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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today's the day!! I know I've been keeping you sweet friends in suspense the past few days, but wait no more.... it's time to share my exciting news!! 
Okay... so ya know Influence Conference? I was so blessed to attend last year. It was a God-thing that I was able to go, thanks to a few precious friends. It was such a wonderful experience in SO many ways - meeting wonderful bloggy friends in REAL life, listening to and learning from amazing women's hearts and wisdom, and just having a beautiful, encouraging, inspiring time. (Read the blog post I wrote after the conference, 7 Things I Learned at Influence
Well, this year..... it's going to be even more amazing. And I'm so thankful to be asked to be a community leader this year!!!!  Along with some amazing women I admire. Serving the precious ladies who attend and helping to make sure everyone is loved on and that community is built is my heart. I will also be leading a workshop!! And am SO excited to share more on that soon!! I am over-the-moon excited, friends. If you can't tell haha :)


The Influence Blog is announcing some exciting things today, so go check it out if you are interested in learning more about speakers, location, etc! 

I hope you sweet friends can pray about joining me on September 26-28th in Indianapolis, Indiana. It's going to be a beautiful few days, I know it. Tickets go on sale on April 1st!

Visit the Influence Blog HERE

See how fun it was last time? Sharing a few memories from 2012's conference.......
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Hi sweet friends! Today I'm sharing a little vlog for The Girl Behind the Blog link-up one year anniversary! I share a short encouragement for your week and a few other thoughts: 



Come back tomorrow, because I have an EXCITING announcement to make!! 
Cannot wait to share it with you and invite you to join me in something amazing!

Love.

5ohwifey
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Sunday, February 24, 2013


The first time I had Lindt chocolate, it was straight from Switzerland. My dad preached at a church there when I was a kid, and brought home a few bars of Lindt. Melt in your mouth yummy, I just fell in love then and there. I have to admit, to this day, I am chocolate obsessed. So when I found out my friend Elizabeth is a Lindt Independent Chocolate Advisor, I was over the moon excited. And now that she's my sponsor this month, I'm ecstatic! Elizabeth is taking over the blog today to share all about the amazing chocolate  You may read her blog, you may have seen her on my sidebar this weekend. Well, you get the pleasure of getting to know her as she tells us ALL about the amazing chocolate products she is offering. She kindly sent me a happy little box of all kinds of amazing samples, and I am not exaggerating when I say they are the BEST chocolates I've ever had. And let's face it, I've had alot of chocolate in my day. But the incredible array of options is melt in your mouth amazing! Elizabeth is here to tell you everything you need to know about this delicious chocolate that's delivered right to your door! (Order now, HERE!) 
 Sweet readers! My name is Elizabeth, and around the internet I'm known as The Young Retiree! A few years back I got married and immediately moved from Virginia to California as my husband was moving with his job! I'm so happy to say I'm no longer retired! I'm working my DREAM selling CHOCOLATE! I recently became a Lindt R.S.V.P. Independent Chocolate Advisor. How cool is that? Lindt is such a recognizable name, but I bet folks have no idea everything they truly have to offer  As a Lindt R.S.V.P. consultant, I get the opportunity to throw in home parties so people can sample our products before they buy them- European specialties, new flavors of truffles (hello: Coconut and Caramel!), and candy bars! I'm finally able to provide some kind of income into our household, and I pay my husband in truffles for the help he gives me! 
You might be asking how someone even gets involved with selling chocolate and it is a rather funny story for me. My husband LOVES chocolate. I love good chocolate and giving to others. For years, every time I was invited to a party, I would bring some LINDOR truffles in a candy jar as a hostess gift. I made Easter baskets for friends with LINDOR truffle eggs and chocolate carrots! Lindt and their products almost became my signature gift. Naturally, when my husband started working at the hospital he is at now, he had his first office all to himself and I sent in a candy jar. Around Christmastime I sent in some fun candy in Christmas wrapping... it was not Lindt. Someone actually asked him where the "good candy" was. I went to the Lindt website to order a case of truffles and it was then that I noticed I could become a consultant with a company who was already such a big part of my life!
I'm sure everyone has seen LINDOR truffles at their local big box store, grocery store, and even drug stores! "LINDOR" is a combination of the world "Lindt" and "or", the French word for gold, and LINDOR truffles are the gold standard in chocolate and gold winning item for Lindt. As an R.S.V.P. consultant, I am able to offer a variety of exquisite products not available anywhere else: a special full line of truffle flavors, our European specialty chocolates, boxed chocolates  our chocolate accessories (like our sweet truffle jar), and our fabulous cookbook! PLUS: it's shipped right from our factory in New Hampshire to your door step! 
One of the first things I did upon becoming a consultant was rip into the European Specialty sampler bag that came with my starter kit. It contained amazing chocolates I never knew existed! Each night my husband and I would sample one or two... or four chocolates! We'd cut them in half and see which ones we liked best. He loved the Mozartkuglen (item #7735 for a combination of milk and dark, item #7741 for dark chocolate and item #7711 for milk chocolate). They are little chocolates with a soft hazelnut cream center surrounded by pistachio marzipan filling! My favorite quickly became the Bastoncini (item#7970)! Small little "two bite bars" with a variety of kinds: decadent milk chocolate filled with smooth white chocolate, chocolate with little cereal crsipies inside, heaven in a 40 calorie nugget of deliciousness! Then we both fell in love with our Hello Bars (item #LS72)! We tried the Hello Bits box (item #422007Ato get a feel for them and the taste can't be beat. Luckily, his favorite is the caramel brownie and mine is the cookies and cream! 
I love sharing excellent chocolate with friends and customers, but what I love more is that I can offer them amazing deals. When you subscribe to my newsletter, you'll be informed of our monthly specials! For instance, in February, when you place a $40 order, you can get a bag of our Caramel truffles (item#8027) for $5 instead of the regular $12. In March, when you place an order of $40, you can get our limited edition spring truffles (item #7762) for $8 instead of the regular $18.  From now until Easter, I am most proud to be a part of Lindt and their amazing work with Autism Speaks. For every gold bunny purchased, Lindt donates ten cents! Last year, they donated over $400,000! I'm so honored to be working with a company that has such great community outreach as part of their tradition and values!
If you ever have any questions, you can tweet me, find me on Facebookdrop me a line, or head right over to my Lindt R.S.V.P. site and "shop now"! Be sure to check out my newsletter (and subscribe) for recipes, specials, and news about Lindt!
Go check out Elizabeth's links & show her some love! 
Also, find Elizabeth on Instagram!
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Saturday, February 23, 2013


