Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Fair

    
Our baby girl is in town for a few days doing wedding hair.  Having her back home is a treat and we wanted to do something special.  Well that something special ended being the fair.

I can't remember the last time I've been. 
I know I chaperoned our youth group years ago when my girls were still at home. But that's not always fun…Trying to keep up with 20 kids….making sure everyone is where they should be and having fun and that no one is being left out or barfing in the corner somewhere from riding too many rides..

No, this time was different.
No agenda. No one to run behind. 
It was just pure fun. 
Magical even.


I'm thankful for a man who sees the value in splurging every now and then on something  I would normally consider wasteful , sometime even "junky" depending on where you go…..a night at the fair.

From the moment I walked through the gates, I felt like a little girl again.

The smells, the sounds, the lights, the food.
There is nothing quite like the fair.  And I had forgotten how special they are.


Now I had this sweet romantic picture in my head about me and Nick riding the ferris wheel together.  Mind you, somewhere along in my adulthood, I became deathly afraid of heights.  I wasn't always this way.
  But the fear is real. And I was ready to conquer it. 
With my man.  In a sweet ferris wheel. 
 While he's holding my hand and stealing kisses and all that stuff that makes for incredibly romantic moments.  (or at least that's what I've seen in the movies)

But to my dismay, there were no sweet ferris wheels to be found.
Only mutant ferris wheels that are not sweet and not conducive for romantic moments.
Their only existence is to spin you round and round in their little torturous, unromantic cages while you also spin around in a big circle way up high in the air.
Um…no thank you.


So with my ferris wheel dream smashed in the fairground dirt, I had to figure out another plan.
Enter this great idea.  The Ali Babba or something like that. It goes back and forth until it gets enough momentum to make a circle. I remembered liking this ride a lot a long time ago.

That's us on the back row waving and all happy and excited.

Now this is me once I was totally strapped in and Lydia then tells me how she "sometimes" gets sick on this ride.
What?!  Get me off.  I've never had a bonafide panic attack but I think how I was feeling at that moment could have been the closest thing to one.

Two things I learned that night.
1. Don't get on this ride 30 minutes after eating Mexican food.
2. Don't get stuck on the back row…..can you say CLAUSTROPHOBIA? 


It was fun for the first 5 or 6 swoops back and forth.

Then it quickly became not fun… at all. 
I literally was praying out loud for Jesus to get me off without me getting sick.  When I looked over at Lauren and she was white with sweat beads all over her face, I knew it was serious.

Well, God honored my pleas/screams for His mercy and we made it off without loosing our chimichangas.  #thankyouJesus

So now I had to scope out a ride that didn't spin me in any kind of circle whatsoever.
That pretty much left this one.   
"Atmos Fear"
We stood there watching it a few times first….I wasn't gonna be hasty after my last episode.
It slowly, slowly, slowly  goes up to the top.
And then it drops you.



I felt like I had to get my money's worth for my armband so I strapped myself in and went for it.
That's me and lauren in the front there.  The worst part of this is the slow ride up and the anticipation of knowing you are about to plummet to the ground at any second at a speed that is probably not smart. The drop only last for a couple of seconds but it was AWESOME!!
I rode it like 4 times!!
If I could have just done the drop without the climb, I probably would have done it 40 times!
video
That person you hear screaming/laughing is me.



So much fun.
So many memories.

When I have fun nights like this and one of my girls is not with me,  there is always a little part of me that aches for them…wishing they were here too.  I missed Elizabeth so much and could only imagine how much fun it would have been to experience this magical place through the eyes of my grandchildren.

But life is not to be spent pondering the "if onlys".
It's meant to enjoy each moment we've been given.
And that's what I did.
At the fair.
On a Tuesday night.

How about you?
Are fairs junky or magical in your book?
Do you ride the rides?
Have you ever had a romantic ferris wheel moment?

I'm dying to know.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Stitch Fix No. 13: "There's a first time for everything"

Somehow in the midst of life I got behind in sharing my fixes with y'all. Heavens…not just my fixes but things on my heart in general.  Maybe it was in-between moving one daughter to Florida or visiting another daughter and my grand kids in North Carolina.  I don't know how or when it happened.  But it did.

