Calling all coffee lovers! I finally made it to the new Starbucks Reserve coffee bar and I must say, it's worth the hype. Read more to find out why.
Yesterday, it rained. All day.
My husband and I made use of the rainy weather by staying inside and cleaning up our home. Later in the day, I faced the rain and went out to Starbucks for some quiet time and reading. (By the way, I tried a pumpkin chai tea latte as suggested by the barista and it was delicious!) I decided not to take my laptop, which I usually never go to Starbucks without, and simply brought my bible and favorite book: Beauty Will Save the World by Brian Zahnd. In chapter 2, “The Greatest Wonder of All,” he shares a glorious moment he had atop a mountain. As he took a moment to breathe and bask in the beauty that surrounded him, a deer came alongside him and his antlers formed a perfect frame to the sunset. It was a moment of glorious wonder that he said he will never forget.
As I read the story, I could only image how beautiful that sight must have been. My imagination ran wild as I tried to place myself in his viewpoint, visualizing a mountaintop sunset framed by brown antlers. What a sight that must have been. After I finished reading, I headed home and noticed that there was a festival going on in my city. A large ferris wheel was going round and round and the tents covered the street to keep the goods dry. Amidst the rain, the contrast of flashing lights from the fair rides was an interesting contrast to behold. Is this my “wonder moment”? I thought. I parked alongside the festival gate and snapped a few photos of the scene with my iPhone. I used various filters on Instagram to enhance the shots, but didn’t care for the mood that was captured.
I continued home and prepared to go out again to the grocery store with my family. After about an hour and lots of team work, my husband and I completed our shopping trip and headed outside. As we looked into the sky, we were captivated by the most beautiful, bright, full rainbow we had ever seen. We gasped as we beheld this unexpected display of glorious wonder amidst an ordinary Sunday afternoon. Customers all throughout the parking lot were taking photos and gazing into the sky, grocery carts pushed aside as the priorities of the evening were delayed in this moment of divine beauty. THIS was my wonder moment.
As I beheld the rainbow, this thought entered my heart:
The promise is worth the rain.
Every rain drop that fell from the sky throughout the day was worth the display of the magnificent rainbow. I want you to know that the rain in your life will be worth the rainbow that’s coming. Although storms seem to last forever, and there seems to be no end in sight, there is a promise on the other side of your storm.
Hebrews 6:13-14 tells us that God gave Abraham a promise and swore by Himself, because there was nothing higher to swear by, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you and multiplying I will multiply you.” Psalm 12:6-7 tells us that the words of the Lord are pure, like silver tried in a furnace purified seven times and that He will keep His words and preserve them forever. We all have received promises from God, spoken directly to our hearts and found within His word. God is not a man that He should lie, and He’s not toying with our emotions. If He said He'll do it, He will do it! The question is, are we willing to wait? There’s that gap of time between when God spoke and when the promise manifests when we must trust God and not allow impatience and murmuring delay the process. Hebrews 6:15 tells us that after Abraham patiently endured he received the promise.
In Psalm 27, titled An Exuberant Declaration of Faith, David proclaims,
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (vs. 16-17).
My encouragement to you (and myself) today is not to lose heart! Don’t try to make a “wonder moment” happen by creating your own promise in a time of impatience, as I did with the ferris wheel photo. God is bringing your promise in His timing. A promise that will be worth every teardrop of rain we’ve cried and every loud roaring storm that we’ve endured. In the meantime, our job is to stand firm by faith, patiently endure and wait for God. The promise is coming. The rainbow is worth the rain.
Leave Your Beauty Mark
Fashion's Night Out 2011 here in the DFW area was a great success. From Northpark Center to Galleria Dallas, fashion enthusiasts across the city united for a fun night of shopping and entertainment. Here's a recap of how I spent my night! What I wore:
Honestly, I had the hardest time deciding what to wear for the night. Fun tee and feather skirt? All black? Color blocks? Dress? Pants? Skinny jeans? I looked at pictures of what people wore last year and even checked out a few blog posts on what to wear. Finally, with the help of my husband and mom, I decided on this simple, classy outfit. Stylish and modest are always my style goals.
I did some research on each venue and chose to attend the FNO festivities at the Southlake Town Square, an outdoor shopping center in Southlake, TX. The location was close to home and my mom and I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather, so we knew it would be a great place to spend our night. Upon our arrival, I must admit that I was slightly surprised by the small crowd and lack of "hype". As we drove farther into the center, we saw that a crowd had gathered to see a fashion show that was going on. We parked and watched the show and then I took a picture on the FNO red carpet. Loved that.
