Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blog Move

Hello all! I have moved my blog to a new address. Here it is: www.alovelyintention.com

I can't wait to see you there!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sunday Outfits: February

You guys, are you so glad that February is over?? I am-I feel like the month went for ever and ever. Lately, now that the weather has been warmer, I have been trying to look a little more put together for church on Sunday. During the winter when it is so cold and gray I have a hard time looking nice-I feel like it is so much work to even get out of bed let alone put on a cute outfit. So, I have been having Nathan snap a pic of whatever I show up to church in. If I know that a picture is coming it seems to motivate me a bit.

Anyway, here are February's Sunday outfits. There are only two, but in March there will be four. Promise.

Flats: Target // Pants: Gap // Top: Levi's // Jacket: handmade 

Flats: Target// Skirt: thrifted // Jacket: thrifted // Shirt: J. Crew 

I have been posting the pics over on Instagram (note the high quality and artful filters..ahem). I may start taking out the big camera and coming up with some actually decent photos. 

Until then, the pictures will hold me accountable for actually putting a little effort in when I stare at my pile of clean laundry neatly organized closet each morning. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

In Which I Compare Christians to Snack Food



In the office, my boss and I eat Munchies. Munchies is a snack mix that has Cheetos, Doritos, Pretzels, and Sun Chips in it. It is delicious. I am eating them right this moment as I am writing this article. I don’t really know when our devotion to Munchies began, but they have become the snack of choice in the office. Nothing else will really do. I credit our love of Munchies to the variety that they offer. Inevitably, you will probably find something that relieves your craving when there are four different types of chips to choose from. They are easy; it is all in one bag, you just have to reach in and find what you are looking for. The chemically powdered cheese coating doesn’t hurt either; we love our artificial flavors around here. What is surprising is that the bag of Munchies that sits in the office snack drawer relates a lot to the church. If, at this point, you think I am going to form a profound analogy about Christianity around a snack mix then you would be right (although, I can’t promise the profound part. I am only 20 years old; I think profundity, like wisdom, probably comes with age).So, bear with me as I tell you how the person next to you in church on Sunday morning could be the pretzel of the Munchies snack mix that is the church.
As believers we are not meant to all be the same. God created each of us with unique gifts, personalities, and life stories. We all get thrown together in the same “bag” that is the title “Christian”, but we represent many different shapes and textures and flavors. Often I think that believers form the idea that they cannot reach into the “bag” that is the church and reach for the “chip” (or person) that they need at that moment. Not everyone has quite the strong feelings toward food as I do, but sometimes I just NEED a pretzel or a sun chip or whatever. In the same way, sometimes we NEED a certain person or a certain kind of person. This past year I really needed mentors and friends; I needed women who I could love and who wanted to love on me; the grandmotherly and motherly types were what my heart needed. You know what; I found them in abundance at my church. My freshman year of college I was searching for young people to relate to and be in fellowship with- my church had those too. God did not create us to live in solitude. We were created for fellowship. We were created to live as a church- a body of believers!
Because there are so many different types of Christians we are able to seek out those who will strengthen our faith and encourage us as each season in our life calls for. Perhaps the youth group is Doritos and the church ladies are pretzels; I was able to pull both out of the bag and satisfy my heart’s craving. It is incredible that God gave us free will and individuality. There is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” Christian! If I were a Munchie, I think I would be a pretzel. The fact that someone else may not be a pretzel doesn’t matter because we are all connected by that cheesy coating (metaphorically-there isn’t anything “cheesy” about the Gospel) that is Grace. We are covered by God’s love and our desire to serve him and love one another.  
Next time you are at a church function or you are spending time with your friends, try to look at them as beautifully unique and talented God-creations who are prepared and willing and uniquely gifted by God to fill the craving for fellowship and connection that your soul is seeking.
Thanks for sticking out this post with me. You guys are the best!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

That Point in Wedding Planning When...


You send this paragraph to your fiance at the end of an email listing all the things that need to be discussed about your wedding:

I am binge eating M&Ms at my desk and panicking. The situation is serious. The struggle is real and yadda yadda yadda. And I just ran out of M&Ms, so the situation is really uncertain at this point. 