An old mentor of mine once told me, "I love how good the Lord is." And I often think of how right she was. He is good. Even when many things in our lives and all around us are not so good.

One of the good things He gives us is peace. My name, "Erin" means "Peace" and so I've always desired peace in my life, craved it. But somehow, the things around me in my life - my circumstances - sometimes seem anything but peaceful. Yet, I remember reading a verse years ago that taught me about peace. The peace that surpasses understanding, as the Bible says. It taught me about God's peace, the kind that wraps you up and chases away your fears, silents your anxiety, calms your beating heart. 


The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.
-Zephaniah 3:17 

How beautiful. He is with you, friend. He is a might warrior, He can save you! He takes great delight in you. In Him there is forgiveness, second chances. He will quiet you with His love. He sings over you, in joy. 




Open your heart to this love today.
Willingly receive His peace.
Ask Him to sing over you,
to rejoice over you.

Because He is good. All the time.
And you are loved. Always.

Happy Sunday, friend.

XO

Erin
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

As our week comes to a close, I want to share a few reminders, encouragements and inspirations. I love sharing these on Instagram throughout the week and I hope you are uplifted by these photos and few words. 

I heard a song a few days ago and the lyrics made me smile. 


"Have you ever heard you are beautiful.
I know what you're worth, but you don't see it at all. 
After the rain has fallen down, the sun comes out. 
Just keep believing, you'll see a new season soon. You're turning into something amazing.
Baby, you were born to bloom...."


Tried on this dreamy (way too pricey for this girl's budget) Kate Spade dress. Le sigh. 
I may have screamed when I got my mail earlier this week and saw the first ever Quite Magazine Mini Mag! I am so thankful to be a contributing writer on the Quite Magazine team. If you want one in your mailbox each month too for FREE join here! Full print publication coming soon, visit the website for more details. And check out my Dating and Relationship articles here
Reminder I shared on Instagram on Valentine's Day.. and it holds true for every day.
And Valentine nails.
//photo credit: TMinspired Photography//

I leave you with this, sweet friends.
In whatever you walk through at the end of this week, and whatever paths you take and doors are opened (or closed) this weekend, remember this - in Christ, you are offered this - no guilt in life and no fear in death. What freedom and joy! 
Starting my weekend early. It was a top knot, tights, comfy sweater, sandals, no makeup and iced coffee with my mama kinda morning today. And I wish you a weekend of mornings like this, too. Mwah.
All my love and a hug,

Erin

XO
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sexual purity is a passion of mine, and if you have spent more than 5 minutes reading through this little space of mine you'd see my heart and passion pour through onto the pages, my goal being to encourage young people to pursue a life of sexual purity. Since writing my first post on the subject  I've met and received emails and feedback from thousands of people who share the same heart. I've been so encouraged to know we are NOT alone in this pursuit. And speaking openly about abstinence has been a theme in my ministry and writing and will continue to be as I write my book.

