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Friday, March 18, 2016

Stitchfix No. 32

For all the inquiring minds who love to see what's inside that box with the pretty teal circle...
Behold. I give you Fix 32.

I've been giving my stylist, Catherine, a run for her money.  I'm in between sizes and stuff that used to work for me doesn't work so well now.  I've gotten kinda picky because I'm only keeping the stuff I really really love.  My hashtag I created on instagram is catching on...#lovingwhatwewearandwearingwhatwelove.  I only want to wear stuff that makes me feel my best when I'm in it.  She's really listening hard though and paying attention.

This fix was good. But the one I got in the mail a couple of days ago is REALLY good.  I'll be sharing it in a few days to be caught up.

Sooo... this is February's fix.

First these jeans.  I like them and they were so comfortable.
I kept them but am totally regretting that choice. Here's why..

You know that wonderful, magical stretch fabric that I rave about in all their jeans? Well it's not so wonderful if the jeans are a tad too big.  I spend the majority of my time pulling them  up when I wear them.  Ughh.  I knew I was taking a chance but I never dry any of my jeans at any time, so I thought throwing these babies in the dryer would shrink them up perfectly.

It didn't. They fit nice for the first couple of hours and then they stretch out and it's tug of war for the rest of the day.  I've already lost some weight since these pics were taken so the situation is even worse.

Win some lose some.

but lets talk about this top.

It was a keeper.  I love the colors and love how comfortable and casual it is yet still put together.
I can see it with white denim skinnies and flip flops real soon.

And it has tabbed sleeves so you can wear them up or down.

Next was this top which I knew before I tried it on that I wasn't keeping it.
I'm not a fan of the poplar pico tops... at least on me anyways.  Some of you ladies look darling in them.  The fabric is not forgiving and shows everything underneath.

Loved the color but I sent it back.

Next was this sweater.  I had asked for some of those oversized, super comfortable boyfriend cardigans or long duster sweaters.

She sent this and it wasn't exactly what I had in mind.
It's cute and all but I was wanted longer, bigger and softer.
This was a lot like cardigans and sweaters I already have so I sent it back.

This necklace was gifted to me and I feel the need to share it's awesomeness before I move on.
It's a vintage whistle with an old hammered out coin with "live loud" stamped on it.
I wear it ALL the time. (thank you Tara. xxoo)  It's such a great reminder to me of that passage in Psalm 40

"He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.  He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see what He has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the  Lord."  Psalm 40:2-3
Love it!  He's given me a new song and I want to sing it and live it loud!

And the last piece in my fix was this cardigan sweater.
It wasn't exactly what I was asking for either but I liked that it had a lapel on a sweater.
It made it unique and a little funky.

I wore this and my SDJ tee to speak to a group of women last month about God's grace in my life and family.  I love sharing my story that He is writing in my life and I praise Him each morning that He's not finished.

Well there you have it.  Fix number 32 in all it's glory.
I kept three out five.  Not bad.

One awesome new thing about Stitch Fix that I want to mention before I go....

They now offer SHOES!!!

Woo hoo!  And not just any old shoes.  The good stuff.
They even carry TOMS.  SO make sure you go spruce up your style profile and let them know what styles you might want to have in your next fix.

And as always, If you'd like to know more about having your own stylist for $20 a month that will be credited towards anything you keep from your fix, then click the link below. You send anything you don't like back in a postage paid bag.  So much fun.

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated for this post. But as always, I only share things I truly love and I give honest opinions about my experiences  and the products I share.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Meet the Stevens Family

I love how God burdens our hearts with new things as He writes our stories and our seasons change. I have always admired families who adopt children.  And I've always thought women who choose life for their babies and make the ultimate sacrifice to give them up for adoption are the most courageous women on earth. But I've never been involved or would consider myself an advocate for the orphan or the families who have been called to adopt them.  

Until now.