 Yes, this is over dramatic. Yes, this is how I am feeling. It's fine.
I really just wish all the planning would magically be done. Alternatively, someone else could plan the whole thing. I am so OCD, though, that I probably wouldn't just hand over complete control to anyone.

And now some wedding memes that ring particularly true:

Sometimes this is what wedding planning is like:
Okay, so this is actually over dramatic. I am not killing anyone-yet. 

Most of the time this is what wedding planning is like: 
  Sometimes Pinterest is of the Devil

In reality, the print at the top seems most important to keep in mind. As a bride, it is easy to allow the voice in my head to be fueled by comparison, insecurity, and perfectly edited wedding blogs. 

The voice in my head likes to try to assure me that my wedding will be unorganized, the invitations won't be sent out on time, no one will dance at the reception, I will spill something on my dress, and that any other number of things that (in my mind) would ruin the big day are bound to happen. 

That voice is a liar. 

The voice is compounded by the fact that I (mistakenly) believe that I could control all of those things on my own. I have the misguided assumption that I alone am capable of organizing and coordinating and perfecting everything that has anything to do with the wedding. In moments of stress about the wedding I seem to forget that there is no evidence for my belief that I have to be some "do-it-all-wedding-superwoman".

Knowing that the voice in my head is a liar is not going to make me feel less stressed or occasionally panicked about my wedding and all the stuff I have to get done for it in the next six months. I am super type A- "letting it go" is hard for me. The likelihood of me just letting it all go is super low.

However, knowing that the voice in my head is a liar does make it easier to accept that after all of the planning, hard work, tears, and worries, our wedding will be AWESOME,. It will be totally "us". Knowing that makes the fact that I have run out of M&Ms slightly- slightly- better (but not totally, so if someone wanted to stop by and hook a sister up then that would be ok). 

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On Building a Relationship with Your Food

 Do you get "hangry" (hungry and angry). I do. It runs in my family.

Sometimes I feel like I am a little over-involved with my food. You know how people always say that they "live to eat" or "eat to live"? Well, I fall solidly in the category of the former. It is so easy for me to understand the idea of having a relationship with your food. I don't mean that you literally have an unhealthy (and weird) romantic obsession with your lunch, I just mean that you have a definite understanding of the way that food affects you and your life and how you respond to that.

Perhaps you are reading this and feeling like it is a little silly, but I beg to differ. I think that, especially as a woman, it is important to understand your relationship with food and it is important to understand the way that different aspects of life shape your relationship with food.

1. Culture. Look, we live in a culture that is on the one hand obsessed with food where everyone is a "foodie" and on the other hand skeptical of food. Culinary exploration, trendy fusion restaurants, the hipsterness of your grandma's "vintage" recipes, and the food truck phenomenon totally promote enjoyment of delicious food and it is awesome! People can make whole careers out of food related hobbies. However, we also have an obsession with health foods and restrictive diets. We protest GMOs, cut out processed everything, grow our own vegetables, insist upon free-range-grain and organic fed meats, and idolize kale, green juice and quinoa. Gluten free is no longer only for those with debilitating and painful diseases that limit them from gluten-it is now the "vogue" way to eat. The way that you choose to put food into your body is influenced by so many things. Just because everyone and their mother is gluten free or vegetarian or pescetarian or "etarian" of any kind does not mean it is a healthy or sane choice for you. Pop culture is an obvious culprit for hair, clothing, media, and music trends, but it has an influence over food and the way we consume it as well.

Are you choosing to eat the way that you do because you enjoy it, it is good for you, and it makes sense for your life? Or are you choosing to eat the way you do because is is the way that seems popular to eat? 

2. Body Image. I don't know that men struggle with body image as it relates to food as much as women do. Perhaps they do, but I only ever hear about it from women. The media inundates us with images of wafer thin models who have been airbrushed even further and tells us that they are the picture of ideal beauty and vitality. Women and young girls are told that their worth comes from their sex appeal and that they are only sexy if they are a size two or smaller. That simply is not true.

