it, begging it away. But then, when it comes - as it surely will come in this broken world - I find it to be a kind of friend. I know Loss, I know tears. And when they cross my path I nod my head to them, and even embrace them for a moment. Because, Loss gave me the key to the door where I found Jesus  in a sacred place. Loss - if you let it - will take the form of an opportunity: to run into His chambers, to beg for Him to come, to surrender, to fall to His feet and weep - to find yourself broken in His arms. And brokenness can really be a sweet place to be. Because, in brokenness, I have found that my God is strong. And in His strength, I can face tomorrow. In His strength, I can run again and smile again, laugh again and hope again

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved
God will help her when morning dawns.
Psalm 46:5

     Forgive me, sweet reader, if this blog post is a rambling, hot mess. For, tonight I am just that myself. But I hope that through my metaphor and rabbit trail, you may find some reminder -wherever you are. On the mountain tops of happiness or the valleys of sorrow. I want you to know, tonight, that however Loss has graced your life - it is real and it is OK to feel. And it is also a sacred opportunity to cry out to Jesus, who is life itself - and who holds the hope our hearts long for when Loss throws us into the depths of despair. 

   Through tears, I smile. Because I am reminded of this: 

He will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears

    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 25:8

Someday, in Heaven, because of Jesus' death on the Cross
there will be no more pain or tears or loss.
Death will be swallowed up.
LIFE will be all we know.
Let us wait for that day,
allowing loss we face here and brokenness we suffer to push us to
run into His graceful arms, knowing in His we find love, life, hope, and comfort.

You are loved. 


last picture taken with my sweet pup

quote from my upcoming book 

linking up here
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

When you wake up, look around and realize your dream didn't come true.
When give your dream to God, like a child releasing a beloved balloon to the blue sky...
 and years pass... yet... no answer.
When you watch your friend live the dream you asked for.
When you ask "Why?"
When you let go and feel like throwing in the towel.
When you know disappointment like a best friend.
When you embrace unbelief and it weighs you down.....

Don't give up.
Don't let lies tear you down. 
Don't let fear shut you out.

Keep your dreams and keep on believing, loved one. Give God your dreams ... and He will take the broken and turn it into something beautiful. That's what He does. 

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

.... because you are very loved.

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 

I've not been around much this week, took a few days to rest, spend time with a dear friend and work on my upcoming book. In a few days, I am so excited to share my book's official title with you all and an exciting project. 

Until then, my friend, be blessed and stay sweet. Happy Sunday!


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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

 Hey guys! Advertising is open for July here at Sweetness Itself Blog! 

There's alot of fun going on here on this little space. God is doing big things! I'm over at Quite Magazine every week as a contributing writer, working on my e-book that will be released this August, and being a part of the Influence community and preparing to be a community leader at the conference in September! 

I would love to work with you. Helping promote blogs and shops, and building community in this blog world by introducing amazing bloggers and shop owners like you to my precious, beautiful readers! That is my heart. And if you're interested, I'd love to have you here. Lots of different options are available, see below! A few as low as a LATTE! Have questions? Don't hesitate to email me - 

    Also, as Google Reader is now gone, make sure you find me on  Bloglovin

---> You can start TODAY! Or anytime you're ready.
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---> Don't have a button? No worries! I'll make one for you for free!

Current Stats:

As of 7/2/13

Pageviews last month: 15,000 +
Google Friend Connect Followers: 1,137+
    Twitter: 1,385+                
Instagram: 2,235+
Pinterest: 1,004+
Facebook: 448+ {posts are also shared with 1,000+ personal Facebook friends}
Bloglovin' – 477+

#15 of 248 in Christian blog category in June 2012



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