In the last several years, the community of friends the Lord has surrounded me with is saturated with the call to adopt.  I went from only having a few friends in my life who had adopted or were adopted to having dozens and dozens.  And that is awesome. I began to support these friends as often as I could. I mean, it was the right thing to do. And I'm a nice person.

And then He crossed my path with Tyler and Erica and sweet Evie Joy and my life was forever changed.  I saw first hand the beauty of adoption.  The process of what all these families go through.  The sacrifices, the blessings, the scary stuff, the hard stuff and the WONDERFUL stuff.  Nick and I both know that the Lord has not called us to adopt a child ourselves but He HAS called us to advocate for the orphan and the families who are adopting them.

This is why I have an extensive t-shirt collection.  hashtag... adoption fundraiser favorite.  And this is ONE of the reasons I love hosting Noonday trunk shows.  Noonday Collection's very foundation is built on the love for adoption. You can read about the founder, Jessica and her family here.

But Noonday not only supports families who are adopting, they support families all around the world by creating jobs for artisans who make the jewelry itself.   It's such an incredible company with whom I am so proud to stand beside and lock arms with and give my support. You can a little taste of what they are about here.

So with all of that said.... I want to introduce you to The Stevens...Casey and Chesney. 

  Chesney is young enough to be my daughter.  In fact the reason I know Chesney is because she is friends with Lydia and Marcus (my daughter and son-in-law).  I was so tickled when I discovered they were adopting and knew I wanted to help them in any way I can.  (By the way, When you purchase anything through our Noonday Trunk show, 20% of all sales will go directly to their adoption fund.  It's such a blessing and easy way to support them.)

I asked her  to share a little bit of her heart as to how they knew the Lord had called them to adopt.  Here is what she shared.....  

The journey of adoption is exhausting, joyful, frustrating, uplifting, hard, and whatever other words you want to throw in there. It’s a lot like your story, I am sure. Different, yes of course, but in so many ways its the same. That is one of the most valuable things I’ve been learning in this - that me and you, we are a lot more connected than the world wants us to believe.

Yes, we may from the outside have completely different lives. You may be the mother of five children and I am struggling to have one, or you may be 18 and marriage/children are the furtherest thing from your mind, or well you may be well past the child bearing years & you are still searching for so many answers. But in each of these stories lies so much goodness. So much to learn for each of us. Because struggling and waiting, though they are hard, are two common threads that the Lord ties us together with.

But for now, though I long to know your story, honestly, here in these moments I am going to let you in on my journey and where we are in bringing home our child from Kyrgyzstan.

First off, let me tell you about how we began this adoption process & why Kyrgyzstan. (read more about it here)

I don’t remember this one moment in my life where I was drawn to adoption, rather it seems as if the desire to adopt has always been there, like a fundamental part of who I am. Of course, a desire like that can’t come from myself, but only from the Lord. I believe He has written adoption into the hearts of his children. Ephesians tells us, “In love he predestined us for adoption as sons, through Jesus Christ..” As his children, I believe both Casey’s & my desire to adopt comes from being adopted into His family.

So, why Kyrgyzstan? (Go, look at a map, its over there squeezed under Kazakhstan & beside China).

Sometime around 3 years ago our church “adopted” a UUPG (unengaged, unreached people group) through the IMB. Our church chose a people group of Central Asia that has close ties with Kyrgyzstan. In these years of supporting this effort to engage & reach these people we have been drawn to them. Praying for these people to know Christ, learning about their culture, and sending members of our church to live among them.

When we began to research countries to adopt from and Kyrgyzstan came up, we quickly knew where the Lord would have us bring our child home from.

We are currently two months shy of a year of being fully immersed in adoption - paperwork, approvals, homestudy, fundraising, dossier, and more fingerprinting than any law abiding citizen should have.

