Saturday, September 29, 2012

wonderful words / 4

I am beginning now to see how radically the character of my spiritual journey will change when I no longer think of God as hiding out and making it as difficult as possible to for me to find him, but, instead, as the one who is looking for me while I am doing the hiding. When I look through God’s eyes at my lost self and discover God’s joy at my coming home, then my life may become less anguished and more trusting.

Wouldn’t it be good to increase God’s joy by letting God find me and carry me home and celebrate my return with the angels? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make God smile by giving God the chance to find me and love me lavishly? Questions like these raise a real issue: that of my own self-concept.

Can I accept that I am worth looking for? Do I believe that there is a real desire in God to simply be with me?    -Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Friday, September 28, 2012

Link Love / 3

Happy Friday, girls! We had an amazing week, filled with so much celebration and healing. Our Wonderfully Made conference in Oahu was an incredible success, and we are excited to continue to share our stories from the day. If you were in attendance and have a story to share, we would love to hear it! Email us!

Here is a bit of a round up of links we found on the internets this week that we thought would be an inspiration to your day! Enjoy!

1. What a gorgeous print! And such a great message.
2. Cats are crazy. Especially animated ones. However, this video is surprisingly accurate.
3. Learning to love exercise. A great post from one of our contributors, Natalie Borton.
4. How to blow dry bangs!
5. These ocean sounds are so relaxing. They put me right to sleep!

 [Image Source]

Thursday, September 27, 2012

WM Spotlight: Jess Shain + Tarin Holcomb

by Rachel Johnson

Jess Shain and Tarin Holcomb have been friends for years – they went to middle school together, progressed to high school together, and even attended the same university together. They finally parted ways when they moved to different areas of the country to pursue their careers (Jess ended up in San Francisco as she developed various business concepts, and Tarin moved to Dallas to be a lawyer) but they never stopped sharing the bonds they developed when they were younger. They also never stopped sharing their passions for food, exercise, and healthy lifestyles. Just a few months ago, while on a trip together in California, Jess and Tarin put their heads together and developed a fantastic gourmet dining service called Fullosophie, a venture that combines all of the things they love. Read on to learn more about Jess and Tarin’s business as well as their partnership. 

Q: Thank you for participating in our Spotlight Series, Jess and Tarin! We love the concept behind Fullosophie. Fill our readers in about your unique “farm to fork gourmet dining service.”

Each week, Fullosophie takes the top seasonal recipes from gourmet books, chefs, blogs, etc. to create weekday meals, snacks, and desserts. So skip the grocery store and enjoy each day (and each meal) to the fullest!

Our food is: Real. Not-processed. Fast. Fresh. Customizable. High quality. Kid-friendly. Gluten-free. Carnivore-friendly. Pescatarian-friendly. Vegetarian-friendly. Wholesome. Gourmet. Philanthropic. Clean. Satisfying. Simply delicious.

Q: How was Fullosophie born?

We created Fullosophie while on a trip to Pebble Beach, California. At the time, Jess was a business owner and Tarin was a lawyer, but we were both food and wine enthusiasts with passions for exercise (especially running) and healthy living. We identified a need to provide others with real, gourmet food that can be on the table in no time at all.

Q: Jess, what is your background, and how did you become interested in the food and service industry?

It’s kind of funny, actually – I have no idea how I got into this industry! Maybe it was fate, luck, or timing. My background is 100% corporate business – I was an economics major and an investment bank intern. After college, I was a consultant for large medical device company, and I followed that up by getting a Masters degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship.

What I have always known is that I wanted to start a business that combined philanthropy and my traveling experiences. I felt like there needed to be one additional component that would tie those two pieces together. Little did I know it would be food. I entered one of my business ideas (M.A.D. Foods) as a contestant in one of the largest street food festivals in the world in 2011 – and I won! I quit my day job, and I have been running a company in the food industry ever since!

Q: Tarin, you decided to quit your job as a lawyer in order to launch Fullosophie with Jess. How did you reach that decision?