What we did:
We started at Sephora where they were doing some makeup tutorials and offered refreshments from a local restaurant. We spent some time talking to the makeup artists and I was able to snag a pic with the lovely Stila cosmetics ladies. (Hello, Dani, if you're reading this!) I love Stila's Brown Sugar Lip Glaze, by the way. It's a little pricey for my taste but it's the perfect nude color for my skin tone. I usually request a new tube on my Christmas list each year.
After Sephora, we walked to Lemongrass Salon & Spa. On the way there, since they laid out the red carpet all throughout the shopping center, I snagged a fun photo of mom!
Now, I must say, my experience at Lemongrass Salon & Spa was the best part of our night. We both received a complimentary neck & back massage and were treated like queens. The staff was incredibly friendly and Nikki (our massage therapist) did a fabulous job. I had no idea how bad I needed that! They also had great refreshments including chocolate-covered strawberries, grapes, cheese and crackers and water with fruit floating in the jar. It was delicious. They also had hair care demonstrations and gave a goody bag of makeup and beauty product samples to each shopper. Well done, Lemongrass.
Our final stop for the evening was at Vera Bradley, and man is that place decorated to a T! I could live in there! Anyways, we saw some shoppers throughout the event carrying Very Bradley eco-friendly shopping bags and they told us that they were giving them away for free at the Vera Bradley store after you complete a handbag design sheet. So, like any free-stuff-loving shopper, we headed over fast. We sat down at the style workshop center in the store and spent at least 30 minutes working on our handbag designs using the colored pencils and rulers that they provided. After our designs were complete, we admired each other's creativity and went to the register to hand in our designs and get our free bags. Sadly, the associate notified us that they had just ran out and gave us some compact mirrors instead. We were disappointed to say the least, but the compacts were cute and featured patterns from this season's new designs. Here's a look at the handbags we designed.
My final verdict on FNO:
All in all, we had a great time together and were able to mingle with other ladies throughout the night. This was the first time that we had a mother/daughter night out as just the two of us since the baby was born! We got massages, free goodies, ideas on what to wear this fall from the fashion show and walked the red carpet. I would definitely suggest marking your calendar for next year and planning to go out with the special ladies in your life for FNO. It's a great opportunity to get dressed up and have some fun! Although there are some exclusive offers in the stores, you don't have to spend money. You can just browse around, get ideas for your fall wardrobe and make it a fun girl's night out with your Bible study group! My mother and I look forward to making this an annual mother and daughter tradition, and one day take Grace along with us!
Ideas/ Suggestions for next year:
Here are 7 tips that I formulated based on my experience at FNO and what I plan to incorporate into and consider for next year's plans:
1. Go out to eat before or after the event
Make a night of it! This year, I cooked and ate at home. Eating out would cost money, but if planned ahead of time it would really make the night fun. It would also keep you from devouring the refreshment platters!
2. Plan your outfit ahead of time
Try on various outfits and consider the following:
a. It's an evening event so incorporate colors/fabrics/patterns that are appropriate for night
b. What will the weather be like?
c. What styles are in for fall?
d. What do I feel most stylish & comfortable in?
3. Wear comfy shoes (I suggest wedge heels) or pack a pair of flats in your purse.
Keep in mind that no matter where you're spending your night, you are guaranteed to be doing a lot of walking.
4. Review the event calendar of the venue that you will be going to.
Select the top stores/ events that you want to attend and find out where they are located. This will save you a lot of time during the evening and ensure that you do the things that you really want to do.
Depending on where you're going, there may be a lot of traffic and difficulty parking, not to mention the possible parking fees! You're not always guaranteed parking spots near each other so this will make things so much easier, plus it's good for the environment! Turn up your favorite car tunes, sing and dance, and make the car ride one of the funnest parts of your night!
6. Arrive at your venue early.
Consider the fact that you may need to park far away and walk to the events. Give yourself time to attend the events at ease without rushing.
7. Have fun!
Take pictures! Get your makeup done! Buy a cute top if you see one! Just have fun.
So, how did you participate in FNO in your area? Do you have any suggestions for next year's Fashion's Night Out? I'd love to know! Share your thoughts below!
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
1 Peter 3:3-4