May - December of this past year was a “hurry-up and wait” season of life for us. Then January came and a season of full on waiting came - and well, we are still sitting in that season. There is no more paperwork, there are no more approvals needed, we are waiting to be matched with a child! There isn’t much of a timeline of when we will be matched. Actually, there is no timeline at all. We simply wait, eagerly anticipating the day we receive an email with the picture of a face that will change our lives forever. Whether that is in six weeks or six months, is in the Lord’s plan.

When we first announced our adoption I talked a lot about adoption and its direct relation to the gospel. How nothing that I have ever done deserves the love and affection of God. Yet each and every day He shows me grace, He provides every need, & I remain adopted. How beautiful it is and will be when we have our child home, fully ours - no matter what he/she does, he will be our child. Just as I am Gods, he will be ours.

How my heart longs already that this child will know their Creator. My most fervent prayer for our child is that his/her heart is being drawn towards our Savior. That they will know even in all of the chaos of their present life, there is a God who loves and cares deeply about him/her. A God who will provide family, a mom & dad (us!), at just the right time.

I pray that for our child & I pray that for myself. That I will trust the sovereignty of my Savior to provide for us our child at just the right time. But until then, we hold fast to our own adoption through Jesus Christ as we seek to glorify the Father in our waiting.

“Rejoice in hope,  be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Thank you for letting me share a glimpse of our story. More than anything we need your prayers. We have been so very encouraged by the prayers & words of so many - thank God for the gift of His church!

Thank YOU Casey for giving us a glimpse of what the Lord is up to in your lives!  He's writing a beautiful story and it's a blessing watching it unfold. And thank you for allowing us an opportunity to have a small part of what God is doing.  

If you would like to support her adoption AND support families in other parts of the world through fair trade and incredible unique jewelry, then please use click HERE and go get ya some Noonday. 20% of all sales will go directly to their adoption fund. 

Also, we've created a FaceBook page where I am sharing daily pics and ideas of all the ways I wear and style my own collection of Noonday...(which has unashamedly grown to be a pretty extensive collection over the last few years.)  If you'd like an invite,  please friend me on Facebook (Stephanie Cooper Holden) and send me a DM letting me know you would like an invitation)

Thank YOU!! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Getting my Fix on

I've honestly lost count what number fixes these are.  Like 27 and 28 or something. These are the ones I received in December and January and if you follow along on Instagram with me then you know about my hashtag #wearingwhatweloveandlovingwhatweweare.  It's basically me sharing my journey of enjoying myself, my appearance, and my reflection in the mirror right now and not 25 lbs from now.  Don't get me wrong,  Nick and I are working on our health...those extra pounds we have put on over the last several months with all the traveling and holidays and whatever.  But I made the decision to extend myself grace and not be critical of the "fluffy" me right now.  To free myself up to accept and love and enjoy the journey.  We can beat ourselves up easily when we go to throw on those favorite pair of jeans and they no zipbutton up.  I don't want to live frustrated and mad at myself.  So I'm not.

And thus began #wearingwhatweloveandlovingwhatwewear.  My new rule of thumb is, if it doesn't make me feel confident then I don't wear it.  Our clothes should be an extension of what's going on inside of our hearts.  Godly confidence and His joy..being content with how He created what pulls any outfit together and makes someone look amazing.
Not the brand. Not the trend of the week.  Not how much or how little it costs.  

So while I'm doing temple maintenance on this old body of mine, I'm for sure keeping my eye on the prize but I'm also gonna enjoy the journey. And I'm blown away by so many ladies who are joining me!  Those who have been encouraged to quit being their own worse critics.  Ladies who, like me, are changing lanes....and instead of getting frustrated over the fact that favorite outfit no longer looks great on, they are finding what works for their bodies right now and working it for all it's worth.  Celebrating feeling good about our appearance and having a heart of gratitude for all the Lord is doing in our lives.

Whew.  I just love it.
So with all that said.  Here are my last two fixes combined.  What I kept and what I sent back. 