But why is this a passion of mine? Why am I really choosing to save sex for marriage and why do I believe it is important? Aside from abstinence just being a wise, smart thing to choose - saving heartache and emotional scars, protecting your future marriage and spouse, avoiding STD's and unwanted pregnancy, honoring the sacredness of the covenant of marriage, and simply respecting your own body. What is the #1 reason I choose to save sex for marriage? 

I wanted to share a little more of the heart behind why I am choosing this road less traveled.  

What exactly do I mean by "purity"? What if you're not a virgin, is it hopeless for you? Watch my video as I share my heart a little more on this topic and answer those questions and more. May you be encouraged to entrust your love life, body, heart, and mind to God, knowing His way is best! 



Wherever you are on your journey,
I pray you are inspired to live a life of sexual purity!

Be encouraged, stay strong,
and know you are NOT alone! 

Email me if you need prayer or encouragement in this area,
and if you are one of the precious ones who has emailed me - I am writing back,
I promise! It takes me a while because of the amount of emails I receive,
but know I am praying for you until I have time to reply officially :)

Love your sistah in this journey,

XO

Erin
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Words allude me tonight, friends. I have few. I wish I had more, but I don't. A heavy heart mixed with life turning crazy = a quiet mind, apparently. I'm sorry I don't have more to share with you tonight, as I had planned. All I can offer you is this - the few words that have been covering and comforting my soul the past few days.

They are simple words. But they hold so much truth. Earlier today, I remembered them - the words from the Psalms that I first read at the age of 10 when I received a little gift book with beautiful watercolor pictures. The truth sunk in back then, and it rose to the surface of my heart today as a sweet reminder of His love. It's been on my heart all day. And as the Lord would have it, one of my best childhood friends sent it to me tonight as a reminder. I love how God works.

May it encourage you too, friend. In whatever you are walking through this week.


"The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters.
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths,  for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and your staff , they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the  days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
Psalm 23.


I've got a vlog to share tomorrow and some more thoughts. Until then, be blessed! Love.


Also - Remember April from Rise Above Life who I featured below in the last post, yesterday? She has kindly offered my readers a FREE DOWNLOADABLE PRINT from her shop HERE, enter the code "tryme". Enjoy!  
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

I love focusing on the good, the happy, the joyful. I love finding beauty in the unexpected and sharing encouragement and inspiration here on this little space. But one of my promises to myself when I started writing here was to always be upfront and real with you my readers. And so tonight, I share with you honestly that my heart is hurting, as our hearts do. And it's okay to feel pain. A few moments ago, I learned that sweet Daisy Merrick (the precious little girl whose story I shared a few months ago and asked for prayer in her fight against cancer) went home to be with Jesus today. Join me in prayer for her precious family tonight.

Tonight, I am sad... yet hopeful. Because I know God is still in control, He still has a plan, and He works all things for good. There is so much brokenness because of sin in this world.... but someday the mess will be made whole, because of Jesus I have hope. 

Yet, it's still okay to cry. We suffer, we grieve, we experience heartache and loss. And that is why sharing my friend's blog and shop with you is so perfectly timely. Meet April from Rise Above Life, a friend who has been on my blog before and am happy to have once again. Her heart, passion and ministry is centered around helping those who experience difficult in life rise above it all because of God. Friend, maybe you are experiencing some kind of heartache or difficulty in your life today. You are not alone. There is hope in God. And I pray you are encouraged through April's heart here. 




My world revolves around my family. They are the most important thing in the world to me. When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, it was hard to be happy and have hope. I created a blog to share stories our hope, ideas for having fun and ways that others have found to stay happy when life is tough.  I also created a shop to sell inspirational printables that have helped my family and I to remain positive.

5 fun facts about April // 

My oldest son just got his learners permit and I am trying to teach him how to drive this week. He has only ran over one trash can, missed two stop signs and hit three curbs.

I am also a photographer and love all things artistic.

I am a book-a-holic. If you asked me what book was my favorite, I wouldn't have an answer for you. I love them all the same but in different ways.

I can play the piano, flute and the oboe. I would love to learn how to play the cello someday.

I love all things American Girl and wish my daughter liked them as much as I do. Right now, she is only interested in My Little Pony and soccer.