Lawyering was a fine job, but it was not something I was passionate about.  When Jess and I talked about creating Fullosophie, I grew so excited that it really became a no-brainer.

Q: What is the best thing about developing and running a business together?

Having grown up together, we know and trust that we can rely on each other, which is so important when forming a business.  Not only that, but we get to go to work with a friend every day!

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being partners in crime at Fullosophie?

We know each other so well – let’s just say that is a blessing and a curse.

Q: We love that the menu changes just as each season does – this ensures that customers are eating dishes prepared with the richest, ripest ingredients. Bearing that in mind, if you had to pick, what are your favorite items on your menu this season?

The menu actually changes every week! Our favorite ingredients of this season are watermelon, peaches, and heirloom tomatoes (and thank goodness that avocados and gummy bears never go out of season). Some of our favorite items on the menu from past weeks have been the smoked salmon spinach salad with artichokes, goat cheese, and seeds; the jumbo shrimp and summer corn sauté with whipped potatoes; the shredded pork and poblano tamales; and the Greek chicken tzatziki pita. Shoot, can we list the entire menu?

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? (When you’re not delivering meals and developing menu concepts and partnering with other local businesses, that is…)

Well, this morning we both ran and took a barre burn class – that was fun. We also love being outside (as far from air conditioning as possible), finding and drinking artisan coffee, reading foodie magazines, and enjoying the company of the people we love.

Q: What advice do you have for ambitious young women like yourselves who are interesting in launching their own businesses?

Do what you love and love what you do. Be 100% committed and willing to take all necessary steps to make your dreams a reality – it’s not going to be easy.

Q: You just hosted Fullosophie’s grand opening in Dallas. Where can we expect to see this concept next, and how can interested foodies stay connected with you in the meantime?

Our next event in Dallas will be at the end of the month! On the last Thursday of each month, we host a “best of” drink & donate dinner featuring our favorite entrée from the month, and the proceeds of the evening benefit a local charity. Sign up to attend our next event here. You can also keep up with us by reading our blog, getting our updates on Facebook, and following us on Twitter and Instagram (@fullosophie). Don’t hesitate to e-mail us, too!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Help Us Raise $700 by Saturday!

by Allie Marie Smith

Hey Lovelies!!!

We need your help!

We are about 1/3 of the way from receiving a $1,000 matching grant from Giving of Life. In order to take full advantage fo this opportunity we only have another $700 to raise in order get a full $1k matching grant.

Every dollar you give online up to ($200 max) will be doubled up to $1,000. 

Would you consider making a donation of any amount up to $200? Every dollar you give will be matched! Even $5, $10, $25 or $50 will go a long way!!! 

This grant will help cover the final costs of our Wonderfully Made Young Women's Conference, which we hosted this past Saturday for 450 girls! You can learn specifically how the grant works here.

We would be so grateful for your support! 

"Because He Cares For You..."

by Kristina Fertala

Lately, I have been seeing the fruit that comes with inviting God to walk with me throughout my day. It is easy to think that God only wants to deal with the heavy stuff in my life, that He only wants to fix my big, dark secrets, and doesn't want to be bothered by the little things. But He does!

He delights when His daughters come to Him in simple conversation, asking Him to walk closely with them through their days. He wants to tenderly speak to us with love, with encouragement, and with wisdom. He wants to help us move forward with confidence. The situations that are so easy to share with our girlfriends should be the easiest for us to bring to Him. And when we choose not to share these small details with Him, we are pulling farther away from the promise of a peace that surpasses all understanding. 

All we have to do is talk to him. It is as simple as writing it down, or saying a few words out loud. By doing so, we are giving all of our burdens, big and small, to Him. And it is so incredibly worth it.

So, I challenge you this week: Sit down and talk with Him. Talk to God while you are driving in your car, while you are walking to class, or even when you are in class! Ask Him both the simple and the hard questions, and allow Him to be apart of your sitting down and your going out because, in the end, there is nothing too big or too small for our God.