Now, I am not trying to slight women who are naturally thin because I understand that people come in all shapes and sizes. What I am saying is that most models make a living from being thin and beautiful. They spend a lot of time limiting their calories and hitting the treadmill and their pictures spend a lot of time on some artist's Photoshop. The absolute reality for the majority of the population is that they will not look like a Victoria's Secret model by eating whatever they want all the time. This is where food begins to play a role. Many times women limit or change their diets based only on the desire to achieve a certain type of body (generally a smaller one). When you are in the mindset of dieting because your body confidence is low you begin having a really destructive relationship with food. Denying yourself only makes you miserable. If you all the sudden give up major food groups  because you are on a diet then you are inevitably going to fail. When you fail you feel discouraged. When you feel discouraged you start thinking that your body is not good enough. It is a vicious cycle. Food should not be miserable for you!!

Obviously, if you are overweight and unhealthy then you should work to get to a healthy weight. Likewise, if you are underweight and unhealthy then you should work to gain healthy weight. The problem here is that the average, healthy American woman often believes that her body is ugly. I am telling you right now that what you are eating is not the only factor that contributes to your beauty or your self worth. If you want to eat healthy then by all means eat healthy. If you love to eat pop-tarts for every meal then do that. Eat how you want if it makes you feel good and it isn't terribly detrimental to your health.

It is okay to love food. It is okay to love all food. It is okay to indulge. Moderation is key, obviously- but you don't have to be in a battle against food and your body. Give yourself a break.

Are you eating the way that you are only because you believe that there is something wrong you or your body and you believe that food will change it? That is the wrong reason and is ultimately destructive emotionally, mentally, and physically.

3.Philosophy. Do you have a (positive and healthy) philosophy surrounding food? I am not saying that you need to write out a manifesto about your eating habits (although, if you do then that would be kinda cool- maybe you could tape it to your fridge), but having an idea about the way in which you like to eat seems important. For example, my food philosophy would be something like this:

-Food that is uncomplicated and unprocessed makes me feel better.
-I like to eat foods that only have ingredients that I can pronounce in them.
-I would rather make it home-made with my own two hands and ingredients I control than buy it in a box. But, I won't ever feel guilty for feeding myself or anyone else store-bought mixes or not having time to whip up something home-made. 
-If I have an undeniable craving for something then there is probably a reason and indulging that craving in moderation is good.
-I will always stop at In-n-Out burger when I am in the same city as one. Always.
-Organic foods, ethically produced meats, and free-trade chocolate and coffee is always the goal even if it can't always be the reality of the food that I purchase.
-I do not feel guilty for kind of disliking salad and not wishing to eat it for every meal.
-Heavy cream, sugar, carbs, and butter are not the enemy.
-I do not count calories and I do not own a bathroom scale. 
-I eat intuitively.
-I view food as a gift and a necessity. I view eating as a way to nourish and care for my body.
-I treat food as a vehicle and an opportunity for fellowship, hospitality, and love toward others. 
-I view my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit and as a perfect work of my Heavenly Father, and I choose my food as a reflection of that reality.

What I believe about food and how I view it won't be right for everyone. My dietary needs are not the same as yours. My health situation is unique to me. And I am in no way qualified to give anyone dietary advice. You have to craft your relationship with food (and yourself) in a way that fits your life.

Food is an important issue for so many reasons (I could write posts and posts about it), and your relationship with it is just one of them. The next time you sit down to eat or make your grocery list, I urge you to take a little extra time to explore how you are approaching your food and determine if your relationship with food is a healthy one or an unhealthy one.
This is always how I feel. 

PS. I have no less than three food related Pinterest boards. Check them out here  
both images via

Hi, I love you

Nathan sent me that text message this morning. That was the first interaction we'd had today.

It was so simple; just, "Hi, I love you." But it was the best.

It was the best because Nathan does love me in just the same way the message was worded: simply, succinctly, honestly. There is nothing pretentious or mysterious or complicated about Nathan's love- he just gives it to me straight and it is perfect.

I can't wait to be married. It is only 213 days away!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Internet is Good this Week

Image Via 

The internet has just been killin' it lately with it's articles and pictures and videos and etc... etc... 

So, it must be my bloggerly duty to share with you all. 

1. This article is so good! It is so much how I feel sometimes (sometimes). Read it here

2. "Why Porn is Anti-Femme"- I almost applauded when I read this one. Our country's fascination with porn and, moreover, their fascination with telling us it is okay is disgusting. This author really got it. Read it here (it does contain adult language). 