I have suffered from depression for years and have fought to stay happy. I have done everything I could think of on my own to overcome it from medicine to exercise to ideas on the internet. It helped to a point, but never completely.  One day, it hit me that I was trying to do it all alone and I needed to turn my life over to God. I had to learn to let go and let God take my trials from me.  I looked around and realized that there were so many other people who were suffering with their own problems too. We were all just walking through life, trying to act like everything was great instead of reaching out to each other. I started to write Rise Above Life so I could share anonymous stories from around the country with others so that they would know that they were not alone.  The blog is growing into a place where people come to look for hope. I started to create artwork to hang around our house to remind me to smile and be happy. Family members and friends wanted their own copies of these printables.  I created my shop to sell affordable downloads of these images to share with others. We have just introduced a new line of notecard printables and gratitude boards. 
                                         
                                            Connect with Rise Above Life




A few of the lovely prints! 
AVAILABLE ON ETSY.COM/SHOP/RISEABOVELIFE
These prints would be inspiring to hang in your home!
And they make thoughtful, unique gifts!

Look at this cute message board: 

 

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Dreaming big. It's something I'm passionate about. Trusting God for dreams. Stepping out in faith and fearlessly pursuing your passion, and bravely chasing after those things you were made to do, the things that make your heart beat and a sense of fulfillment to settle on your soul. Dreaming big and pursuing those dreams even if people laugh and you and no one understands. I believe God plants dreams in our hearts and asks us to take steps of faith and work to see those dreams bloom, and come true. This is why I love The Kite Project. I've mentioned it before. My dear friend Rae leads it and shepherds dreamers as they take one brave footstep after another, pointing us to the Lord the whole time. I truly encourage you, if you have a dream waiting to be born in your life - if you need a support group of cheer leaders who are chasing, just like you, then check out Rae's blog and read more. I've been a part of the Project for 2 seasons now and it has literally changed my life. It's the reason I am writing my book. And part of the reason this blog exists in the form it is today. 

I am writing a few words about dreaming today, about the failure of dreams. I pray you enjoy and are somehow encouraged by some part of the sentiments I share - whether you are in the Kite Project or not. We all dream. We've all experienced failure and loss. May these words comfort, encourage and give you hope. 


__________

You've tucked it away in your heart. It's been there for as long as you can remember. That dream. The seeds were planted years ago, in childhood. You never told anyone about the dream. Until one day when your heart filled with fearlessness and you took a big leap, jumping into the pursuit of your big, crazy dream. 

And oh how hard you worked. Hours of free time, spent on the pursuit. Your extra resources put toward the dream. Your energy invest in the chasing. And most costly, your heart... so intricately tied to and involved in the dream, the passion for seeing the dream come true fills you. You fight for the dream. Years pass, and you keep climbing the mountain of the dream. Obstacles got in the way, you overcame. Disappointments threatened the dream, you persevered. The dream, it's in sight. It's so close you can almost taste it. 

But one day, the dream is dashed. Hope is deflated. Circumstances clash. Life collides with the dream. You fall. You make a mis-step. A mistake is made. Your foot is caught, and you fall. And the dream, oh the precious dream - the one you've sacrificed for, fought for, 
...slips ever so slowly through your fingers, and it is gone. It is broken. It's out of reach.
And you are left, reeling. You try to pick up the pieces, but somehow, the original dream, the way you pictured it, the ideal image - it is lost forever. And your heart goes down, down, down. Aching, you weep for the loss of the dream that was so close...yet so far. You grieve for the dream like a widow who lost her Sailor at sea, like a woman who lost the love of her life to death. The dream has failed, the hope has died. Confused and mourning, you stand in the messiness of it's aftermath and look at the pieces of your once-blooming dream. Now broken and lying on the floor. Loss. Failure. Heartache. Pain.

I remember how different the trees looked that hot July day. Charred, black. Plants stripped of life. Blackened soil. Smoldering leaves. The fire came within ten feet of my family's home, ripping through and charring the trees and hills. Thankfully, the house was spared. But the land all around... it looked like the backside of the moon. Black and leveled. I was 17 and my family's home was just barely spared in a forest fire. I remember how sad we felt. Thankful the house was okay, but devastated over the loss of our beautiful land...all the trees, all the grass and wildlife. And then, I remember how Dad smiled as our family stood together, looking over the smoky blackness. And he said, "Don't worry. This is a natural process. Wildfires are part of the eco-system of the forest. Some of the plants and trees cannot release their seeds unless the plant is burned. Soon, new life will grow. It will be green again."

Beauty for ashes.