[Image Source]

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How about a few of my favorite blogs?

by Anne Taylor

Every morning, I roll out of bed, make myself a little breakfast, and sit down in front of my blog reader to see what the lovely blog world has in store for me that day. I scroll through, popping over to leave comments now and again and saving the gems for my weekend reads. It is a great way to start my day. Since I am a creative professional, I need to be an active participant in the blog world to make sure that I stay up to date and informed. But that is easily just an excuse because, seriously, it's just plain fun. Blogs can be a great way to connect with others, meet new friends, find inspiration for crafts or parties, and be challenged to try new things. 

The world of blogging grows more and more everyday, and it is really impossible to stay completely up to date on all of the best new finds. Still, I thought I'd share my current favorite blogs, created by seriously fabulous and totally inspiring lady bloggers, with all of you (and maybe you will share some of your favorites with me!)

Let's get started!

If you have not yet met Joy Wilson, a.k.a Joy the Baker, it is seriously an honor to introduce you to her. She's a self-taught baker who lives in Los Angeles, and her wit and love for others is the icing on the cake she will bake for you (or maybe for her cat). Earlier this year, she released her first cookbook and every page is straight up delish. Annnd she has a podcast with her friend Tracy of, called The Joy the Baker Podcast, which has on numerous occasions caused me to burst into fits of laughter in public places and then strangers look at me oddly. It's totally worth it though. This girl is a business lady, lover of the human soul, and a maker of sweet treats. Trust me, she'll be your bff in a week, tops.

2. Design Love Fest

For all you graphic design lovers, Design Love Fest is for you. Bri Emery is the talent behind this incredible blog, and she is a true powerhouse in her field. When it comes to blogging, it is very easy to see regurgitated content over and over as the community grows. This is never the case for Design Love Fest. Bri is always posting fabulous original content, including awesome style columns and short films (with her videographer boyfriend!). Last year, she launched an educational side to her business to help others develop their photoshop skills for blogging. Blogshop is now a worldwide phenomenon, with classes being held in Australia, Europe, and all over the United States. I often look to Design Love Fest for graphic design inspiration, and ideas on how to add some more color to my wardrobe. Bri is the queen of color!

Jen Loves Kev is one of my favorite lifestyle blogs. Weekly, Jen shares craft DIY's, style posts, and personal updates about her family and friends. As a twenty-something, Jen has this vivacity for life and adventurous spirit that is just contagious. Whenever I read her posts, I am left with either a smile on my face or tears in my eyes, or some combination of the two. Her writing connotes emotion, but in a simple way; it's a lot like how you might feel after you leave a great coffee date with your best friend, or after getting off the phone with your sister. Jen brings real life back to blogging (especially when a lot of blogs can be about materialism, making us feel jealous and "out of our league") and reminds us that we have the power to control who we connect with and why. It's a must read.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wonderfully Made Conference {Oahu, Hawaii}

by Allie Marie Smith

The photo booth by "What A Day Photography"
Backstage: Me, Kayla, Meghan (our worship leader) and our Emcee Jalee Palompo (Miss Hawaii 2010)
Rooting Kayla on from the Sound booth. She had the girls captivated!
Sharing my testimony and message.

Aloha beautiful! 

I am writing to you from the North Shore (the surf is going bonkers!) of Oahu. My heart is full as I'm reflecting on this past Saturday - our Wonderfully Made Conference for the girls of Oahu. Dozens of volunteers, prayer warriors and phenomenal women came together with one mission: to give 450 girls the chance to discover, strengthen or reclaim their true value and worth through a life-transforming relationship with the God who created them. 

I wanted to share a few of the Instagram pics I have from the day. Our dear friend Corinne Gold of What A Day Photography captured the photos of the day and we also had it professionally filmed, so we'll be sharing more with you soon!

Special thank you to our friends from Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor, The Mission North Shore, North Shore Christian Fellowship, HE>I and What A Day Photography. God absolutely exceeded our biggest dreams and hopes for this outreach in every way imaginable. The most touching part has been hearing some of the stories pouring in from the girls who attended. 

"I was going to run away from home today, but God told me not to."