First up are these jeans. I've said it before but I'll say it again....I don't know how they do it but their jeans are THE BEST.  They always have the right amount of stretch to them and they are the most comfortable jeans I own.  I almost always keep the jeans they send.  And they are like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants....jeans I bought from two years ago STILL fit me...even with 20 extra pounds. It's crazy or magic or something.  I can't figure it out but I love them.  Just about every pair of pants or jeans you see in my posts on Instagram came from Stitch Fix.  I love them.

And these distressed flare jeans are no exception. 

They have that magic stretch in them and they are high waisted. #holla!
And the color denim is perfect.  I requested a blue denim pair after receiving a pair of black denim that is pictured below.  My stylist, Catherine, listened and I couldn't be happier.  (The vest on the right is from a fix a couple of months ago. I think November's fix and it was the only thing I kept that month.)

Next up is this cobalt trench coat.  I LOVE the color and it's a comfortable, stretchy jersey kind of material.  Perfect weight for our mild winters around here in the south.  This came in my December fix and I almost didn't keep it because it was a little on the big side.  But I loved the color and comfort so much I went for it.   It wasn't very expensive so when it gets too big, I won't feel bad about passing it on for someone else to enjoy.

This top though!!  This is the perfect example of "don't knock it til you try it on".  I wasn't crazy about it in the box.  But when I tried it la la.  I LOVED it.  It compliments my hair color and matches my favorite lipstick to the T.  (Revlon Siren)   I'm so  glad I tried it on.

This next top came in January's fix.  I LOVED it too!  I love the color and the tassels and I thought it flattered my figure.  I really felt great in it.  But sadly, I didn't keep it.   It was a little pricey and I had already kept the top above from the previous fix  and the cobalt blue one below.  So regretfully, I sent it back. Such a bummer

This next one came in December's fix and I loved the color but wasn't 100% about the fit.  I shouldn't have kept it not being totally in love with it.  Then I could have snagged the one that came in January's fix.   But overall, It's a great top.

These are the black denim flares that I loved so much in December's fix.  Super comfortable, high on my waist which holds me in where I need it with just enough stretch.  These are what prompted me to ask for the blue denim's that I love so much.

This little top is from a fix this time last year and I still love it.  In fact, I wore it on my first plane ride when my grand daughter, Hazel was born.  She has her first birthday next week and I can't believe how time has flown.  Like I'm not even kidding.  My necklace is also from a previous fix and is still a favorite of mine.

This cardigan was in January's fix and it was not a keeper. It was cute and I could definitely pair it with a lot in my closet but I it had no wow factor and I didn't love it. So I didn't keep it.

And last was this dress.  I went round and round trying to decide if I was gonna keep it.  It was a great price and I needed a new dress or two that was this length....PERFECT length.  But again...I didn't love it.  So I didn't keep it. 
(My stylist also sent me a GORGEOUS kelly green dress with crotchet overlay that was beautiful but alas, it didn't fit me in any of the right places...not even enough to snap a quick pic.)

So. This top and these jeans. They were hands down my favorite two pieces from the two fixes.  
And I think it shows on my face.  

What I love so much about Stitch Fix is how well my stylist, Catherine, has listened to me.  I shared with her my trouble places on my body that I now need to choose the right clothes to cover and flatter and she has consistently listened and followed through.

I can't wait to see what she has in store for this month.

If you're interested in getting a little box full of fun delivered to your door from your very own personal stylist, then just click the banner below.



Friday, January 22, 2016

My Daughter's Journey to Health and Wellness

People ask me often what it is like to be the mom to grown daughters.  And I always tell them the same thing... It's amazing. The relationships shift and we become best friends,  and in some ways "peers".... just women trying our best to honor Jesus, love our husbands well and raise our children to the best of our abilities.  Once they are married, there is a transfer of leadership that takes place.  Their husband's are now the ones who lead them and they are their own team now...making decisions together and bearing all the responsibility.   I get to be their cheerleader.  Their encourager. Their sounding board.  And their prayer warrior.  The concern and worry for them never goes away but it does take on a different dynamic.

