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Nov 21, 2014 Heavens to Betsy Handmade

i'm so excited about this announcement!  i've been feeling a desire to create a space that will not only challenge me creatively, but will allow me to share my creative gifts with others!  and so, i've been praying for a while about what a potential heavens to betsy shop could look like, and what i'd want to put into it.

if you don't know my love for hand lettering, well, welcome to my life.  i have way too many prints sitting on my desk waiting to be hung up.  prints by amazing letterers who are far more talented than i.  and that fear of not being "good enough" has held me back from taking this step for a long time.  but a few weeks ago, i was listening to a podcast from the influence conference where lindsay sherbondy (of lindsay letters), one of my very favorite artists, talked about how there's room enough for us all in the creative world.  coming from her, that was one of the most freeing things to hear.  there's room enough for us all.  just like there's enough room for us all in the kingdom of heaven, there's room for us all to utilize our creative gifts here online.

my greatest desire is to honor god and glorify him with anything i make.  he is the one who gifts us with the talents and strengths that we have, and so he deserves to be honored with those gifts.  so a portion of all sales from my shop will go to kingdom-builing work both domestically and around the globe.  some of these organizations will be the mocha club, foreign and domestic missions, and project rescue.

so, without further ado, i give you heavens to betsy handmade!

i'll be stocking the shop with more prints and other handmade goodies as time goes on (keep your eyes peeled for some chunky infinity scarves!), but here are the prints from my launch collection!

i would love to have you stop by the shop and check out the launch collection!  and if you're looking for a print for yourself or a friend, take 20% off of your total purchase with the code "launchmonth" now until the end of november!

Nov 19, 2014 Community Brew // When Everything's Not Mapped Out

today i'm joining in with madison over at wetherills say i do and rachel of oh, simple thoughts for their community brew link-up!  community brew is a monthly link-up that is designed for bloggers to be "open, honest, and vulnerable, and to build community with others."  november's prompt is seasons, so join in and tell us a little bit about what season of life you're in!

a few weeks ago i sat at the island in my parents' kitchen crying to my mom as i described the season that i'm in right now.  because halfway through my twenties, i'm waiting, still in a season of transition, still not putting down roots, though my heart longs for them.

when i was in college, i read a book called here's the hindsight.  it was like sitting down to coffee with an older and wiser friend...the kind of book that i wrote down quotes from and hung them all over my bulletin board above my dorm room desk.  i recently pulled that book back out and flipped through it.  i had forgotten about some of the details of the author's story, and chuckled when i read these words:

i knew what she meant.  i couldn't wait to get my feet on city soil; it seemed like the move to nashville couldn't come quickly enough.  even though i knew it was looming ahead, waiting for it was like waiting for your meal to arrive at a restaurant where everyone else is eating and you're starving.  the anticipation frustrates every breath.
i was worried i had doled out too much of the "we may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow" rhetoric.  while it's true, it's a hard truth to hang on to when you want everything to be mapped out and to make sense.
-here's to hindsight, p. 57

i nearly laughed out loud reading those words because they so perfectly echo and mirror my season of life.  i know what is looming in the distance, but it's just not quite time yet.  and so i don't know the when or the why of it all, but i do know that there is a reason for where i am. 

one of my favorite books of the bible is ruth.  what i love about ruth is that she was in a season of unknown and waiting.  with her husband gone, she followed her mother-in-law to a land that she didn't know, and there, she waited.  i don't know if ruth knew that god was holding her tomorrow.  after all, she wasn't an israelite and culturally, it wasn't the norm to do what she did by following naomi.  she probably didn't plan on spending her days gathering leftover wheat, but she did anyway, waiting for what might come next; she carried on with the task at hand in faith that god had a plan..and in doing so, waited for what might be better.  and eventually, god delivered.  

