Clothed with Grace: September 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Focus on the Positive

We have a lot of great things going on at my school right now, all focused on encouraging positive behavior. We've started "Top-Notch Tuesday," where kids are encouraged to "dress for success." We also have a "Last Ram Standing" competition where we're competing to see which first hour class class can go the longest without a student having a tardy. We are making both short and long-term goals to help kids to engaged and focused, and a lot of us have in class incentives to encourage positive behavior like: turning in homework, coming to class prepared, working hard in class, get an A+ on assignments.  This might sound like a lot, but we've found that focusing rewarding and supporting the kids who do the right things creates a positive environment and encourages more kids to do the "right" things.

Do we still have kids who need a little extra help and assistance from us, of course, but punitive punishments don't seem to cause any change in behaviors, but encouraging the positive does.  All these things help make where I work a great place and keeps our attitudes in check too. This translates to home as well with Grant. If I take the time to encourage what I do want to see, he does more of that. If we walk around focusing on the stuff around us we don't like, it can be all consuming. However, if we look for the good, it's so much easier see.

I recently got my first kimono from Target when they had a buy one-get-one 50% sale. I've already worn it a handful of times. Now, I wouldn't say it does my pregnant shape any justice- this is an XS and it's very roomy, but there is something nice about having this oversized item in my closet.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

29 Week Bumpdate

Weeks along: 29 weeks today

Size of the baby: 15" long and 2 1/2 pounds, about the size of a butternut squash

Must haves: I really haven't been having cravings, which is nice.

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty good. I sleep with a pillow between my legs, which helps and I'm not super uncomfortable yet. I think my body has finally adjusted to sleeping on my side.

Baby Movement: She's moving quite a bit. I feel it the most in the evening when I'm still on the couch.  It seems like all my movement during the day keeps her pretty still.

Gender: It's a girl!

Name: Hannah Elizabeth

Weight Gain: 15 pounds

Challenges: I'm pretty much the size of a beached whale at this point. I know I've only gained 15 pounds, but on my 5'4" frame it feels like a lot. I catch my self huffing and puffing after what should be an easy flight of stairs too.

 Best moment of the week: I get tomorrow off, I'm soooo excited!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Perfect Dress

So, this dress, I'm in love.  I found it online and it's currently on clearance for $13! It's stretchy and the perfect fit. I can actually wear it now, and obviously after the baby.  I even went back online after it arrived and ordered it in the other two colors still available. Yes, I did. I'm also loving this scarf I a scored online too for only $5. I have't been shopping recently, so these were nice treats.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Life Lately

Here are some pictures from Instagram I thought I'd share to give you an update on life lately.

Although it's still pretty nice out, I'm ready to start wearing my fall clothes. This combo is one I wore a ton last year and I'm sure it'll be on repeat again this year too!

Vest: similar / top: similar / Leggings: Liz Lange same / Boots same / Necklace chloe + isabel c/o 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


As someone who really likes to have a plan and often times feel control over what's going on around me, at times that's just not possible.  Grant has been in school for over a month and it's going great. It's really been good practicing in trusting that his teacher knows what she's doing and Grant's positive attitude towards school.  It's such a weird shift from talking to his daycare teachers everyday to simply having a box colored in on Grant's calendar saying what "color" he was at school that day.  I'm thankful for his teacher and his school.  I know it won't always be this easy, but it's been a great start.

As a 7th grade teacher I feel like I finally can relate to the hyperventilating, helicopter parents that sometimes come along at the beginning of the school year. 7th grade is their kid's first year in middle school, and a new experience for both the kids and parents. This week we had a parent meeting, which the mom requested, because her son has a lack of organization. However, he's doing pretty darn well in school and gets 95% if his homework done on time. It's as though she thought her son was the only kid with organizational issues and literally let out a giant sigh of relief when we assured her that her son wasn't that much different than any other 7th grader and that his is doing just fine.

Then the next day I had a phone call with a parent who was concerned her son needs a tutor and he has a "B" in class. Yes, a "B." I had to reassure her that he son is doing just fine, and that if I had major concerns, I would have called her. 

In both situations these moms had the best of intentions, but their lack of trust in their kiddo or their kid's teachers was really keeping them from having peace and believing that they've raised good kids who will be just fine. See, we can't control everything, and that's ok.  When we walk around worrying and working to control things it's robbing us of the peace we can have. Just like I've been working to trust Grant and Grant's teacher that school is going well, that same thing goes for us trusting that God has it covered too. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight." 

