on finding our hope and purpose

I’ve always loved this quote my pastor often refers back to,
“Seek not to avoid a wounded life, but rather seek to avoid a wasted one.”

howtoavoidawastedlife

And, it’s been present in my thoughts even more so lately as we finish up the first month of this new year, and life attempts to drag us back into old patterns and habits. The newness has started to wear off, and it’s easy to let that fresh hope slip through our fingers. The purposes we may have set out to achieve can easily begin to appear blurry.

There’s a lot of talk, especially around the new year, about finding our purpose…living our purpose, or making it a year of purposeful living. And these purpose driven talks and essays and motivational speeches often come with steps and tips and even programs you can sign up for to learn exactly how to make it all happen for you. I’ve listened and watched and even felt inspired by many, but as I continue to seek the Lord and his heart in all of it, I seem to continually come back to the simplicity of it all.

…To continue reading, please head on over to The Better Mom.

xo

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best in beauty 2014

Best in Beauty 2014

Happy New Year you guys!

Oh my gosh, I have seriously missed you guys and this place so much more than I expected! It’s so good to be back.

It’s crazy to me that it’s been a month, if not a little more, since I’ve done any writing whatsoever. Not only was I not writing here on my blog, but I didn’t even so much as write in a journal… When I took the month off, I literally took the month off! (Okay, exception…I did get a little wordy on Instagram a few times. Sometimes I find it so much easier to micro blog than serious blog…Ha!)

Of course I have thoughts and ideas and plans about the time I took off, but that is just going to have to wait for another day, because today we’re not going to go nearly that deep.

Instead, today it’s all about the very best beauty products that I used and loved throughout the year of 2014.

These are by far some of my most favorites videos ever to watch, because I feel like you truly get a sense of the stuff that wasn’t just the favorite from the month…but the stuff that really stood the test of time. And those are the kinds of products, I think, that are truly worth checking out!

So after a lot of serious and intense testing of beauty products over this last year, here is the complete list of what I loved and used the most!

Remember to subscribe!
New Videos every Tues, Thurs and Sunday!!!

*Products Mentioned*

Best Beauty Tool: 
Beauty Blender

Best BB Cream: 
Cover Fx BB Gel

Best Foundations:
Estee Lauder Double Wear
Lorac Porefection
Cover Fx Pressed Mineral Foundation

Best Powder:
Hourglass Ambient Powder Dim Light

Best Primers:
City Cosmetics Pore Minimizing Primer
Cover Fx Mattifying Primer

Best Highlighters/Illuminators:
Cover Fx Highlight in Sunlight
Mary Loumanizer by the Balm

Best Concealers:
Cover Fx Blemish Concealer
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Illuminator/Brightener

Best Palette:
Lorac Pro to Go

Best Mascara:
Tarte Lights Camera Flashes
Jordana Best Lash Extreme

Best Eyeliners:
YSL Faux Cils
Smashbox Liquid Liner
Physicians Formula 2 in 1 Liquid Liner

Best Brow Pencil:
It Cosmetics Brow Power

Best Eye Primer:
Jane Eye Primer

Best Eyeshadows:
Colour Pop Eyeshadows
Khroma Stick

Best Blushes:
Maybelline Master Hi-Lite Blushes in Pink Rose & Coral 
Nyx Blushes
BH Cosmetics Blush Palette

Best Lipliner:
Cover Girl in Beloved

Best Lipsticks:
Nyx Butter Lipsticks Hunk & Razzle
Maybelline Matte Lipstick Lust for Blush
Bite Beauty Lipsticks Violet & Granache

________________________________

Now it’s your turn!!! What did you love and use most throughout 2014! Let us know in the comments below!

 

+ DISCLAIMER +
FTC: This is not a sponsored video. While some products are sent to me, I am very choosy and will always share my honest opinion of everything that I try and review on my channel. I will never accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Some links above may be affiliate.

~ MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL…

While I LOVE beauty, health, and all things related, more than anything my heart and soul belongs to Jesus! This quote expresses exactly what I hope shines more than anything:

“Like Paul and every other believer, my life is no longer my own. The focus must not be on me, but on Christ. When someone hears from me publicly, I want it all to point to Him.”

{quote from John MacArthur}

xoxo, Summer

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creating distance from your art

white blank picture in the room

Okay, so if you followed my 31(ish) days of Blending Beauty with Grace, then you probably realized that continuous blog posts OBVIOUSLY didn’t happen.
Let’s just put that out on the table.

Instead, what I came to accept is that instead of  accomplishing 31 posts, I simply needed that challenge to realize that my intention behind what I blog needs to consistently match my hearts desire of blending beauty with balance.

I had hoped that by writing with consistency, I would be better able to help others, and instead what I found was that the challenge was perhaps meant more for me. (although, I hope maybe some were helped as well along the way!)

I’ve been blogging a long time…
And over time, not only has the blogging world evolved by leaps and bounds, but so it seems, have I.

Blogging is not in any way the same as it was when I started, and as I look back to the beginnings of this blog, I realize I am so far from where I was back then as well.

And while I understand that time changes all things, one thing that has most certainly remained the same is my heart and my intention when it comes to my writing.

Okay, so yes, it still most definitely serves as a form of therapy that has always been a source of helping me to sort things out…but the truth is, I can easily do that just fine in the pages of my journals, where it’s safe and unjudged.

But instead, I choose to do it here (when life allows), because living out loud brings such an incredible amount of hope and comfort and a feeling that we most certainly aren’t alone in all of this.

Writing publicly brings all of that to me…and I pray with every word and every post I share, it also brings some of that to you.

I want to write and share, no matter what the topic, with intention.
With focus.
And with a heart to serve and a heart to worship and nothing else…

This blog, these words, this place…this is my heart.
This is my passion.
This is my art.

But sometimes it takes creating a bit of distance to allow yourself, for just a moment or more, a chance to stand back from your art to fully be able to see what it is you’re even doing…and where it is you even want to go.

And I know that this is that time for me.
It usually is, actually, around the holidays…where I find that I truly need to reflect on where I’ve been and prayerfully consider where it is the Lord would have me to go.

And so, tis’ the season once more to take a moment or more and pray.
To refocus.
To get right.
To get refreshed.

And as always, after the first of the year, I’ll be back…with a renewed heart and mind, ready to write with intention and focus…blending beauty with grace, just as I know God has asked me to do.

I pray, and I mean that…I have, and do and will truly actually continue to pray that all of you are able to spend this season loving others, and more importantly, loving and worshipping Him.

xo

{I will still be doing my thing over on my YouTube channel, so I’d love to see you there!}

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God won’t give you more than you can handle

morethanwecanhandle

It’s no secret that I’ve had my fair share of struggles throughout my life…

Divorce.
Rape.
Death.
Depression.
Anxiety.
Loss.

I remember each of those moments or times in my past with such a vivid memory, that tears still come to my eyes when I fully allow myself to sit with the pain I had to endure. Because, truly, how does anyone ever forget the times they cried the most honest and heartfelt tears of their life?

And in many of those struggles, I would often hear what I imagine people meant to be comforting words,

God won’t give you more than you can handle…so know that He must really believe that you are incredibly strong!

And while I longed to find the comfort in that, the truth was, I wasn’t strong…I was weak and afraid, angry and broken. And I knew that I was most definitely was not strong enough to get through the pain I was experiencing…

If you’d like to read more, I invite you to finish the rest of this post today over at The Better Mom.

 
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a $5 makeup brand that will blow you away!

Goodness gracious.
So, it would seem that blogging consistently for a month would cause me to need nearly an entire week off from writing.

Sorry about that!
I do have thoughts though about all that writing, and even have a draft wrapping it all up waiting to be edited, but finding a moment to finish it is another story… so stay tuned, it’s coming.

Also, now that we’re getting closer to another New Year (what the heck?!?), I also seem to have a lot of thoughts about all that I want to focus and work on in 2015!