Today, years later, Dad was right. The once-burned plants and trees bloomed again. Seeds took root and grew afresh. It will never be the same. Still charred tree trunks betray the green blooms - the scars are still there. We still remember the fire. But in time, the ashes washed away in the rain, Spring came again, and new growth happened. The land is beautiful as ever now, and more beautiful to me... because I know what it fought through. The struggle is part of the story, the fire did not win. It's now more beautiful than before because there is a story.

Friend, when dreams fail, bravely pick up the pieces and give them to God - He can take the broken and make it into something beautiful. 




"...our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness  a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor."
-Isaiah 61:1-3 

______

For The Kite Project  ladies: the linky tool isn't working
 for me tonight so leave your blog link in the comments below.)
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sweet friends. Thank you ever so much for your prayers and emails this week, means the world. I'm feeling much healthier, and thankful for the time to rest last week and seek Him. It was good. It was also scary at certain moments, because fear of the unknown and looming health issues are frightening. But thankfully, He is healer and I am okay! Thankful for you all and your friendship. I owe so many of you emails, thank you for understanding - I am getting to them, I promise. Precious people here in this community!

So, love. It's on our minds a little bit more this week, I think. Maybe you're not into Valentine's Day - to you it's simply another holiday aimed at marketing and moneymaking and your loved one is your "Valentine" all 365 days of your years. Or maybe you're the one who runs out to Target the moment those candy conversation hearts hit those red shelves, and by February 1st, you've whipped out the hot glue gun and made the cutest pink and red garland to hang in your window, your nails are painted pink with hearts drawn on, and tomorrow your special batch of sugar cookies that are set to be decorated...in pink and red... will be popped into your oven at three-hundred-and-fifty degrees with lots of love and anticipation. 
Whatever camp you're in - the Susie Valentine's Day who plans on wearing a red dress to match the red roses your man will most certainly shower upon you Thursday night along with a big box full of chocolate and a romantic dinner, or if your plans more likely involve a good romantic chick flick, the remote control, a big fluffy white blanket, your Bible and journal, and a large bar of chocolate with almonds that you bought for yourself  (mine will look like the latter, if you wanna know. An aside - just a lil' shout to mah single ladies, y'all are not alone! Keep on waiting for Mr. Right and don't settle for 2nd best! Insert fist-pump, handshake or hug - whatever works for you ;)  Wherever you are on the Valentine's Day "spectrum", love is a part of your life. And I don't mean just romantic love. That comes, sometimes. And sometimes it goes. Romantic love can make us fly on wings of happiness, but it can also let us down - even the most beautiful, God-written love stories cannot fully and completely satisfy our hearts. Not the way the Lord can. Seek that love, my friend - the love of God that will never fade, let you down, run out or run dry. Run after it, desperately. Chase it. Because He loves you and He's waiting to breathe His love upon your life.
On my list of life dreams and goals, is this: "I want to love well." To love God and my people. And the people who aren't "my people." The people I don't even know, or like. My enemies, the haters. The ones who don't like me or don't agree with me. I want to love them. I cannot do it on my own, I fail often. But in Him - the Creator of love, I can. 

Earlier tonight, I read one of my favorite chapters ever. In the Message version, it says this - 

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, 
I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries 
and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. 
So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, 
I’m bankrupt without love.
- 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Bankrupt without love. I have nothing without love. 

But I fail at loving, so often.

For, love..... 

Love is patient and kind.
Love does not envy or boast.
It is not arrogant or rude. 
It does not insist on its own way;
It is not irritable or resentful;
It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

Oh, but I am impatient...I hate waiting. And sometimes, I am unkind. How easily am I jealous of something someone else has? That pang rises in my heart and it won't go away when I push it down. Go away. But it doesn't. I boast sometimes...I want to make myself look better in the eyes of others - I want to look richer and cooler and more popular because I somehow, sometimes feel poor and silly and alone. Why do I do that. I am arrogant in my heart, and rude sometimes. And if I were to be completely honest, I often want my own way - I want what I want in my time and nobody's gonna stop me. And oh how irritable I can be. Usually it's with the people I love the most. And the resentment that resides in my heart. I deny it's residence, I really do. But it's there and it tastes like bitterness. Bitterness toward those who have hurt me, let me down, left me. The dreams that have died. The hurt that's been done. And sometimes, I rejoice when wrong is done instead of being happy about truth ... oh, not purposefully, but our hearts betray our will, don't they? They do. Sometimes, I don't bear all things - I just wanna "throw in the towel" and walk away. I don't believe with the passion I want to, when doubts knock on the door of my mind and I let them in... and then I let them live in my heart. I throw faith out the window and welcome fear in with open arms. I don't hope, I doubt - I think of the negative. And I don't endure, I give up and give out. And I am short and frail and feeble and weak.... and oh how I need Him. And unless I stand alone in this, oh how you need Him too. Oh how we need love. Real love. Love that is alive and strong as a hurricane.
Oh God, help me to love. Help me to receive Your great, crazy big love and help me to spread it to those I love - like so many rain drops on their heads. Love from them to you, through me. Love that is pure... beautiful... and not of me, because I am a failure without you. Without love, nothing I do means a thing. 