Just like the parents I met with week let out a big sigh of relief when they were reassured that everything is ok, we can let out that same sigh of relief when we begin to believe that God will take care of us too. Worrying is no fun, so if this is something you're battling with today, I want to reassure you that it will all be ok. Whatever valley you are in won't last forever, I promise.

Although the weather is still varying by day, I just adore these boots I got recently.  I've been wanting a great pair of brown leather riding boots and have tried a few pair I just haven't loved, but these ones are winners.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How to Shop on thredUp, Part 2

It's no secret that I love thredUP. Last spring I wrote a post about how to shop and save on  thredUP, and I thought I'd create a follow-up post for my new readers, and to show off some of my favorite  thredUP finds. This past year I've gotten many of my favorite things in my closet from them. I've heard time and time again comments about the cool pieces I've found, but also how hard it can be for others to find anything "good." 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Only Grace

This last week I was reading Galatians and Paul was writing to a group of people who had the best of intentions, but were totally missing the boat when it came to living the Christian life. They thought they needed to "follow the rules" in order to be saved. Paul makes in abundantly clear that we are under a new covenant, one in which we are saved by grace and not by works or anything of our own doing. 

As someone who is a "rule follower" and "list-maker" I can see how the people of Galatia got it wrong. They wanted to check off all for boxes for what Old Testament law had said. However, Paul makes a really solid point, if anything needs to be added to the finished work of Christ on the cross, then he died for nothing. "For by grace we are saved through faith, and not my works, so that any man can boast." We are saved not because of anything we have done, but simply because of Christ's love for us.

Now, that doesn't mean mean that we can completely disregard rules, laws, and God's declaration for how we are to live our lives, simply because we are saved my grace. Just the opposite, in fact, it means that we should do our best to listen to the law, because of the love for God and Christ. We follow out of love, not out of a belief that it's earning us a spot in heaven. 

It makes me think about why I say and do what I do. My motivation should be to show an outpouring of Christ's love, and to show others how great the God is that I serve. It's not about rules and a list of "do's and don't," and to make that would not be to show who God really is. I challenge you to think about who your are in Christ. Do you consider and live your life as though you are saved by grace, or is it about checking off a bunch of boxes on a "to-do" list? 

I've been starting to pull out some of my fall clothes, which I'm super excited about, but our temperates are still in the 80 degree area most days.  I loved the idea of pairing this cardigan with this all white outfit and am happy with how it came together.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


School is going well, but by Saturday I am tired!  This last weekend I really didn't want to work on the blog much, if I'm being honest. I took these pictures during the week prior, and didn't even plan any outfits for this week. Sometimes life just gets busy, and something has to give, and that something was taking time for my posts this week. Instead Grant and I did our normal Saturday morning routine of going to the library and doing errands, then we played at the park for awhile in the afternoon and watched football as a family Saturday night.

Sunday we went to church then with my mom to Pete the Cat, the musical at a local theater here in town. My mom got us season tickets, and it's such a treat! It was a nice relaxing weekend, and just what I needed. We'll see how this coming weekend. School and life has been keeping me busy. I can only imagine who much different it will look once our little girl is here. We will definitely be adjusting to a new normal!

I'm still doing my best to fit into my non-maternity clothes, like this blazer and lace shirt. The shirt is sold out but I love this option, and the price is pretty good too! However, I'm crazy about this maternity jeans, which I miraculously scored in store for less than $10. I love the dark wash and they'll work well to get to through to December.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Invention of Wings

It's been a while since I've done a book review on here, and honestly, getting back in the grove of things at school has made reading take a backseat to my other priorities.  Today I have a pretty good book to share with you all though. I just finished The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I had read The Secret Life of Bees, which is one of my favorite books of all time, so I was excited to read this one too.

This story follows the lives of two girls: Handful "Hetty," a slave in 19th century Charleston and Sarah the daughter of Handful's wealthy"owners." It is a story unlike one I have read before, and follows the girls during different stages in their lives. They have a friendship of sorts, but how close can a slave and a wealthy while girl be?

We see their relationship begin in early adolescence, when Handful's mom makes Sarah promise to free Handful one day- a promise Sarah isn't sure she'll be able to keep.

The story then follows the girls into their late teens as Handful has to deal with tragedy that strikes and Sarah seeks love, but it may not be what it seems.

Next we see the girls into adulthood, where Handful might have a love interest of her own, as well as an interest in helping prepare for a slave uprising, and Sarah begins to think about becoming a Quaker.