"Thank you so much for coming, it really was awesome and it helped me so much. I've been through so much and just hearing the different stories and knowing that i wasnt the only girl out there going through the things i did and am still going through made me so much stronger. Knowing that God will always love me no matter what. That he will NEVER leave me No matter what. God has ALWAYS loved me, for me. He has always been here. Thank you so much."

"I attended the Wonderfully Made Young Women's Conference {Oahu, Hawaii} on Saturday and let me tell you! I wish I had gone to something like that when I was a teen. God's been tugging at my heart and I really needed that. The guest speakers had amazing testimonies of how they came to know the Lord. From Miss Hawaii 2010 to Dawn O'Brien. I heard almost all say that they had been broken, but God fixed them. I understand that doesn't mean we're perfect. We are human and have very real feelings so it's human nature to act on them. But, I'm learning to put all my trust in God because I can't live this life on my own." 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Link Love / 2

by Anne Taylor

It's fall tomorrow! I'm so excited to make apple crisp, go see the Colorado aspen leaves changing color in the mountains (like the above photo from last year!), and to pull down my cozy sweaters from the closet where they've been hibernating. What's the weather like where you are at?

Here's a little link love for your weekend! Enjoy!

1. Our Wonderfully Made Oahu Conference starts tomorrow!
2. Lisa Eldridge and her fantastic makeup tutorial videos.
3. Cultivating A Circle of Friends That Are Like Family
4. Here are 50 things every creative person should know.
5. This made me have a heart attack, but it is so completely incredible!
6. Perfect for new bloggers, the soon to launch Creative Market is creating an Etsy-like shop for photoshop brushes, fonts, photo layouts, and more! And to celebrate their upcoming opening, they're offering a ton of freebies for early adopters.
7. Do you like cats? How about french speaking cats? How about french SINGING cats??
8. Gotta give love to the home state!
9. Do you girls follow Wonderfully Made on Pinterest?
10. Jesus Isn't Hiring

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Instagram Song

Have you girls seen this hilarious Instagram parody video around the interwebs? We are laughing so hard right now watching it. It's pretty ridiculous, but it should bring you a laugh or two!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why Am I Here?

by Ashley Perez

I don't read the Old Testament often enough, and I don't know why. Perhaps in my mind it is too antiquated, too far removed from my daily life to be relatable. After all I don't often find myself wandering the deserts of Egypt, bathing on rooftops being spied on by kings, or being called by God in the middle of the night. And yet at its essence the Old Testament is like every other story recounted in the Bible, a tale of faith and sacrifice and a testament to God's goodness. It shouldn't be looked over, because even though we don't often spend our days in front of judges, our free time talking to burning bushes, or seeing God's people into the promised land, at the end of the day we are the same as any other man and woman who came before us, simple looking to be shown the purpose for our lives and something to believe in. 

Lately I've found myself immersed in the story of Joseph. I say immersed because it is one of the few stories of the Old Testament retold in such vivid detail, spanning many generations, peoples, and chapters. If you didn't know Joseph's story is one of jealousy, suffering, intrigue, and ultimately redemption (find it in Genesis 37-50). He is one of twelve brothers, the most loved by his Father, Jacob. Because of this his brothers sell him into slavery, where he is taken to Egypt. By God's providence Joseph is eventually given reign over all of Egypt as Pharaoh's second hand man, sparing Egypt from seven years of absolute famine. Great story, right? But chances are this doesn't really sound like your daily life. And yet, there are so many lessons to be learned from Joseph's story, the most pertinent of which is "why are you here"? 

As modern women it is so easy to get caught up in the rat race of life that we often forget to ask ourselves the simple question, "why are we here?" We know where we want to go, what we want to accomplish in our careers, and the type of families we want to raise, but we don't seem to make time to ask God, why do you have me here? Wherever here may be for you. What I love about Joseph is that despite everything he went through-- betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, and wrongfully imprisoned for many years, he is able to look back on his life and say that God had a reason for it all. 

When Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers this is what he says, "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you... So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God" (Genesis 45:5-8) 

Despite it all-- the hardship, the suffering, and years of waiting Joseph continued to turn to God, who continued to bless him and all those around him. He didn't know just then exactly what God was doing in his life, but he trusted that there was purpose behind his being there. So much like Joseph if you find that you feel lost, or if you're not quite sure what your purpose is, why not ask God, why am I here? Because I bet you the answer will be "I've been waiting for you to ask". 

How can we change our lives to better hear God’s purpose for us?

[Image Source]

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Truth on a Random Tuesday

by Stephanie May

I want my life to be about telling the truth.

At the end of my life, I want to look back and know that I’ve lived a good story. Actually… at the end of this week I want to look back and know that I’ve lived a good story.

It’s important. Our everydays are important. The decisions we make on a random Tuesday are the decisions that make up a life, that make up a story, that set an example for others to follow, and that teach us that God is faithful.

It must have been a random Tuesday when I made the decision that would change me completely.

It seems that there are always two choices: one that ‘makes sense’ and one that doesn’t.

For me, that Tuesday, it was a choice between working for a second year in College Ministry, something that I loved with absolutely all of my heart OR spending 11 months on a mission trip traveling around the world.

To be perfectly honest, the decision I wanted to make was to choose to stay. I had every reason to stay… every reason.

Yet there was something in me that knew that I had to jump for more.

It felt like that moment at camp where you have to jump off of the highest platform, trying to grab a bar that seems impossibly far away- yet you just have to try.

But this was a scarier leap of faith. This decision would change everything.

I knew that I could continue on the road I was walking down with ease and comfort. I knew that if I continued the way that I was going, that at the end of my life people would smile and think of what a good person I was.

And honestly, most days that sounded like enough. Most days, there were often moments of comfort and security, and something that ‘made sense’ sounded pretty good most days.

And then, there were those moments.

Those moments when the sun would set and the sky would light up in an electric display of colors that can only be described as ‘brilliant.’ Those moments on a church mission trip where you get to kiss a little African cheek, or when a teeny Costa Rican girl reaches up to hold your hand. Those moments where your heart beats faster and where you feel like you’re a part of something real and eternal and beautiful beyond description.

As much as I wanted to live a life that was safe and made sense and made my parents’ friends smile with approval, I knew that God had more.

Hebrews 11 has always been one of my favorites.

It’s kind of a terrifying chapter, full of stories of people getting sawed in two and tossed into lions dens, stories of persecution and living in caves. But there’s also something wildly exciting about it as well.

Those people lived lives that mattered. They lived radically and recklessly, knowing that they had everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose.

They jumped, time and time again off the highest platforms, risking their safety, their security and their very lives for something bigger than themselves- and it rarely ‘made sense.’

And so when given the option between something that was comfortable, and something that was wild and reckless and free, there just was no contest.

I had to go.

And so I did.

I left my family, my friends, my job, any hope of a career, my house, my security, my safety and my ability to avoid rare and contagious diseases, and jumped off of the platform. The biggest leap of faith I’ve ever taken.

And I’d be lying to you if I told you it was easy. It was a decision full of tears, doubts and the greatest fear I’ve ever experienced.

But what happened over the last 11 months, traveling to 11 countries around the world, was nothing short of perfection.

The stories from this year are crazy and wild and scary and fantastic. They’re full of stunning transformation and miracles and being so close to a pride of lions that I was too scared to even take a breath.

And each and every story is full of wonder and God’s miraculous love- each story is worth a coffee date of its own.

But the story that’s most worth telling is this:

I jumped and He caught me.

And what I gained in that jump was worth everything.

When I stepped off the plane in the end I was a different person.

I walked tall and confident, knowing exactly who I am and what I’m worth. I walked off the plane light and free and healed and toting nothing but the passions, dreams and love that God had spent an entire year (and a lifetime) molding inside of me.

I walked off the plane and into relationships that were not just the same as when I left, but radically and wonderfully better.

I walked off of that plane as the woman that God intended me to be.