I'm trying to get caught back up.  Not so much that I think you're hanging on the edge of your seat in suspense,  but because I have so much I want to share in this strange_wonderful_sometimes lonely_ but mostly glorious season I'm in.  And also because this is Stitchfix stuff that was sent to me  in August and now it's October and  I'm ready to bust out some outfits with boots and tights and scarves.


So here is Fix # 13 in all it's glory.

I will be completely honest.  This is the first time in 13 fixes that I did not keep a single thing! gasp! I don't know if it was my frame of mind when the fix arrived or if I was just tired or what but I didn't "love" any one piece enough to splurge.  Fix #12 was my favorite and I kept every single piece so maybe it was just a hard fix to come behind…who knows.  However, looking back on some of the pictures, I'm wondering if I made the right choice.

First up was this black and white tie-died sweater.  I am not a fan of tie dye. At all. So I automatically turned my nose up to this before I even pulled it out the box.  But looking at the pictures, I'm kinda liking it. It was a very flattering cut and was super lightweight.  I really like it with the pop of blue too.



Next up was this high low top.
I kind of felt frumpy in this one.  Like maybe people might mistakenly think I was expecting.  Have you ever been asked when your baby was due when you weren't pregnant?  I have. And it's not my favorite. So I try to not wear clothes that are questionable. lol.


Then there was this dress.  First, what I loved about it was the color!  It was bright and vibrant.  I loved how comfortable it was and the length.  But what I didn't like was how clingy it was.  It was not very forgiving and if I had taken a pic from the side YOU might have asked me if I was expecting.

Next was this sleeveless top.  I wasn't crazy about the print. It had lace trim which was kinda cute. But this just didn't have any pizazz for me.  But I adore my vintage black pleated skirt that I thrifted a few months back.  I wear it with everything. It's like black yoga pants but much cuter.  It has an elastic waist and I love wearing it with my favorite tees.

The last piece was the one I wish I would have kept.  In fact I'm kind of sad looking at the pics.  If it had fit me a a tiny bit bigger, I would have kept it without hesitation.  I think it's unique and so versatile.  I adore the crochet overlay!  And I love the black and white stripes!

I just felt like it was a tad snug and I probably would not have been comfortable wearing it by itself.  I mean a cardi would like adorable with it but this top deserves to be worn alone so you can see all of it's cute elements it has going on all over.


Well, what do y'all think?
Should I have kept any of it?

Either way…it's SO much fun when that box shows up and I get to see what my stylists picked out for me.  Even though this was the first time in 13 fixes that I didn't keep a single thing, I still enjoyed being stretched to step outside my comfort zone and try on stuff I probably wouldn't have looked twice at in the store.  Returning everything was so hassle free.  I just popped it all in the postage paid bag they send with each fix and dropped it off at the post office.  Super easy..

Just click the "get started" button below if you'd like to check it out for yourself.




I gotta run.  I'm changing sheets on the bed getting my nest all fluffed for the return of one of my chicks for a few days.  That is always my favorite. I hope to share with you soon some of the things we get into while she's here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Purchasing with Purpose x2


If you've been following me for some time, then you already know about my love and admiration for Noonday Collection.  The idea that I can purchase amazing jewelry that I absolutely adore, knowing that my purchase it is literally changing lives of families on the other side of the world is incredible.  If you don't know much about Noonday and how they came about, I encourage you to go check it out here.  You will be blessed.
(This pic was taken last weekend on my trip with my besties.  We love Noonday y'all. Wish all of this was mine. Or that they lived close enough we could raid each other's collection on a regular basis. )

But the best blessing is that they allow you to host a trunk show to help support the wonderful_scary_expensive_amazing_journey for families who are adopting. Which means instead of receiving hostesses rewards, they will give your credit, in cash, to an adoptive family!!  So awesome.  Well, when our schedules worked out and I finally had a chance to host one (my awesome ambassador Emily is driving FIVE HOURS to come make this happen!),  I knew exactly whose adoption I wanted to support.