I have nearly an entire page full of notes and exciting new ideas and changes I want to explore, especially in the area of my blog & YouTube channel…which is breathing new life and hope into those areas for me.
(and I’m praying will hopefully do the same for you guys reading and watching as well!)

And this is why I LOVE the start of new months, seasons, and especially new years…the thrill of hope springs alive.
Ok, does anybody else get THIS excited about the New Year this early… or is it just me???
Anyway…I’m getting a tad distracted.

Okay, so in other exciting news, I have an incredible new makeup line to tell you guys about, and I just can’t even believe how in love I am with everything that I’ve tried!!!

The line is called Colour Pop, and they’re all about eyeshadows, lip liners and lipsticks…which is brilliant, because I’m kind of all about those things as well! Everything I’ve tried has been so unique and high quality, and it just blows me away that every single thing on their site is only $5!!! I mean, that’s my kind of shopping right there!!!

It’s literally all I’ve been wearing this last month, and I definitely have a wish list of things I still want to try!

Okay so enough rambling…in this video I’m sharing all that I got and exactly what I thought…
And, I’m hoping that by watching this haul complete with swatches, it only helps make your shopping decisions that much easier!

You guys, I’m just here to help. =)

________________

While I LOVE beauty, health, and all things related, more than anything my heart and soul belongs to Jesus! This quote expresses exactly what I hope shines more than anything:

“Like Paul and every other believer, my life is no longer my own. The focus must not be on me, but on Christ. When someone hears from me publicly, I want it all to point to Him.”

{quote from John MacArthur}

xoxo, Summer

+ DISCLAIMER +
FTC: This is not a sponsored video. While some products have been sent to me, I will always share my honest opinion of everything that I try and review on my channel. I will never accept payment in exchange for a positive review.
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october monthly favorites | beauty. fashion. fitness.

It’s time to share all my Holy Grail Goodies from the month of October in the categories of beauty, fashion and fitness, as well as some updates on previous favorites as well! (the best primer & waterline eyeliner ever!)

And of course, as always, let me know what you’ve been loving this last month as well! I love to hear from you!

{Remember to subscribe!}

October Favorites:

Physicians Formula Liquid Liner
Maybelline Concealer/Illuminator
Cover Girl Sharpener
NYX Eyebrow Wax Pencil
YSL Eyeliner Effects Faux Cils
Colour Pop Eyeshadows in 3, Game Face, On the Rocks, Amaze, Lovely
Colour Pop Lippies & Lippie Pencils: Heart On, Flawless
City Cosmetics Primer
Reviva Labs Eye Cream

Twisted Silver Jewelry…
BB Bracelet
Gypsy Bracelet
Armor Bracelet
Capture Necklace
Creekwalk Necklace
Pencil Necklace

Kayla Itsines Workout
Daily Docket

While I LOVE beauty, health, and all things related, more than anything my heart and soul belongs to Jesus! This quote expresses exactly what I hope shines more than anything:

“Like Paul and every other believer, my life is no longer my own. The focus must not be on me, but on Christ. When someone hears from me publicly, I want it all to point to Him.”

{quote from John MacArthur}

xoxo, Summer

+ DISCLAIMER +
FTC: This is not a sponsored video. While some products have been sent to me, I will always share my honest opinion of everything that I try and review on my channel. I will never accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Some links above may be affiliate.
SHARE THIS POSTShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+Email to someone
It means so much that you are here! I know life gets busy though, so if you don't want to miss a thing, I invite you to subscribe to my blog through email!

makeup totally worth buying (i shopped!) | #thebeautybalance

I’ve been diving right into this 31 Day Writing Challenge, where each blogger chooses a topic to write about for 31(ish) days. Because it’s right where God has me, I’ve chosen to share on Blending Beauty with Balance.
(#thebeautybalance, if you want to follow along…or better yet, join the conversation using the hashtag!)

It’ll be a fun and encouraging 31(ish) days where I’ll be sharing tips and tricks while digging deeper, finding purpose, and blending beauty with balance — all with a heart of intention. {all 31(ish) Days will be linked here}

 

I made it a whole month and I didn’t even shop once…
I blogged a whole month (almost) and totally did my best to blend beauty with balance…
And then…

I shopped.