The truth is that God is a much better storyteller than we are. When we place our lives into His hands, when we jump and allow Him to catch us, He takes us on a ride that is wild and perfectly beautiful, and FAR better than anything we could have come up with on our own.

Oh look …a random Tuesday! Isn’t it just about time to jump? 

Stephanie May is a world-traveling journalist who is in love with Jesus, with life and with all things beautiful. In early September 2012, she returned from the World Race, an 11-month mission trip to 11 countries around the world (she blogged about it, too!). Currently, she is working for Adventures in Missions as a Storyteller. When she’s not traveling (and especially when she is), she’s writing for The Lipstick Gospel. You can follow her on Twitter at @Smay15.

All photos courtesy of Stephanie May.

Monday, September 17, 2012


by Laura Gonzalez

My life was a wild entanglement of self-destruction. I was in my second year of college and things were getting progressively worse. Though I had been dealing with it for a while, I finally admitted to myself that I had an eating disorder. Even with the truth out in the open, it only continued to escalate. I hated myself for everything I was doing and yet, I couldn’t stop. I began to question everything. Why would God do this to me? What had I done to deserve this?

 A year prior, during my freshman year of college, I found a great church near my university. The first few weeks of school were spent debating which church organizations I loved the most. I wanted to devote myself entirely to God and wanted to see my relationship with Him grow stronger with every passing semester. In spite of these desires, there was such an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame that came along with my self-hatred. I eventually put God far behind the unhealthy obsessions in my life, and I stopped going to church altogether. I knew God was a magnificent Creator, but I could just not see it any measure of worth in myself. All I saw was an inadequate failure that was too lost to ever find her way back. I figured that for a girl like me, church would be the last place where I would be wanted, and that God would be too disappointed in and disgraced by me.

Things continued to escalate until finally I reached the point where I knew I could not continue living in this never-ending cycle of self-destruction. I was miserable and could barely function. Less than a week after school was over, I found myself in a residential treatment center for eating disorders. It was the last place I wanted to be, but the best place for my health. Before I decided to get treatment, there were nights that I went to bed afraid that I would not wake up because of what I had put my body through. The frightening things was, I didn’t care. I knew what I was doing could kill me, but I couldn’t stop. I knew I couldn’t continue living like this, and so I spent the next few months in various levels of treatment. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but I continued to prioritize my health and decided to take the fall semester off from school to focus on getting and staying well.

Early on in my treatment, I had heard the word “surrender,” but I really wasn’t sure what it meant. Surrender to my treatment team? Okay, I have done that, I thought. I am here 24/7 and have no control over my life. I have obviously surrendered. It took me a while to realize that surrendering referred to something completely different. It meant giving my life up to God. It meant saying, “Father, I have tried to do this without you and it has clearly led me down a path I never want to go down again.” Somewhere along the way, I realized God’s ever-loving grace and forgiveness is not just for everyone else, but that it is for me, as well.

Throughout this journey, I have learned so much about myself, my faith, and the people around me. I feel like I now have the ability to love more fully. My heavenly Father now plays a bigger role in my life than ever before. I am living a life in Christ and He is filling me with an overflowing amount of joy, joy that I didn’t even know was possible before. Though my recovery journey continues, I believe fully that I am wonderfully made. Nothing can ever change that.

Laura Gonzalez is a 20 year old college student studying to get her degree in Communication. She hopes to go to graduate school to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and eventually help others battling eating disorders. When she isn’t studying, Laura enjoys delving into a good book and journaling about her everyday life.  She is passionate about growing in her faith and helping others do the same. Her struggles in the past few years have given her a greater appreciation for life. Because of that, she is trying to live a life in Christ every day. You can follow her blog, Life with Laura, or follow her on Twitter at .