Years ago (as in 18 years ago), when Nick and I first moved to Meridian because of the Navy, we didn't know the Lord in a personal relationship yet.  But He began to work in our hearts and we ended up at an incredible church called Northcrest. It was there that Jesus interrupted our lives and rocked our worlds in the best kind of way.  He saved us and called Nick into ministry and our lives have never been the same!

The people of Northcrest will always have a special place in our hearts because it was there that the Lord grew us so much as He was preparing us for ministry.  And there was this adorable teenager that had a smile as big as Texas.  Her name was Jamie and I loved her and her momma from the get go.  Well, she has grown up now. She and her husband serve wholeheartedly there at Northcrest and I've been so blessed keeping up with how the Lord is working in their lives.  They have recently answered the call of adoption for their family and I am beyond excited for what the Lord is doing in their lives!   This child the Lord has created just for them has no idea what kind of fierce love he or she is about to experience.  I can't wait to watch it all unfold.  I asked Jamie if she would share a little of their story with me so I could share it with y'all.

After you read it, if you would like to be a part of bringing their baby home, you can shop the Noonday trunk show I will be hosting for her.  I will have the link at the end of the post!



J.D. and Jamie’s Adoption Story!


This is the first time I’ve written our adoption story. I’ve journaled a little here and there in order to remember the basics, but to be honest, this is the first time I’ve had the guts to sit down and look at the story as a whole. Adoption can intimidating, scary, beautiful, heart-breaking, fulfilling, lonely and lovely all at the same time. I suppose there are a lot of things in life that are that way. Thank you for caring enough about our little story to read this. In that way, you’ve made this less lonely, and I really appreciate that. Here goes!


The day I turned thirty, I begged the Lord for some direction. I had married the most wonderful man several years prior. I had a great job. I belonged to a life-giving church. I had wonderful friends. But
I lacked direction. I always thought by the time I turned thirty I would have a couple of little Ainsworth babes and a clear cut direction from the Lord. But I was listless, and kind of wandering. J.D. and I have a fantastic marriage, but the topic of children was a hard one for us. We were wading through are-we-or-aren’t-we ready territory. 


I can distinctly remember praying whole-heartedly. ”Lord, I just want to be yours, all in. Please give me a direction. A call. I want to answer you, whatever you want for my life, I want to do it.” It was a really simple prayer, but it was true. I look back at it now and almost laugh because I had NO IDEA what God was about to do in my life, J.D.’s life, and our marriage.

Don’t pray prayers you don’t mean. God will rock your world!  While praying that prayer, I waited to see what God what do. The desire to be wherever the Lord wanted me was starting to grow more and more, but I knew He’d show me what He wanted of me when the time was right. Then my friend Kaitlyn mentioned to me that she would be leading a group of people from my church to work in an orphanage in the Philippines.

It was like I woke up from a dream. I knew this was it. Yes, the Philippines is half way around the world. Scary! I don’t even like airplanes! But who cares?! I wasn’t missing it after I had begged for it! Convincing J.D. was a little harder, but ultimately he drove our team to Atlanta and put us on an airplane and there we went. 


The orphans, the street children, the beautiful people. I can’t explain how my heart felt when I first laid eyes on little Mikey, who was kept in isolation due to sickness. Or watched my teammate, Micah, pour his clean water into the mouths of street children like they were little baby birds. Or when I was allowed the honor of praying over a newborn baby. The list goes on and on. And every day, J.D. and I Skyped and he saw my face and surroundings, he heard my heart in my voice. I told him about the babies and the people. Being half way around the world from the love of my life was so hard. But so necessary for what God was doing in us as a family. 