I love being the mom of daughters.  I love this season we are experiencing together. I love seeing fruit of years of labor as they build their own nests and raise their own families.  I can see some of my victories being emulated as well as some of my struggles in their lives as wives.   But I am also learning so much from them.  They are teaching me many things as well as I watch them in their own callings and roles the Lord has given them.

My oldest daughter is one of the most amazing moms I know. She would never describe herself in that way but she really is.  She will always go the extra mile for anyone in need and she has done that for her own family. When finding herself in a very hard season, she didn't throw in the towel. She struggled at times but she went the extra mile and found the answers to what she needed...what worked for her and her family to help her overcome a season of depression and be the wife and mom God created her to be.   

I asked her to share her journey here.  I've seen with my own eyes the difference her choices have made for her personally and for their family.  She is teaching me so much in the area of health and wellness by choosing natural methods over what I've always known and done.

Maybe you will glean a nugget or two yourself.....

The following words are from Elizabeth as she shares a little of her journey.

I was done.
Feelings of hopelessness, immense inadequacy, worthlessness, and self-hatred plagued my heart.
Most of my days were spent lying in bed while fatigue ruled my life.
Deep sadness would suck me into this deep, dark hole, which I found so much easier to stay in than have to do the extra work to dig myself out.
I would remain there for days..weeks..months even.
My mind and body were continuously at war with one another never in agreement.
I mean, how could they be? I was sick. My mind was sick. My body was sick.
Which obviously only trickled down into every other area of my life.
My walk with the Lord and everyone I loved and cared for suffered, and that genuinely pained my heart above anything else.
I was miserable, and I wanted out.
Something had to change.

I married my high school sweetheart very young, and the Lord graciously (and surprisingly) blessed us with children shortly after. One after the other they came, turning our world upside down and filling our hearts to the brim. Giving our life such joy and purpose, which was truly indescribable. The only problem was my body took a beating. I didn't nurture and take care of it like I should have, so each new pregnancy stripped me of more and more of the nutrients my body needed to function optimally. It was after my precious Julia Rose, that my body started to go down hill. We had just moved to a new state, started serving at a new church, and had a new baby along with a small toddler who was basically still a baby herself. All the change was a bit overwhelming, and I started to spiral quickly. I got pregnant with Nate only 5 months later, and then eventually we moved to another state for Chris to further his education. It all just slowly took its toll on me for several years to follow, and thats when I hit rock bottom. I literally hated the person who had taken up residence in my body.

You see, all I have ever wanted to do is serve the Lord and my family well.
To love and honor my husband, to nurture and care for my children, and to serve Gods people.
And all I felt like was a big fat loser.
Every day I had to carefully choose what I did that particular day fearing if I over-exerted myself, I would reap great consequences in the days to follow.
It took a ridiculous amount of willpower to even muster up the strength to feed my kids daily.
I knew deep down my worth was not bound by how good of a mother I was or not, but the internal struggle I fought deep within made me feel otherwise.

I was on medicine. Had been, on and off, for 3 1/2 years.
I was tired of the way it made me feel. Sure, it helped me. It really did at times. But the side effects were unreal.
I felt crazy, unstable, and out of control. I was tired of the roller coaster I had been riding for too many years. It just wasnt worth it.
It felt like I was just putting a bandaid on a gaping wound. A wound so deep, I feared could never be healed. I wanted to get to the root of the issue.
My greatest fear was this was my new normal. This was going to be the way I was forever.
I was back to square one, and thats when I started searching.