(Image Source)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wonderful Words / 3

"What I've noticed, though, is that almost every time I type in the word love, it gets changed to the word live. It's a kind of reminder to me of one of the things I learned...about following Jesus. I learned that fully loving and fully living are not only synonymous but the kind of life that Jesus invited us to be a part of. And because of that, our lives don't need to be just puffs of blue smoke anymore."   -Bob Goff, Love Does

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Dreamer

by Kristina Fertala

Have you ever had this thought before? In another life I would be super outgoing, be bold, enjoy roller coasters, get better grades, have a beautiful voice and “live a little more.” Nearly every single one of us comes across this “in another life” statement at one point or another. But why? In what other life would we be living out those things when we know we really only have one life to live?

When we live with a mindset of wanting more, we are going against the life that was perfectly planned out for us by God. It’s interesting how often we can feel that the life that we are living isn’t enough, and how often we don’t feel content with what has been provided for us. Usually when we feel this way, it is a reflection of a condition of our heart that shows we don’t quite understand what we have been given.

However, Scripture says we have been given everything we need to live our life to it’s full potential in the glory of the Lord. Maybe our problem is that, instead of using our gifts and talents towards the glory of the Lord, praising Him for the wonderful life we have been given and embracing our original design, we sit selfishly, allowing the enemy to tell us that we need more.

An easy example of this is looking at the life of Eve. Eve lived in the most beautiful garden in the world, could go on walks with God, and had a husband that she was created for (and from). But still Eve wanted more, and allowed the devil to convince her that if she had more in life, that she would be even more perfect. Eve had everything she needed to thrive and give glory to the one that created her, and instead of looking at those truths, she gave into the desire of wanting more.  

Instead of sitting in our believed place of need, it is vital that we turn towards the direction of the Lord, learning how to move in His Glory more and more everyday. And when it comes to our desire to live our lives to their fullest potential, we can ask ourselves these questions:

            What gifts have I been given?

            What is unique about my heart?

            What am I thankful for?
            How can I use what I have been uniquely given?

And know this: just like Eve, we will constantly be tempted to believe that we have to be or want more in our lives. It is so easy to fall into the what if’s and I want’s of our society and it’s standards. However, if we can remind ourselves of the potential that we have been given and that we have all that we need at this exact moment, we can work towards a heart of contentment in the life that we have been given. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Embracing Your Personal Style

by Anne Taylor

With New York Fashion Week winding down, my Instagram and blog reader have been filled to the brim with pictures from designer shows and fabulous parties. Though I am a big fan of fashion, and appreciate all the artistry that goes into it, it is hard not to be jealous. Jealous of the women who can afford all those beautiful clothes, jealous of those who can fit into sample sizes, and jealous of all the fabulous parties they get to attend. It makes it hard, when I’m that jealous, to really appreciate fashion in my own daily life.
So how do you embrace your personal sense of fashion in the adventure that is your everyday life? Here’s a few tips I’ve learned over the years:

"Pick pieces that reflect your personality instead of following some social sense of what's 'right'.
-Frida Giannini of Gucci

1. Tell your own story: Did you grow up on a farm, and find yourself drawn to naturalistic, light colors and fabrics? Or maybe you grew up in the country, but you are all about the bold geometrics and city life now? Fashion and style is all about expression, and it’s a chance for you to share a bit about yourself and your own story. If you’re a nature lover but don’t like wearing hiking boots all the time, why not express your passion for the environment with floral fabrics and colors that you can find in the natural world? It’s time to get creative!

2. Own it: One of my favorite colors is orange. I used to deny this to nearly everyone, but one day I was color coding my closet (I love organizing), and there wasn’t any use hiding it anymore. Half of my tops and sweaters were orange or some off-shoot of orange. The thing about personal style is - you have to own it. You have to rock your style, and then don’t apologize. 

3. Embrace your shape: I don’t know about you, but this is probably the hardest one for me. I have a hard time finding popular trends and styles that I like that are suited for my curvy shape, but it's become a lot easier in the last year or so, with popular shows like Mad Men that feature curvaceous women like Christina Hendricks. Embracing yourself for how you were made can be a difficult journey, but it brings so much happiness. 