god doesn't always (or ever) hand us a road map for the season of life we're in.  mostly, he just asks us to trust that he has our back, that he has a plan.  i don't know where you are right now...maybe you have it all figured out and you're settled into a life, (a job, a family, a house) that will be your season for a long, long time.  or maybe you're like me...waiting for what's next. 

i long for the road map.  to know exactly where i'm headed, exactly what god has for me, exactly when it's all going to happen.  i'm a planner (can you tell?)...i like to know the plan, i like to stick to the plan.  but i'm learning, in this season where i often feel lost and unsure and when the map looks like maybe it was stuffed in the glove compartment for too long and now it's hard to decipher where the roads are leading, i'm learning to press into jesus even more.  i'm learning to stir up the big dreams within my heart, to cover those dreams in prayer, and to pursue him even more deeply.

because if there's one thing i know about the future, it's that no matter where i go or what i do, i want people to know who sent me.  so while i wait, i can think of no better way to spend my time than getting to know him better.

so what about you wish you had a road map for life?  what is your season like right now, or have you ever been where i'm standing?

Nov 18, 2014 Cute & Comfy Style

since my outfit post last week was such a hit, and i had so much fun doing it, i thought i'd snap a few more!  (who knows?  maybe these will be a regular feature here?)

but i'm gonna be honest with you....just posting photos of myself i something i'm not 100% comfortable with.  i mean, i love seeing y'alls style and getting outfit ideas from all of you fashionistas out there, but that's just never what my blog's been about.  so i think if i'm going to keep doing these fashion posts, i'll try to also leave you with a few styling tips or tricks, or some information about my personal style!  take it or leave it, i won't be offended!  

so today, i'd love to talk a little bit about my style.  i like to shop, and i love clothes, but if i had to define my style, i'd have to say that it's definitely more classic-casual.  i have a few "pretty" tops in my wardrobe, and i love dresses, but most days, you'll find me in a pair of jeans, some flats, and a shirt or sweater.  i work at a church, and am lucky that i can wear jeans to work every day if i want to.   (though i'm not going to lie, i think i might also love dressing all cute and office-y for a more formal job!)

fall is without a doubt my favorite season to dress for.  i love layering and i love cozy accessories, like scarves! (can you tell? haha)  i also enjoy taking a more basic, comfortable top (like this striped shirt) and adding a cowl, jacket, and some bracelets to dress it up just a bit and pull it all together.  like i said, i work in a fairly relaxed environment, and two days a week, i'm a preschool teacher, so i like to be cute and comfortable!

and i'm linking up today with the creative closet and talking about cozy style!

and here are the details on the outfit if you're interested!
shirt // free bird
jeans // old navy
jacket // h&m
cowl // modena
shoes // gap
watch // betsey johnson
bracelets // alex + ani and kate spade

Nov 17, 2014 Grateful Heart (+ a Giveaway!)

well, it's a rainy gloomy monday here in pa!  it's the kind of day that i wish i could spend in sweats curled up with my favorite blanket, a warm cup of tea, and a good book, ya know?  but since i'm working this morning and taking aj back to the airport this evening, i think it's a good day for a little re-centering of this grateful heart!

it was a crazy weekend, aj was home because our church was releasing it's first worship album (which he engineered and produced), and we had a huge concert last night that he ran sound for.  it was so fun and awesome to see months worth of work come to fruition!

a special shout out goes out to my daddy today!  it's his birthday, so leave a comment and show him some love.  he's the biggest source of inspiration and positivity that i know.  he's been battling cancer for about 18 months now, and just had chemo on thursday, so unfortunately, he's spending his birthday (hopefully on the upswing), home from work and still recovering.  but his strength and faith in the great healer is unmatched....i'm so grateful that he is my dad!

here are a few other things my heart is happy about today:
warm rooibos tea
short monday morning meetings
a great night of worship last night
some extra time with aj
dark red nail polish (i'm addicted)
a cuddly puppy that has now been with us for a year!