Essential oils had just started to surface more widespread, and I was starting to see oil posts pepper my IG and FB feeds here and there. Im a curious gal, so they intrigued me greatly.
But let me just tell you, I was skeptical of those little boogers. I mean, how could they possibly work like everybody was talking about? I was a true hopeful skeptic. Hopeful that they would work for our family, but totally skeptical they they actually would.
Our kids were constantly sick. I had 3 at the time, and they passed everything between each other. We were struggling financially, and I was the worst Ive ever been in my post-partum journey. Thats when I knew this was THE time to make a change.

I had a strong desire to live more naturally, but I would have never called myself a naturalist.  In fact, I was far from it. I wanted to come off of my medicine, and I knew I needed to eat healthier and exercise, but remember I could barely get out of bed! How was I going to have the energy and stamina to cook healthy meals?
I couldnt.
But I knew I needed to take a step. Even if it was just a baby step.
And essential oils were that next step for our family. I knew I could DO that. It was an easy way to start implementing changes in a small, practical way that could have the potential to produce BIG results.

So out of the blue, I asked my parents for the Young Living Premium Starter Kit for Christmas as our family gift, because I knew it would benefit all of us!
Still skeptical and with Chris thinking I had gone a little crazier than I already was, we took the leap of faith.
We did it.
It was our diving board into a great big pool of health and wellness.

That kit is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
It literally changed our lives.
And I dont take that phrase lightly, but its true. Oils have been life-changing for our family. YL essential oils have set us on a path I promise we would have never been on if we had not taken the plunge with the kit. And I will forever be grateful.

My kids are sick MUCH less. Its very rare that they are, and if they do get sick, its typically pretty short-lived. Because oils are so versatile, we pretty much use them for everything you can think of. You name it Building the immunity, respiratory support, hormonal support, aiding the digestive system, teething, upset tummies, carsickness, anxious feelings, skincare, perfume, lotions, bath salts, dishes, laundry, hand soap, cleaning, and so much more.

But like I always say, oils are just a huge puzzle piece in striving for optimal wellness. And because of being on this journey of wellness, we have been able to eliminate the chemicals and toxins in our home all the way from our cleaning supplies, skincare, laundry, to our toothpaste.

Which has only led us now to taking charge of our nutrition. You remember how I talked about how I barely had the energy to feed my family? Well, we are in the middle of Whole30 right now, and Im feeling better than I have ever felt in my ENTIRE life. Im cooking 3 meals a day from scratch with enough energy to last for days.
Yall, Im literally in tears right now as I type this. Im overwhelmed with gratitude. Did you hear me when I said I am cooking 3 meals a day for my family? This may seem trivial to some, but to me.. its everything.

You see, I remember vividly where I was (broken, tattered, and beaten down), and where I am today.
And that is no coincidence, friends. I dont take for granted how much has changed in our family. Yes, it has taken work, but its been small, simple steps over the course of two years that are going to have life-long lasting effects.

Jesus mostly definitely healed my body, but He used several tools to do it with.
And for that, Im forever grateful.

What are your health goals? What are you struggling with today? Maybe for you your first step is eliminating chemicals? Maybe you start by taking charge of your nutrition? Or maybe you are like I was, and you just dont know where to start, but you want to start somewhere?

The key is to start. Take that step. Even if its a baby step.

One of my favorite quotes lately, is one from Lara Casey, and one I have told myself time and time again the past several weeks doing Whole30 is,
She believed she couldnt, so HE did.

Let me know how I can be praying for you today as we start to seek the Lord on how to honor Him by taking care of our temples. These old bodies are His anyways. Lets get them working the best we can, so that we may glorify and serve HIM with every fiber of our being!

 Amen!  She is such an inspiration to me.  I am rejoicing with her over cooking for her family.  I know what a victory that is for her.  And having all the energy to do it. I am so encouraged and inspired by their commitment to Whole30 and the results they are enjoying from clean eating.  I love that my grand kids are being taught how to fuel their bodies instead of feeding their faces.  I've seen the benefits of essential oils firsthand in their family and I am blessed by Elizabeth's desire to give her family her very best.   

If you have any questions about any of it please send her an email at 

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