Whoops!!!!!

I guess it’s a good thing it’s all about balance, right?
And I do always preach the 80/20 rule, so…
{I’m really good at comforting myself with excuses, by the way.}

Okay, so here’s the makeup I think is totally worth buying:

 

Products Mentioned:

GrooveBook: SALDANA388 to receive your first one free!
Mereadesso All in One Moisturizer
Gabriel Cosmetics
Colour Pop
Schmidts Deodorant:  enter MUSINGS during checkout and get 15% off anything you order!!!
Portland Bee Balm

Remember to subscribe!

While I LOVE beauty, health, and all things related, more than anything my heart and soul belongs to Jesus! This quote expresses exactly what I hope shines more than anything:

“Like Paul and every other believer, my life is no longer my own. The focus must not be on me, but on Christ. When someone hears from me publicly, I want it all to point to Him.”

{quote from John MacArthur}

xoxo, Summer

+ DISCLAIMER +
FTC: This is not a sponsored video. While some products have been sent to me, I will always share my honest opinion of everything that I try and review on my channel. I will never accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Some links above may be affiliate.
SHARE THIS POSTShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestGoogle+Email to someone
It means so much that you are here! I know life gets busy though, so if you don't want to miss a thing, I invite you to subscribe to my blog through email!

we are his poem, we are his masterpiece: a pastors perspective | #thebeautybalance

I’ve been diving right into this 31 Day Writing Challenge, where each blogger chooses a topic to write about for 31(ish) days. Because it’s right where God has me, I’ve chosen to share on Blending Beauty with Balance.
(#thebeautybalance, if you want to follow along…or better yet, join the conversation using the hashtag!)

It’ll be a fun and encouraging 31(ish) days where I’ll be sharing tips and tricks while digging deeper, finding purpose, and blending beauty with balance — all with a heart of intention. {all 31(ish) Days will be linked here}

Today, Im excited to introduce you to my pastor, Matt Smith from Barabbas Road Church.
I pray you are just as blessed by his teaching, as my family and I have been over the years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The words of Anthony Hoekema, are an excellent way to begin this discussion:

 

The Christian self image is never an end in itself. It is always a means to the end of living for God, for others, and for the preservation and development of God’s creation. It leads us outside ourselves. It delivers us from the preoccupation with ourselves and releases us so that we may happily serve God and others.1

Woman raising her arms at sunrise.

This proper view of ‘self’ however seems to be at odds with the rest of the modern world and most recently the Christian culture at large in America.2

Here is the argument as it relates to beauty: a proper Biblical view of ‘beauty’ will always be in the context of an outside relationship; whether it is with God or fellow man, it should always be viewed in the context of grace to be acted out with others. In other words, self-esteem is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

This is a subtle point so I don’t want to be misunderstood.

In todays culture the oppression of beauty comes at us from every angle. The pressure to be fitter or stronger or more successful, and in every case it comes to us with the provided motive to impress others. To combat this we tend to emphasize that we want to pursue beauty or success or fame etc. for ourselves and then pat ourselves on the back for not being shallow. The problem is that we are seeking a false solution thinking we are avoiding the shallowness trap we see in the earlier desire to impress others.

We still have the wrong focus.

After the Fall there was a two-fold perversion of the self-image. This manifested itself in either an inordinate heightening or lowering of man’s view of himself. This meant that man, at this point on, either viewed himself with hatred, ignoring the image he still imperfectly bore, or he viewed himself with the sinful pride that caused his fall in the first place. In the first case, man’s negative self-image began immediately after the fall when Adam and Eve realized that they were both naked and their eyes were opened (Gen. 3:7).