and just to sweeten your monday, how about a giveaway?  i've teamed up with some awesome blogging friends to give away a gift certificate to better life bags!  i love businesses that give back or are doing awesome things, and better life bags is one of my favorites.  they employ women living in detroit to create these beautiful bags, giving the women a source of income and a stable work environment.  i love the mission behind this company and whoever wins this giveaway is going to be a lucky duck!
i am swooning over all this gorgeousness! and you know what? you can even design your own better life bag online and pick your own fabrics and everything! how cool is that? 

in order to spread some christmas cheer your way, i have teamed up with some of my sweet blog friends to give one lucky winner a $100 gift certificate to use towards one of these gorgeous bags!! yay! 

all entries will be verified so play fair! and enter to win below! :)

Nov 14, 2014 The Trouble with Mary & Martha

i've never particularly liked the story of mary and martha.  probably because i can totally relate to martha, and yet mary is the one jesus praises.  it always feels a little like he's chastising me when he says "mary has chosen what is better" (luke 10:42).

truthfully, i feel bad for martha!  she was just trying to be a good hostess after all.  i'd do the same.  the meal needed to be prepared, the table to be set, she probably had to tidy up a little bit.  she had opened her home not to just any guy, but the lord...and i'm sure she wanted to make a good impression.

earlier this week, i attended an influence network class about hospitality taught by annie downs.  we talked a little bit about mary and martha, and her perspective changed that story for me.  you see, everyone wants to be invited in.  we've all been there...maybe you've been the new girl hoping for a friend or maybe you've seen the new girl and felt the tug to include her.  and when it comes to mary and martha, the reality is that things do need to get done.

but, in the wise words of annie, you can't keep working for people to be invited in,  if you keep washing the dishes or clearing the table, everyone else is going to feel like they need to be working too or not be included.

i don't know abut you, but i was raised to always offer to help.  and so, when i go to a party or gathering and the host stands up to start the clean-up process, my instinct is to pitch in.  and when i'm the host, i will often begin cleaning up when my guests are still around the table.

don't get me wrong...i think the conversations that happen at the sink, with one person washing dishes and another drying, can be life-giving and relationship-forming.  my mom will tell you that she bonded with her sisters-in-law over sinks full of dirty dishes after family gatherings.  and watching them in the kitchen (and joining them) is now one of my favorite things about those family dinners.

but when we look deeper at the story of mary and martha, it's not just about doing work versus sitting at the table and spending time with others.  martha comes to jesus, with mary at his feet, asking him to send her sister to help her prepare the meal.  she was so worried by the work to be done that she couldn't see the importance in what her sister had chosen.

and when i examine my own heart, it's here that i can relate the most to martha.  because often, when i'm standing at that kitchen sink and there are people at the table who haven't offered to help, my heart turns bitter.  thoughts of "why aren't they helping?" and "can't they see what work needs to be done?" run through my mind.

true hospitality is an issue of the heart.  it's not enough to just open your doors and invite people into your home.  no matter how pinterest-perfect and carefully planned a gathering is, making people feel welcome goes beyond a picturesque table setting and a delicious dinner followed by warm cups of coffee.

in reality, it doesn't matter how well you prepare, what people will remember is how well you cared.

there's beauty in sharing your home and your food.  impact in being generous with your money and your time.  inviting people into your life, no matter how messy and imperfect it may be at times, is worth it.

but it can be so much better, so much more impactful, so much more beautiful, if you "choose what is better."
choose the conversation over the task list.
choose to listen when the dishes are screaming at you.
choose to include people in the relationship instead of the work. 

i'm not sure that the story of mary and martha will ever not make me feel uncomfortable.  and that's probably the point.  because for me, it's easy to see the work to be done and do it.  it stretches me more to make the small talk and ask the good and hard questions.  but washing dishes isn't what jesus asks us to do.  he asks us to take the time to see the need, to see the person, and to be his hands and feet.

what about you?  do you identify more with mary or martha?
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