As a new mom, my style has evolved immensely over the last 9 months. Before I became a mother, I always seemed baffled at the fact that some women let themselves go after having kids. Now that I’m a mom, I can completely understand why. After taking care of every need your child has all day, who has time to take care of themselves? Well, one thing that I’ve learned is that if I want to be productive during my day, I do a lot better when I’m dressed well.
This morning, I was getting my husband a breakfast burrito and smoothie from the grocery store and at the checkout I realized that I didn't have my debit card in my hand or pocket. I searched frantically as the 5 million people in line behind me that were probably in a rush to get to work on time waited patiently for this young mom to find her money to pay for her order. I couldn't find the card anywhere so I hurried and just payed with cash. After getting my order, I sat off to the side and continued to search for the card. Still, nothing. I went back to the line that I ordered from and asked if the clerk had found my card by chance. The lady behind me in line said that someone in the bakery department found a card and was asking everyone if it was theirs and was headed to customer service to drop it off. I thanked the lady & zoomed to the customer service desk. While I waited to be helped, another woman was coming to clock in for work and stopped to talk to Grace, my 7 month old daughter, and me. We got to talking about kids and she began to share with me the importance of praying for your children. She told me that she is standing in faith for her adult children that are away from the Lord right now, but that she knows they will come back into relationship with Him. I shared with her that my mom just wrote a book on prayer and handed her a business card to get more information on the book. She seemed very excited, and we said goodbye, shook hands and exchanged smiles. She said that God sent us her way this morning & that she really needed a smile. She told me that her name is Patty & that she works in the floral department and would love for me to visit her sometime. I assured her that I would as I walked away with a smile, thankful that what seemed to be an inconvenience and set back of my time was really a set up for me to be a blessing and blessed in return! I dropped off my husband's breakfast & smoothie, went back to the store for another burrito (they just looked too good to pass up!) and then headed home on my usual route. As I approached the stop light near my home, my heart sank as I saw a number of emergency lights flickering in the distance. When I got closer, I saw that two cars had crashed and two others had gone into the ditch and it didn't look good at all. Fire trucks were everywhere, one of which I captured quickly on my phone as you can see above. As I drove past the scene and headed home, I realized that my inconvenience was even more than a blessing, it was a means of protection. My baby girl & I could have very well been involved in that accident as we were headed home today. Thank you, Jesus, for your hand at work in my life, keeping my daughter and me safe from hurt, harm and danger. Thank you for intervening in my day, even though I thought I was being held up by losing my card. I know that it wasn't just a coincidence. I also thank you for protecting and caring for those that were in the accident. Be with them and give them peace. Allow them to see your hand in the midst of this situation. And bless Patti, Lord. May her children come to know You in a real and powerful way this week. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
Today, allow God to arrange (and rearrange) your schedule. He may be setting you up for a blessing, and protecting you from harm.
Emonne Markland Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
As a new mom, I have found myself learning countless life lessons every day. Periodically, I will be posting my experiences as a mother and sharing the lessons that I am learning along my journey of motherhood. Thank you in advance for reading my post today and I hope that it encourages you and blesses you in a special way.
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned now that I am a mom, it can be summed up in these two sentences:
Stretching doesn’t end just because the pregnancy is over and the baby has been born. True stretching, of the whole person: spirit, mind and body, begins in the hours, days, weeks and months to follow the delivery.
As a first time mom, I could not wait to feel my baby move for the first time during my pregnancy. I can remember telling my mom that every nudge, kick and stretch would bring me the utmost joy and happiness. My mom, however, being the sweet and honest person that she is, told me that it would be pleasant in the beginning but may become very uncomfortable as the baby grew and had less room to move around in my womb. Sure enough, those little flutters that I found so sweet turned into karate chops, kicks and punches. What in the world is she doing in there? I asked myself. Is this normal? I feel like I have the karate kid in training in my belly! My OBGYN kindly assured me that everything was fine and normal and that I had nothing to worry about.
During the final days and weeks of my pregnancy, contrary to what I’d been told, the kicks and punches got even more strong and even painful at times! I was so ready to have my baby. Well, on April 25th at 3:47am, after hours of home labor and hospital labor, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl. And as you know, especially if you are a mom, giving birth to my daughter required major stretching. Let me repeat, major stretching.
In the hours, weeks and now months to follow my daughter’s birth, my whole person, spirit, mind and body, has been stretched. My body has stretched as it has slowly but surely gone back to my pre-pregnancy weight. My mind has stretched as I continue to learn all that my baby needs and develop wisdom on how to be the wife and mother that my family needs. My spirit has grown as my inner strength and dependence on God has increased and enlarged in this new season of life.
The word of God says in Isaiah 54:2, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”
If you are reading this post today and can relate to what I am saying, I want to encourage you to know that all of the discomfort and stretching that you’ve been experiencing lately is being used to build you into the woman, wife and mother that God has created you to be. He is stretching you in order to make room for you to handle the next level of victory and destiny that is coming to past in your life.
This week, join me in praying the prayer of Jabez, a prayer for God to enlarge your capacity for the days to come. Also, as you go about your day this week, ask God to open your eyes to the needs of those around you so that you can leave your beauty mark on someone’s life by being a blessing to them in a time of need. Have a powerful week and feel free to come back & share what God is doing in your life!
Emonne Markland: Leave YOUR Beauty Mark!
The Prayer of Jabez:
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying “Oh, that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted what he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10 ESV)
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