4. Try Something New: Last year, I realized that I was in a big fashion rut. I was always adding the same types of pieces to my closet, like neutral colors and tunics with skinny jeans. I decided to try something new to spice up my wardrobe, and so I went out and bought a bright coral lipstick. It made my neutral style pop with a wild flare, and it wasn't as expensive as going on a full out shopping spree. What is a new fashion trend you can try?

Do you have tips on embracing your personal style? We'd love to hear your stories!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let's Get to Know Each Other!

Here at Wonderfully Made, we want to be able to serve our community as best as we possibly can. Through this blog, books, conferences, college chapters, and more, we are able to reach out to more and more young women to help inspire them to know their true value in God.

As we work to develop our community, we want to get to know you better so that we can continue to grow and inspire the world! Over the next couple of months, we're going to ask a few questions here and there to get to know you better.

We have just posted a poll in our sidebar! If you're reading this in email or a blog reader, please click here to head over to our site to choose an answer! It will only take a few minutes!

Thank you for your support!

xo -The Wonderfully Made Team

Lydia: Lights, Camera, Action

by Raquel Rodriguez

"That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.

 On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank; where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She was baptized along with other members of her household, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed."
-Acts 16:9-15 (NLT)

Paul was given a vision, and a location was spoken. Though Philippi was a major city inside Macedonia, the Jewish community was too small to have a synagogue, which required ten males. Therefore, the river bank was an appropriate meeting place for three reasons; it was private, quiet and provided water for Jewish purification rites. The stage was set, and the spotlight now faced a group of women who gathered at a riverbank to pray. We read of a successful business woman from Thyatira. She was in all likelihood widowed or single. She worshiped God, meaning that she was a non-Jew who believed in the Jewish God.

I wish we had a video clip of this encounter. We don’t know for how long Lydia sat, or what Paul spoke. But we do know that she listened. She took in every word that was spoken by Paul. And the very God that set the stage for this meeting was the very same God who opened Lydia’s heart to receive the truth spoken by Paul. That day her life changed, making her the first European convert. Almost immediately, Lydia was baptized. She was quick to obey this command, symbolically burying her old life and rising to her new life.

We finally hear Lydia speak. Her act of service as a true believer was opening her home to the visiting missionaries. This first action was the beginning of many good works. As the Word tells us throughout the books of Acts and PhilippiansLydia’s home was the beginning of the church in Philippi. She was a woman of influence in her time; and continues to influence many today.

Three lessons I was drawn to:

1. Prayer, much like the blood in our veins or the air that we breathe, is vital for our survival. The Word tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us to pray. Let’s not get lazy with prayer. If you tell someone that you will pray for them, pray right there with them. If there is a prayer meeting at church, attend it and take some friends with you. And pray continuously throughout your day. You can even set up reminders on your phone to pray for certain needs or a simple, “Thank you God for _____.” Time and eloquent words are not of much importance, but rather, it's about the heart behind them. Imagine what God could do in your life if you prayed more. Now imagine what He could do in the lives of those around you and in your city if you prayed for them.

2. A person with a hardened heart can have a difficult time accepting God’s truth, love and acceptance. As we read with Lydia, God had to open her heart, and then she was responsive to the Gospel. I went through a season where my heart was broken; I gave in to bitterness, anger and self-pity. It wasn’t long before my heart became hardened. Through reading and hearing God’s word, He opened my heart to His truth, love and acceptance. If your heart is hardened today, sit before God, read his word and listen (as Lydia did). And like any surgery, opening your heart will be painful, but necessary and worth it.

 3. Take action. What can you do for others? As you pray and seek God’s word, you will receive direction and see opportunities for ministry. When you see one, act upon it. God has chosen you and I to change this world, one act of service at a time.

How have you been influenced by Lydia?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wonderfully Made Boutique

by Anne Taylor

Have you ever been over to the Wonderfully Made Boutique? The shop is filled with stylish goodies and encouraging resources to help inspire us to know our true value. And as we are preparing products for our Hawaii conference coming up in a few weeks, we now have some awesome hoodies and tank tops that you can pre-order, even if you can't make it to the conference!

Here are a few of my favorites:

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