3. I made this recipe tonight, and it was awesome! It is like chicken soup, only better. Make it here.

4. Don't these just make you feel happy??? Mini chocolate chip cookies here



Happy Wednesday everyone. And take some time today to do something that makes your soul happy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

For Soldiers and Sailors and Marines and Airmen and Coasties and Reservists...

... and all those who honorably serve or have served our country.



I read an article today on A Cup of Jo, and one of the lines struck my heart. It said, "I may be having a cup of coffee or taking a shower, but somewhere; it's the worst moment in someone's life."

On Veteran's Day that sentence seems to have a little more of an impact.

While I am showering (in hot water coming out of indoor plumbing)...

While I am going to class (in a country where, as a female, I have the privilege of an education)...

While I am sitting in a church (without fear of being persecuted because we have religious freedom)...

While I am at work (at a job that pays the bills)... 

While I plan my wedding (because I have the ability to choose my own spouse)...

While I am driving down the street (on roads that are paved)...

While I am living my life as an American citizen (in a country that is free)...

 

there is a military person...

who hasn't showered and is covered in dust or mud or sweat or blood...

who joined the military to pay for their education...

who misses their congregation and who prays (sometimes) fearful prayers for safety...

whose job is to be willing to give up their life for their fellow soldier, their country, Uncle Sam...

who hasn't seen their husband or wife in months...

who worry that the road underneath their vehicle may explode at any moment...

who give their lives, miss their families, deal with PTSD, and wear their uniform with pride so that I can live the life of the American citizen...


While I am going about my life, there is a soldier who has died; there is a soldier's spouse who has learned that their partner will not be returning. It is the worst moment of someone's life. There is a young man or woman on a plane to their first deployment, scared but proud. There is a soldier who has just watched his friend die. There is a father who has missed his child being born. There is a mother who wasn't there to help her daughter get ready for her first day of school. There is a young wife who got married while her husband was on leave and who barely got a honeymoon before he was gone again.

Military men and women lead a life that I would never have the courage to live. They are proud to serve; they love their careers. They support their families. They support this country. The military is not all bad and it isn't just like all the war movies, but military personnel are willing to pay a much higher price. They encounter challenges that are unique to them.

Earlier today I asked Nathan what was on his mind. He said, "The seriousness of my future and all that stems from military service." Someday, Veteran's Day will be for Nathan. He will have graduated and commissioned, and he will be an officer in the United States Army (Hooah!). And I will be proud of him, and I will hope that our country will be too.

Veterans do have a serious job; there is a weight that comes from serving a whole country full of people. There is a weight that comes from defending freedom- from the intense and passionate pride that accompanies their desire to serve.

Today, as we celebrate Veterans I pray that we would keep in mind that they do not only serve on Veteran's day. They serve 365 days a year with odd and exhausting hours. They serve because they have faith and pride in the idea of American Freedom.

They serve so that you have the freedom to disparage them and call them names and complain about the evils of war. So that you can spit on the flag and make disgusting insults about our country. They take those criticisms because they serve for something greater; they serve for all of you.

I do not pretend to know anything about being in the military or what each military person faces and feels. But, I do know how it feels when one of my cousins deploys; I know the fear and weight and pride that my family feels each time. I do know what it is like to see their parents and their wives an their children worry. I do know what it is like to include our military in our prayers. I do know how it feels to look forward to a life as a military spouse.

I do know that I am damn proud of our military men and women. 

Thank you to them. 



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Because You're Mine

Tonight, while we were doing homework, Nathan said "I love you so much."

I said, "Why?"

He smiled and replied, "Because you're mine."


And it was pretty much the best answer ever. We are each others, and that feels good. It feels good to have someone who is your person. And it feels good to know that Nathan loves me because I am his person.

I love him because he is mine.

And also cuz he looks cute when he does his homework.

Friday, November 1, 2013

An Outfit and a Friday







Jacket: Thrifted 
Shirt: From a Church Conference
Skirt: Levis (similar)
Shoes: Target (similar)
Bag: Target (similar)

Well, I have been at a diocese meeting for my church this weekend. I have so much to share with you, but it will have to wait until Sunday (or, most likely, next week). 

I think that Nathan clearly has a promising career in fashion photography. 

What do you think? Could I pull off a fashion post every now and then? 

Happy Friday! Have a restful weekend and spend it in a Halloween candy induced coma!! 

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