When it was time to say goodbye to the Philippines and our orphanage babes, I was crushed. Will they find families for them? What will happen to them? What happens when they age out? Will I ever see them a!gain? Truly, I felt like my heart was being torn.  We arrived home on a Friday night, and I believe it was Sunday when J.D. said to me, “How do we get one of these kids? This is what God wants for us.” At least I’m pretty sure that’s what he said because I was screaming and jumping up and down inside. While I was in the Philippines, God had been working on his heart about orphans as well, and after praying together, we both knew this was IT. This was the way the Lord wanted us to start our family. I want to take this moment to be clear about something. This is our first choice. It’s possible that we could have biological children, but we KNOW that adoption is the call on our family, and we want to obey. Once that was clear to us, I wanted to SING! I wanted to tell EVERYONE! Was this sort of like pregnancy? It was going to be a long one.


That was mid-January. It was May before we had the money to start. Adoption is expensive, y’all. But let me tell you. Our adoption as sons and daughters of God was expensive too, but did He shy away from paying the price? No way. We know that God will never call us to do something He won’t provide for, and so far every single time we have needed to make a payment, He has provided. We have seen miracles where the money for this adoption is concerned. He has used people and avenues that we will be in awe of forever....just another part of the intricate and beautiful story. 
So...we prayed and called many agencies and finally we chose Christian Adoption Services, located in North Carolina. Our social worker, Jenica, has been very kind and helpful. She has helped us complete our dossier and send it to the Philippines. We also had to have a contract home study done by Lifeline Children’s Services. Our social worker there is Mrs. Vicki, and she’s wonderful! We joke and say that she is family, because she literally knows more about us than our family. There are so very many things you have to do to adopt a child....and every bit is absolutely worth it. A few of those things are: many home visits, psychological evals, health evals, adoption classes with testing, books to read, many sets of fingerprints, every question you can think of about every part of your finances/marriage/childhood/family, background checks, and your middle school best friend’s name. (Just kidding about that last one, I think.) Currently, we have completed our dossier and it is in the Philippines. We have no idea how long it will be before we get a referral. It could be a long time. 

There have been moments on this journey that my heart has soared, and there have been moments that my heart has broken. J.D. has been a rock and I’ve been really thankful that God put me with him. I can’t say enough about his gentle spirit. All this waiting can be really hard on a future mama’s heart, and there have been times I’ve been pretty stressed out. Basically, adoption is a big ole unknown, like most things in life. But, I KNOW that the Lord has set us on this path. He has already answered my prayers. We LOVE Him. And we TRUST Him.



Oh my goodness!  Isn't it wonderful and inspiring to see people step out in faith and trust God?  I am so honored to have a small part in helping build their faith in how God is providing for their adoption every step of the way!  Even through something such as jewelry and fashion!  God is so creative!

If you are local to the Meridian area and would like to join me on Saturday, Oct 11th for the trunk show, please email me (honeyholden25@gmail.com) or send me and message on Facebook and I'll give you all of the details.  Jamie will be just getting home from her mission trip to the Philippines so I can only imagine how special this time will be!


If you aren't local but would like to purchase something to help support Jamie and J.D.'s adoption just click here and then choose HOLDEN for the trunk show and they will get the credit.  It is such a great way to get a little Christmas shopping done while you are purchasing with purpose times two! Such a blessing.  Please make your purchases by next Saturday so that they will get the credit.

I'm praying that God does exceedingly above all that I could ever think or ask for on behalf of the Ainsworth family!  He is able!
Ephesians 3:20

Thank y'all so much!  Y'all are the best.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stitch Fix No.12

I've been dying to share with y'all what I got in my 12th fix which marked my one year anniversary with Stitch Fix!  And ironically, one year ago today is when I shared my very first blog post about it.   My goodness.  I love looking back and seeing how my taste has evolved and my look has changed over this past year.  I think that has come with finally learning to be comfortable in my own skin.  I'm loving my 40's.  I'm loving getting on track with my health and grasping the fact that our body "flaws"are exactly what make us unique and beautiful. I'm at the age where I've learned to just accept certain things that are inevitable.  Crows feet, loose skin, gray hair, pouchy areas….I could keep going but I think you get it.  I mean don't get me wrong, I'm not just "letting it all hang out", lol,  but I'm good with them.  I'm taking better care of myself now than I've ever had before and I've made some major changes in the way we eat and exercise around here.  I'm at a place of really appreciating this "shell" the Lord has given me for a season.  This temporary tent I have as I'm passing through.   In short…I like what I see now when I look in the mirror!  Not in a vain way but from an appreciative heart seeing my reflection in an eternal light.  And it is really liberating!  This new freedom spills over into the way I dress now and that confidence makes my true style shines through.