Lastly we see these girls- now fully women having to deal with both the responsibilities  and tragedies that come their way. Will Sarah be able to keep that promise she made to Handful's mom so many years ago. You'll have to read The Invention of Wings to find out!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Three Years

I just realized I've had this blog for just over three years.  It's been a lot of fun, but my approach to blogging is very different when I began. So today I thought I'd share a "Then" and "Now" post. It's been a fun journey.

Then: I posted content everyday....yes, everyday.  I did five outfit posts and two weekend shopping posts. It's hard for me to fathom the time I spent on this little space each week. It definitely didn't give me a lot of balance in my life.

Now: I post 3-4 times a week, and am actually thinking I might just stick to three posts now. Blogging takes a lot of time, and although it's fun, it's just a hobby.

Then: I wasted a ton of time trying to take photos during times that didn't work. Such as, when it's windy, too sunny, too overcast, too cold, etc. Seriously, it was pretty ridiculous.

Now: If it's too sunny, windy, or cold I don't even attempt pictures. I know I won't be happy with them, so why waste the time? I now set aside about a half hour on Saturday mornings to take a few pictures, and if that doesn't work, so be it.

Then: I literally followed and commented on about 100 blogs a day. I was super excited to read, see, and engage with so many other bloggers. I also read that the more you comment and share your website, the more the word on your blog gets out.  I never thought I'd be the next "Kendi," but I did want to grow my audience.

Now: There are very few blogs I read on a daily basis, and I'm now more of a "lurker" than a "commenter." I still like to read some blogs, but I don't at all comment and share my site like I used to. I don't ever comment in hopes it will bring readers of that blog back to mine.

Then: I spent way too much time outfit planning and shopping for the blog. I felt like each post needed to have something "new" in it. I ended up with a lot of clothes I hardly wore. I still had the same budget I do now, but pretty much every cent was spent on clothes each month.

Now: If I'm being honest, I now more often than not pick out my outfit for the day while I'm wearing my towel. I think I am more comfortable knowing what will look good together, but I also realize every outfit doesn't need to be a "work of art," it's just an outfit. Especially being pregnant, shopping is pretty much at a standstill. I have more than enough clothes and don't plan on buying more until after our little girl is here.

Then: I worried a lot about making sure I joined a bunch of link-ups and shared my posts on social media like crazy.

Now: I do only a couple of link-ups a week and really only share on Facebook and Instagram, which I kind of feel like have their own audiences.  It seems like most of my Facebook fans are non-blogging moms and although I have a decent audience on Instagram, I think very few people actually click over to my blog: seeing one picture on Instagram seems to be sufficient for them. I don't even attempt Twitter or Snapchat, I think I'm just getting to old to "get them" or engage with people on them in a meaningful way.

Then: I looked at my blog stats daily and was always working to increase my readership.

Now: If I'm being honest, since getting pregnant my blog stats have been pretty static without much growth, and I'm ok with that, pregnant women don't necessarily give an awful lot of fashion inspiration to all the non-pregnant women out there.

Then: I really didn't spend much time on my content, posts were mostly about explaining my outfit.

Now: I really work to create content that is meaningful and authentic. However, I sometimes wonder how many people read it when most of my comments say things like "cute shirt." I really want this space to be meaningful to those who take the time to stop by, so to those of you actually reading this, thank you!

My thoughts on the "Then" and "Now:" I feel like I have a lot more balance and perspective now on this little hobby.  Any hobby should be fun, but when it becomes too much of a focus it takes about from the other things in your life that really matter. Thanks to those who have stuck with me through this journey, and as long as it's fun, I'll be here!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

For I Know the Plans...

I was recently reading in Daniel 9 about God's perfect timing. Basically Daniel is praying for his nation and for them to repent against the sins they've committed.  It had been nearly 70 years of them being out of sink with God and Daniel reads in Jeremiah 29:10 that the end of this separation is coming. 

Daniel is obviously excited and can't want for the nation to be back in line with God. But, man 70 years is a long time! Sometime we can feel like the bad times will never come to an end, but do you know what verse is after Jeremiah 29:10? It's one of my favorites, Jerimiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for your, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and hope." 

In the midst of this seventy years of trial, God did have a plan, a great one, but in His time, not Daniel's.  That can be really difficult when we just want the good times to come. However, it's in the valleys of life where we learn, and we're pushed to keep going....even when it's tough.  The valleys also make us appreciate the mountain top even more too.  

If you're in a valley right now, know that it's only for a season, not for good. It's important to cling to God in the midst of the hard times and remember, He hasn't forgotten you, he does have a plan.