Dear One, go out and love, love, love. Because love wins, you know. 


Outfit Stats ///
Top: Hollister 
Shirt under: Charlotte Russe 
Pants: Love Culture 
Boots: J.Crew (thanks Mom for letting me borrow 'em! ;)
Necklace: Handmade by my dear friend Kerri (HAPPY BIRTHDAY today, sweet girl!!)
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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Either I've lost it or watched way too many episodes of "Gilmore Girls" this week while sick on my couch. If you're scratching your head at this post's title thinking I'm totally crazy, then you may be missing out."Oy with the Poodles Already" - one of the best catchphrases ever. If you know what I'm talking about, we are so on the same page. If not, well you're missing out - so watch this //

It may not make much sense, but hey, that's what a sick-week looks like. It also looks like this: way too much time spent on Pinterest. Not that I'm complaining. (My favorite "Hey Girl" of all time - really made me laugh)

Sharing a few inspirations and snapshots from my life (shared on Instagram) this past week - 


My sweet friend Ashley & her cute little one were in town, loved spending time with them! 

Enjoy the little things this weekend.
You are loved! 
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Friday, February 8, 2013

Hi friends! Still here lying on the couch, trying to rest and feeling under the weather. I'm thankful for the time to rest, and time to spend working on a special blog project that is comin' your way on Valentine's Day (cannot wait to share it with you.) Suffice it to say, I've had time this week to watch quite a bit of daytime TV. You know, Gilmore Girls, Property Brothers, lots of the Barefoot Contessa. And sadly, I've been confronted more than once by the newest Carl's Jr. commercial. You may have seen it too - it was part of the Super Bowl reel and has continued on most channels - here in Los Angeles at least. Maybe you haven't encountered it, as I know Carl's Jr. isn't in every state... and some parts of the country won't air it (thankfully.) It is 30 seconds of extremely offensive, sexual explicit content, is very demeaning to women and totally inappropriate for children. Many of the commercials aired on the Super Bowl had similar content, not to mention the racy Half-Time Show (if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram you know how saddened I was by it.) 

So, it's been on my heart all week. And it's nothing new. This time last year, when I first began this blog, I wrote a post about a similar commercial Carl's Jr. aired in 2012. I shared my thoughts and heart honestly, and asked my readers to join me in signing a petition at the time that asked for the commercial to be pulled. To my knowledge, there is no petition to remove the the current Carl's Jr. ad or any other similar ads airing lately. And a few of the details in the post are now different - but the heart and message is the same. Commercials like this are unacceptable and so damaging to our society, and I feel passionate to speak out on this topic.

This post is an old one but a good one. Many of you may be newer readers, so I'd like to share it with you. For those who have been here since last year, may it be a reminder and encouragement to you afresh - that we are not alone in our convictions and that we cannot let the evil penetrating our society to win! Heads up - go make a pot of tea or pour a cup of coffee, this is a longer one :)

Love is Not a Hamburger

"I got a fevahh..."

I hear it playing in the next room. When I walk into the living room and look at the TV, I wonder to myself, "Um, what channel did I accidentally stumble upon?" Oh, just channel 9 local news? (Okaaaaaay. And don't think this is midnight television. It's before 9am.) You've seen it, the cutesy vintage-style commercial featuring a pretty girl wearing a stylish outfit, sitting in an old-fashioned convertible at a drive-in movie. It's the latest racy Carl's Jr./Hardee's hamburger ad. And as the seconds roll on and most of the model's clothes come off, my jaw is on the floor.