I also think that this year of receiving boxes filled with clothes from a total stranger whose job is simply to style me even though she doesn't know a thing about me other than my body measurements and all the outward stuff has been really interesting…in the best kind of way.   It has encouraged me to try new things that I never would have before.   And 9 out of 10 times I liked the look.  More than anything though,  through answering the questions in my profile so they can "get a feel for who I am" and as I've had to be descriptive in my explanation as to why I did like the clothes I kept and I why I didn't like the clothes I sent back, it has helped me to really focus on my style and not just fashion. There is a major difference.  I've discovered that one good piece of clothing that is quality and fits great and makes you feel great wearing it, is better than a handful of trendy pieces that will be dated this time next year.  It has been a fun journey.  You can check them all out if you'd like to.
 (my hair has evolved along with my style. lol
Fix 1234 567891011

   Fix number 12  was my favorite of all my fixes.  I loved everything my stylist chose for me.

First up (and my absolute favorite) is this gray boyfriend tee.
I know it looks plain jain but I wear it with everything.  It's got a dressy, kind of stretchy fabric and it's a little longer in the back.  I love it!


I threw this kimono on with it to dress it up a bit.
And yes, I totally still wear my white jeans after Labor Day.


  I love the simplicity of this look but with a little fun on my feet.



Next up was this coral pink open cardigan.  
Honestly, this was my least favorite thing as I was pulling them out of the box.  I thought it was ho-hum and not anything to write home about….that is until I tried it on.
It is super comfortable and very flattering.  I love the fabric. It's a bit stretchy and it's a little on the fitted side.  At first, I didn't think I liked the fact it has short sleeves but actually I LOVE that it does now that I've been mixing it up with stuff in my closet. It's perfect in the summer heat when you want to wear a little something more over your tank top.  
This is just another example of why it's so fun to have a stylist.  
I would have never looked twice at this, much less tried it on.


The third piece in the fix was this embroidered tunic.
I adore it! It can be worn a ton of ways. The denim vest is from a previous fix. It's probably the 80's in me but I throw that little baby on with all kinds of stuff.  I also like it with the shrug too.  I'm think it's gonna look so cute with boots…which I will be busting out soon by the way!
The fourth piece was the black leggings I'm wearing.  I love that she sent something so practical too.  These are great quality and they hold me in in all the right places. 

I wore it here with jeans.
I also recommend having a cute grand daughter at your side.  That immediately makes everybody look cute.   :)

And the last thing was this top. It has crochet right down the middle of it.
I tried it on here with a shrug so I can wear it into the fall….

But my favorite look for the top is this.  And I miss my tan.

Oh hey hot  husband/photographer of mine.
Ain't he a cutie?
Sometimes we match. Not on purpose. But I think it's cute when it happens.  Like this day.

Well what do you think? 
 Did you love what my stylist chose for me as much as I did?
I thought she nailed it.  



If you'd like to try it out yourself, you can click here to get all the details. Or email me with any questions. (honeyholden25@gmail.com)  In a nutshell it works like this. A personal stylist will select five pieces of clothing and accessories based upon your profile that you fill out.  You pay $20 for your stylists services.   If you keep any of the items, the $20 will be credited to the cost of what you decide to keep.  If you don't like any of it, you pop it all back into a postage paid bag they provide and send it back in the mail within 3 days. The stylist will then keep the $20.  It's easy peasy.

Another cool thing is that you can earn referral credit and build up enough credit to purchase your clothes!   It won't hurt my feelings if you use my referral when you sign up.  But if you don't, that will be ok too.  I'll still love you. xxoo



    
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