Today I'm wearing another one of my sheath dresses that is non-maternity and a blazer I've had for a few years. Over the summer I missed getting to dress up like this, so it's nice that I can now that school is back in session.  I've also been wearing mostly pendant and delicate necklaces, but I love getting to pull out my statement necklaces with outfits like this too. This Stella and Dot one is a favorite of mine, it's no longer available, but I love this one.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My Classroom: Tips and Tricks

Today I thought I'd share some things I'm doing in my classroom this year to make it better than last year. One thing that really stuck with me from last year was how apathetic my 7th graders had become. A lot were ok with just getting by and not thinking about goals at all. This year I really wanted to try to do something about it, so this was my plan of attack.

We started the year by making goal setting metaphor posters.  We talked about things that make us successful and what it takes to reach a goal. We came up with long-term goals, like "going to college" and the brain-stormed ideas for how to get there. Some were:
  • Don't give up
  • Ask questions
  • Get involved in an activity you love
  • Work hard
  • Try your best
Then, the kids brain-stormed metaphors that would work for their posters. Here are some ideas the kids had:
  • mountain
  • stairs
  • rollercoaster
  • treasure map
  • game board
  • garden
  • sports field (football, soccer, etc.)
  • race
  • maze
The posters turned out great and it planted the seed about hard work being needed for success.

The next day we talked about short-term goals, and I introduced sticky note goal setting.  Check out the image below for details on how this works:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

25 Week Bumpdate

Weeks along: 25 weeks today

Size of the baby: 13 1/2" and 1 1/2 pounds, about the size of a rutabaga

Must haves: I still am not really having cravings, although I'm much more hungry in the morning leading up to lunch. I having to have a few protein packed snacks for school, like yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, and bananas have been good too.

Sleep: I'm sleeping pretty good. I sleep with a pillow between my legs, which helps and I'm not super uncomfortable yet. Staying up until 10:00 is pretty hard and I am falling asleep on the couch quite a bit. I guess I'm pretty worn out from the day.

Baby Movement: I feel her move quite a bit and am starting to see my tummy move too. I've been trying to get Grant close in time to feel too, but no dice yet.

Gender: It's a girl!

Weight Gain: 10 pounds

Challenges: I already feel huge, so I can't imagine how big I'll be when I'm nine months pregnant!

 Best moment of the week: Getting to go baby shopping is such fun. We really aren't planning to go crazy on clothes this time, but little girl clothes are adorable!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

No Longer a Slave

This last Sunday I got to help lead worship at church again. I love singing, so getting the chance to help is so much fun.  One of our worship leaders wrote this song, "No Longer a Slave," and I can't get it out of my head.  Here are some of the lyrics:

He who had no sin
became sin for you and me
that me might become his righteousness

God so loved the world
He gave his precious son
He has the victory 
the battle is won

We are no longer a slave to sin
We are not longer bound by this darkness
The price was paid
the bonds were broken in this name
We are no longer a slave

The chains have fallen away
the bond of sin and shame
we can walk in freedom 
it's a brand new day

The old has fallen away
behold the new has come
we are a new creation 
inside His love

We are no longer a slave to sin
We are not longer bound by this darkness
The price was paid
the bonds were broken in this name
We are no longer a slave

I wish I could share a recording of this song, it's seriously amazing, but our humble director hasn't recorded it to placed on youtube. The lyrics are really sticking with me though. We are no longer a slave to sin, once we accept Jesus, the power sin has in our lives is gone. It doesn't mean life will be perfect, but those sins that we've struggled with no longer have power over us, and I love that. It's through out relationship with Jesus that the chains fall away.  Today I hope these words encourage you to live in freedom, without fear of your past sins returning.  God is much bigger than that!

This outfit came up on my Timehop app as one I wore a year ago, and I decided to cross my fingers and hope I could still squeeze in this dress. Luckily, it's stretchy, although it's now more "body-con" style then "sheath.  This one from Target isn't available anymore, but I love this one. I'm thankful I can still wear some non-maternity clothes though, and as long as it continues, I'll make it work!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Today, Grant is the star of the show. He got dressed for church recently and said, "Mom, you should take my picture." Who can argue with that, right? On normal days he sports tees and gym shorts, but on Sundays he dresses up for church. Recently Grant picked out this Chambray, tie, and a navy vest from Gymboree, and we just got the jeans from Old Navy. His cowboy boots actually fit from last year, and he also requested Dad wear his too.

We definitely don't spend a lot of money on his clothes, so catching deals is the way to go for sure. I also don't get to pick his clothes anymore, so unless he signs off, we don't buy it. There will come a day when he no longer wants me to take his picture, so I'm going to make the most of it now. : )