{1  Anthony A. Hoekema, Created in God’s Image (Grand Rapids, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1986), 111. 2  www.issuesetc.org/resource/journals/v2n1.htm}

Adam and Eve must have quickly read the self help book entitled, Making Your Own Sin Covering: Using What You Have to Be like God, because they tried to cover up their shame and sin with fig leaves. This is the religion of man and is man’s futile way of self-improvement that is so prevalent today. Man’s positive self view, from that point forward, could only properly be viewed in light of God’s all sufficient grace as pictured in the animal skins He made for them. D.G. Lindsay, in his work, Foundations for Creationism, has this to say regarding this subject:

 

God’s clothing of man with animal skins symbolized His desire to mend the broken relationship between Himself and man. The covering or clothing of our sin has always required a garment paid for with the shedding of blood. By giving Adam and Eve skins for clothing, God gave them a physical symbol of spiritual salvation. This was the first blood sacrifice made as a covering for sin.3

 

This act is one that should cultivate true humility while at the same time freeing one to have a positive self-image within the bounds of God’s grace. Here it is precisely the context of relation to God that is the source for self-esteem. This is fulfilled in the New Testament through the shed blood of Christ where in the redemptive process we see the perverted image of God in man being progressively renewed.

 

God wants us to be beautiful and excellent and successful for His glory.

 

When we pursue these things for this end then the results are not the point. That is to say, we are not more worthy because we are more beautiful, but we are worthy because of Christ and His sacrifice and we are free to seek to be beautiful for an audience of One.

Literally, the journey towards excellence in anything, when given to God, is an end in itself – worship itself.
There is no sacred – secular split.

Real spirituality is to be lived out on the altar of ordinary everyday life. Being a good mother for His glory, being a good friend for His glory and yes being beautiful for His glory is an act of worship.

 [3  Lindsay, D. G. (1998, c1990). Foundations for creationism . Dallas: Christ for the Nations. ]

Pastor Matt Smith
barabbas.com
biblicaljiujitsu.com

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whitney english day designer vs. erin condren life planner | #thebeautybalance

I’ve been diving right into this 31 Day Writing Challenge, where each blogger chooses a topic to write about for 31(ish) days. Because it’s right where God has me, I’ve chosen to share on Blending Beauty with Balance.
(#thebeautybalance, if you want to follow along…or better yet, join the conversation using the hashtag!)

It’ll be a fun and encouraging 31(ish) days where I’ll be sharing tips and tricks while digging deeper, finding purpose, and blending beauty with balance — all with a heart of intention. {all 31(ish) Days will be linked here}

 Whitney English Day Designer vs. Erin Condren Life Planner

Maybe you didn’t know, but I love being organized, and I seriously become overwhelmed with a giddiness when my life has a bit of a schedule and the chaos is somewhat managed.

I mean, I love it just as much as getting a good deal when shopping or finding the most amazing pigmented eyeshadows for my collection.
That’s how high up on the list organization is to me.

And whenever I find that I let that go just a bit, there is utter unrest within my soul.

That may sound dramatic.
And, you’re right…it is.
But it’s simply the dramatic truth.
{once a middle child….always a middle child.}

 

planners

~ Erin Condren Life Planner ~

This is why for years I have been getting the Erin Condren Classic Life Planner, and writing every little single thing down that could possibly find a space within it. And while, they are definitely on the pricier side of things ($50) when it comes to planners, I just kind of feel like you can’t put a price on that euphoric feeling of having your life in order.

Dramatic maybe.
But, again, I can’t help what is true.

And while for years the Erin Condren planner has worked amazingly for me, I found that recently I actually had more stuff in my brain plus more schedules to manage, and there didn’t seem to be nearly enough space for me to manage it all. (although I’m sure someone who is naturally gifted with scheduling could probably make it work… I just tend to need my hand held with this sort of thing.)

erincondren2

 

erincondren1

~ Whitney English Day Designer ~

Between two kids in two different schools, both of their activitites, Jimmy’s work meetings, my workouts and appointments, blog and YouTube schedules and events, work ideas, foster care planning, and other projects coming up in the future…I realized I had to really up my organizing game.

And so I decided to check out another planner I’ve been eyeing over the last year called the Whitney English Day Designer. It’s equally as pricey ($59), but with a whole different twist to the layout. This planner is more designed for the entrepreneur, with an entire front section decked out with worksheets for setting work, life and personal goals.