"Was that intended to make me hungry?" I wonder to myself as the commercial fades and the news begins to air. Because, honestly - it didn't make me want to eat a hamburger at all. In fact, it kinda made me want to gag.
In a way, this is nothing new. It's not a news flash to anyone that the media is becoming progressively more sexualized, Carl's Jr. is now known for it's racy commercials, and we all see that the adage "sex sells" is, sadly, true. Yet, my heart broke when I saw this commercial and I began thinking about it. People can view whatever they want to and that is not my concern, yet this commercial (even though it was banned from the Superbowl due to being too racy) is being aired on national television, on family-oriented channels - thrust into the faces of little children and adults (like myself) who don't want to see pornographic images on their family television when they're simply watching the nightly news. The airing of this commercial is crossing a line, and I believe it needs to be talked about. And while anyone who knows me will tell you I'm the ultimate peacemaker who steers clear of confrontation, they will also tell you that my convictions are strong and I am a deep thinker. One of my biggest passions is sexual purity, and so I want to share with you, my sweet and precious readers, some thoughts on my heart regarding this subject, this commercial, and most of all - the value of women, sex, and purity which are being treated like trash in our media.
My heart in sharing this is not to tear anyone down, bash people, or sound "holier than thou", but I must admit - as a woman and a Christian - I am insulted and shocked by this commercial because not only is it offensive and degrading to women, but it's inappropriate for children, and devalues something very sacred: sex.

And I'm not alone.

Addiction counselor and expert Steve Arteburn is calling for the ad to be pulled from the air (article here) And Women's Rights advocates began a petition to stop the airing of the ad, calling it "...distasteful and inappropriate for the viewing of children" and stating that the ad's "explicit nature...is just one example of their inappropriate use of sex to sell their product with complete disregard for a large portion of their viewers, children." Find the petition here and please take a few moments to add your name.

They're just trying to make money, right? I get it - it's a rough economy. But hey, do us a favor, Carl's Jr. - and quit using sex to sell fast food. My heart aches over the impact this commercial is currently having. It goes deeper than 60 seconds of images the ad promotes. When you actually think of it and say it straight out, it is pathetic and very sad. Disrespecting women. Cheapening the value of precious things. Sending a message of: it's all about my fun, my pleasure, self-centered gratification - throwing the value of true love and meaningful relationships out the window. Treating a piece of meat between two stale buns like a man you go on a date with to a drive-in movie. Turning women against women, as one quick scene in the ad shows a woman turning her boyfriend's eyes away from the model's little "show".
This ad made me think. About more than a 60-second commercial that will someday be off the air. It made me think about the influence media has on our minds. Caused me to wonder what the future of our culture looks like for our children, our grandchildren. Made me question my own heart and my values - reminding me of precious truths I hold dear, ones I don't want to ever be careless with or fail to protect.

The truth is, we must be on our guard. And the reason I'm sharing this with you is because I want to remind you and me of truths my mom and dad taught me as I was growing up: that purity is a gem. A woman is not a piece of meat. Sex is precious. And that we must fight to guard what comes into our homes, our family's eyes, and our own minds.

I'm reminding myself that the things we listen to, read, see and watch ...one ad here, a billboard there, a radio single, a racy commercial we're "ok" with - they all slowly erode and shift the way we think... like a hillside in the rainy season. And if we are not careful, vigilant... the "hillside" of our heart and mind will oh so helplessly come crumbling down.


"I'm doing the very best I can, and I'm doing it at home, where it counts.
I refuse to take a second look at corrupting people and degrading things."
-Psalm 101:2-3
The Message

So, please, do not be careless with your mind. Don't let your soul be influenced by someone else's agenda. Be on your guard, aware, alert. Don't fall into monotony. Don't be shifted like a house built on sand. Don't let a tolerance be built up in your heart, unawares, that cannot discern what is good and what is evil. Your heart is precious. Your mind is like a canvas, who are you letting paint it? Are we filling our minds with God's word and truth or sleazy commercials, billboards, radio singles?
Please, my friends - don't let Satan rip you off. Don't let him steal, kill, and destroy in the lives of your loved ones, your children.

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.
But I (Jesus) came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly."
-John 10:10
{emphasis mine}

I think about the impact that media like this has on precious ones we love. Our future. Moms, you're with me on this right? Just think of your little, impressionable children. The men you love who are fighting to stay faithful to their wives. The women looking for value. Ads like this one are not to be taken lightly. They're not cute, fun, or harmless. They are damaging to our minds, our families, our children. This ad (and many other forms of media in our culture) are dangerously teetering on the edge of full-on pornography. Let's not play with fire.
You just don't mess around with airing ads like this when current statistics state:

-The largest consumer of Internet pornography is the 12-17 age group.
-The average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
- 70% of 18 to 24 year old men visit pornographic sites every month. 66% of men in their 20's & 30's report being regular users of pornography.
-1 out of every 6 women grapples with addiction to pornography.
-For every 10 men in church, 5 are struggling with pornography.
-30% of adults surveyed said their partner's use of pornography made them feel like a sexual object.
-51% of adults surveyed believe that pornography raises men's expectation of how women should look and changes men's expectations of how women should behave.

I gathered all statistics via http://www.purehope.net/stat.asp
Tonight, my heart is breaking. And I pray you take a few minutes along with me to think about the value of purity, the slippery slope our culture is taking us on through media, and the things you can do in your own life to change your world.