Okay, add that to my Happy Euphoric Feelings List…. setting goals and resolutions.
Oh my word. Just typing it gets me excited.

I also love how each day has an entire page complete with different sections for your days time schedule, to-do lists, meal planning, gratitude, and so much more.

In fact, I’ve been using this Daily Docket in the meantime to see if this type of planning works for me, and let me just tell you that I’ve been on fi-yah with knocking things off the list and staying on task.

Lists are just so amazing!!!
Lists and lipsticks and pigmented eyeshadows…and well, you get the picture.

 

whitneyenglish1

whitneyenglish2

whitneyenglish3

 

~ Whitney English vs. Erin Condren ~

And because I like to do A LOT of research before I spend any amount of money, and because I had trouble finding all the information I needed before I made my own decision, I thought I’d do a little post/video sharing all the details and differences between the two.

In the video below I’ll be going through each planner, showing you the differences and similarities and giving you a page by page tour of each. I also wanted to share here some closer shots of each planner so you could see up close and personal what you’ll be working with.

I really hope this all helps, and if you have any other questions make sure to leave a comment either here or on the video itself!

{Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel as well, so you’ll always know when I post a new video!}

 

~ The Bottom Line ~

Ultimately, I love and adore each planner and I really don’t believe that one is better than the other.

Having both, I honestly think it truly just depends on how your brain works and what type of organizer you tend to be. And just as with what happened to me, even that could change over the years as you grow and change as well.

And that is why I love that we have options!

So without further adieu, here are two of yours!

xo,
Summer

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It means so much that you are here! I know life gets busy though, so if you don't want to miss a thing, I invite you to subscribe to my blog through email!

the greatest beauty truths we can ever know | #thebeautybalance

I’ve been diving right into this 31 Day Writing Challenge, where each blogger chooses a topic to write about for 31(ish) days. Because it’s right where God has me, I’ve chosen to share on Blending Beauty with Balance.
(#thebeautybalance, if you want to follow along…or better yet, join the conversation using the hashtag!)

It’ll be a fun and encouraging 31(ish) days where I’ll be sharing tips and tricks while digging deeper, finding purpose, and blending beauty with balance — all with a heart of intention. {all 31(ish) Days will be linked here}

a Mama and her little daughter lie on the grass

I think one of the most meaningful posts I may have ever written, regardless of it’s popularity, is the one I wrote for Chloe called, What We Need to Teach Our Daughters About Beauty.

It was written when in the midst of a hurried night trying to tackle one beauty blog post and video edit after another, I suddenly caught a glimpse of my sweet daughter, Chloe, sitting playfully at my vanity. And while there had been many times I’d seen her do this before, for some reason it was this time that I suddenly felt something catch in my throat.

I set my laptop down for a moment and just watched, taking in every single innocent moment after the next, watching her imitate what she’d seen me do day after day most of her life.

The warm tears slipped from my eyes, as I suddenly realized all that I truly longed to teach her about beauty.

There was so much more than the blushes and lipsticks before her (although, yes, I do plan to teach her a thing or two when it comes to those), that I needed her to know. There was so much more about beauty that I longed for her to understand.

I quickly picked my laptop back up and with a steady stream of tears and an open prayerful heart, I poured out the words I needed her to know, and more importantly, needed to be sure I was living myself as well.

It’s that night, that letter, that changed the way I would ever approach the topic of beauty again both here and on my YouTube channel, and it is the reason I wanted to write even more on the topic over at The Better Mom today.

Whether you’re a mama to a daughter, an auntie to a neice, a mentor to a little girl in your life, or even if you’re simply someone who often longs for more meaning in your search for beauty…I encourage you to head over to The Better Mom and read today’s post on Blending Beauty with Grace: The Greatest Truths We Can Ever Know About Beauty.

xo,

Summer

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It means so much that you are here! I know life gets busy though, so if you don't want to miss a thing, I invite you to subscribe to my blog through email!