My heart is breaking for...

the woman... comparing herself to a model's painted-on, airbrushed "beauty", her value diminished as every second rolls on, every time the commercial airs. Effecting the way she acts, thinks, eats, relates with men. The way she is treated. Her worth, her intrinsic God-given beauty, her inner soul - cheapened, compared with a nasty $3 burger in a stinky paper bag. The young wife, cringing every time she must endure those awful 60 seconds it's on, as she sits with the love her life just watching the evening news, secretly longing for her new husband's eyes to be saved just for her alone. Images of lust threaten precious vows, a sacred covenant, luring her husband's loving eyes, threatening to rock the foundation of a new marriage. Unnecessary insecurity surfaces in her heart, shakes her.

the man... he's desperately fighting for purity in his mind... failing, falling short with every screen shot. It shapes how he views the women he dates, the girls he interacts with at church, the ladies he works with, the female classmates he studies with in the college library. It reminds him of past failures, images he saw in teenagehood, triggering thoughts of things he forgave himself for long ago, luring him back to what he's fought hard to overcome. A hurdle thrown in his already rocky path, tripping him up on the road to becoming a man of integrity, strength and honor. The young husband...committed to be faithful to his precious new love, his new family. Desiring to be a man of purity, to be faithful in his actions, heart and mind. Yet, as he sits watching a typical news program, he's confronted with images. Distracting his focus, damaging the resolve in his heart. Another hit on the battlefield of his mind as he strives to love a real life woman with feelings and emotions, while messages in the commercial scream "women are things to play with" rather than cherished treasures to guard and love. (Remember strong men - what Job in the Bible told the Lord- "I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes." -Job 31:1)

the little girl...impressionable and sweet - learning what womanhood looks like, understanding the definition of beauty, worth, value. Learning how to act, how to dress, how to relate to men in this world. Her wide eyes taking in every shot as the commercial rolls on, gazing at images that won't soon be forgotten. She's like a little sponge, the beauty and sacredness of true womanhood demeaned in her eyes.

the little boy...innocent and curious, learning how to view the women in his future. Images cast into his little mind that shape his thinking forever, somewhere down the road effecting how he treats females...his future wife, his daughters, his co-workers. Shaping his mind, causing far-reaching consequences. Planting seeds of addiction, watered well by a sex-saturated culture and media. Addiction that could torture his entire adult life.

and for the model in the ad... I know you're like 19 and don't really get it yet - being famous and rich is fun right now I'm sure, but pleeease I beg of you - have respect for yourself and the rest of us women. Not only is making out with food just plain gross but you're making every woman in the world feel like they have no value. And hun, that's just not worth it. Trust me. You're a pretty girl and so am I - please stop making us look and feel like pieces of meat. I don't know about you, but I choose respect from men over money and fame - and you'll see when you grow up a little how meaningless the attention you're getting is. My heart breaks for you, girl.

My dear friends,

pray.
sign the petition.
think about your heart and mind...don't let filth in.
talk about it with your hubby, your kids, your friends.
and don't be a pushover - take a stand.
it's our world, our life:
your future daughter's worth, the media your son will grow up to face.

and it is so very important....so very sacred.

And ya know what?
it deserves to be fought for.

Can I just remind you?
Intimacy will not be discovered on a TV screen or true relationship in a drive-thru.
Sex is not to be equated with cheap fast food.

And love is not a hamburger.

***

Praying for you and me -
may our minds be kept pure, may our hearts value true sacredness, may we protect our eyes, and may we discern truth and lies in this ever darkening world.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to Your word."
-Psalm 119:37

I dedicate this post to the good guys and good girls who are fighting for purity
(sometimes failing and falling)
but always getting back up, and looking to God for strength, second chances, and sweet grace.

Together - we are can change the world.
I know it.

Stay strong.


XO

{love & prayers for every one who reads this}

Erin.

PS - A few Scriptures to encourage you in purity:

"For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished.
It is a devastating fire that destroys to hell. It would wipe out everything I own."
-Job 31:11-12

"So, then, each of us will give an account of himself to God."
-Romans 14:12

"Do not lust in your heart after her beauty of let her captivate you with her eyes,
for the prostitute reduces you to a load of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?"
-Proverbs 6:25-27

"I will set my eyes before no vile thing."
-Psalm 101:3

"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."
-Romans 13:14

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gauge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right eye causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
-Matthew 5:27-30

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming."
-Colossians 3:5-6

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."
-Ephesians 5:3

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
-Hebrews 13:4
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