Wednesday, June 26, 2013

having compassion

Today is a pretty important day in politics and our country. 

I know, I'm starting off a post talking about politics, something I usually steer away from.  But today I feel like it is weighing on my heart to share.  I fully expect to lose followers and read mean comments but I think it is important for me to share what is on my heart. After all it is my blog and it is for me, I don't blog for anyone else. 

Today the supreme court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act {DOMA} unconstitutional. This means legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. 

This is important to me because my brother is gay. This ins't something I have shared with people, not because I am embarrassed, but because it is something he should be able to tell others when he feels it is right. 

I remember the night he called to tell me. I remember crying uncontrollably. 

I was crying because he was clearly hurting from feeling like he had to keep this in. 

I was crying because he was telling me as a kid he prayed to Jesus EVERY night to make him better.  

I was crying because he had felt so alone for so many years.  I remember telling him that he is my brother and I will love him unconditionally always. 

I cried for days. I cried because I knew the struggles he was going to endure. The rude, mean and horrible things people would potentially say to him. It hurt my heart then and it still hurts my heart now. 

I am a Christian, but I get so angry when people say the Bible says being gay is a sin and therefore should not be tolerated. I get angry for many reasons.

I get angry because the Bible teaches us to have compassion and tolerance for one another. Ephesians 4:32 says "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you". 

I get angry because the Bible does not say we will have a say in another persons judgement day.  We do not get to go before God and plead our case as to why someone should or shouldn't go to heaven.  That is something between each of us and God.  

The Bible says lying, cheating, adultery and so many other things are bad and sinful.  Yet we somehow think that being gay is a greater sin. A sin is a sin.  We all sin, Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God".  It does not say we all sin but some are worse than others. 

John 8:7 says When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again, we ALL have sinned.  So why do we feel it is our place to say that being gay is a sin that is worse than anything else. We all sin and therefore we do not have any room to judge others.

I get so sad and angry when I hear Christians being so mean and hurtful.  How do you in the same sentence call yourself a Christian and then be so mean and nasty.  It just baffles me. 

The repeal of DOMA is so important to me because if my brother should decide to join the military and serve his country and be willing to lay down his life defending our freedom I think he should be afforded the same rights as my husband {and I} and every other heterosexual married couple have.  Plain and simple,  if he has a partner they should be afforded the same rights as I am. 

I want to be the big sister and crush people that say mean and hurtful things to my brother or about my brother, or about being gay.  I want to turn to those Christians who quote scripture to say being gay is a sin and remind them that throwing stones and lacking compassion and tolerance is not very Godly. 

I cried today writing this post. I cried because my heart aches because I will never forget my brother telling me that as a child he prayed to God every night and ask him to "fix" him.  My heart aches because I want to be able to go back in time when we were kids and tell him it is ok and I will always love him and that he should not be afraid to be who he is.  

I can only hope and pray that one day we will be compassionate and tolerant of those that are different from ourselves.  I hope that we will remember it is not our place to cast judgement on others.  I will continue to support issues, causes and rulings that give my brother the same rights and freedoms that I have.

random ramblings {& a retro inspired look!}

Oh friends, how does everyone do it? I feel like I write this post every few months, how in the world do all you amazing bloggers get out 4-5 post a week each and every week? 

I know I spend a bit of time in the evening watching tv or reading to just calm my brain down, but I have no idea where else I would find time to get a blog post done every single day.  I applaud all of you who have it together. Clearly this gal does not. 

Last night Scott found out one of the guys he graduated OCS with drown over the weekend.  He was 24 years old. It was such a shock. I remember briefly meeting him the week Scott graduated.  24 is so young, he had his whole life ahead of him.  Scott says he worked so hard and pushed through each week because he so badly wanted to graduate and be a commissioned Naval officer.  Now just over a year later his life was cut short.  

It is moments like this where I have to wonder what God's plan was/is.  It is hard to see it sometimes. I know he has one but seeing someones life end too early makes you question God's plans.

This blog post is becoming a rambling entry of what is swirling around my brain.

I am in love with this dress from Loft, it was $12! Crazy talk, I know. It is such a bright fun dress for summer, and then come fall and winter it will be perfect with a sweater, tights and boots!

I am also obsessed with the sock bun. Now that my hair is long enough it is one of my go to hair styles for hot humid days, it is also a great options when you should wash your hair but are too lazy. wait is that only me? oh well, we all know I go 3-4 days some weeks without washing my hair.  Life is too short to wash your hair every day!

necklace: caroline g // dress: Loft // earrings: the limited // wedges: target // purse: francesca's

Fashion & Faith

Friday, June 21, 2013

coffee date friday on the train {and some hello apparel love!}

Fridays are one of my favorite days of the week. You are wrapping up with, and you have the whole weekend to look forward to!

If we were having coffee together today it would be on the train headed to DC for a quick 36 hour work trip.

After we got settled into our seats I'd tell you how much I am loving my hello apparel tank.  While it does say Ok, the Ok stands for Oklahoma. After the tornadoes in Oklahoma hello apparel sold tanks where all the profit when to the OK red cross.  They were able to send a check for $90,000!

tank: hello apparel // polka dot skinnies: target // sandals: target // purse: vintage coach bag, thrifted // sunnies c/o firmoo

Part of why I think this is so cool is because I believe social media played a huge part in the amount of sales they had, and thus the amount they were able to send to the Red Cross.  I am aware of the brand hello apparel, but I do not frequent their website, and I do not think I even follow them facebook.  But I do follow them on instagram, my favorite social media platform ever! They posted about their plan to sell the tanks and give the money to the red cross.  Then my feed was filled with pics of friends who had bought they tank and were supporting the cause.  I have to admit, I jumped on the bandwagon.  A cute take for $15 shipped and I am helping tornado victims, sign me up!

While sometimes I think social media can have negative affects and focus on the crazy and the bad in life I truly believe most use it for good. They use it to connect with others, to share information, to help brands grow.  Social Media and blogging are a very cool thing, and they can be a source of income for people.  While I do not make money blogging, I do make money from social media. It is my job. It is something that I say with a huge ginormous smile on my face. The blogging is what lead me to the social media.  So maybe this little blog doesn't pay the bills, but it is the catalyst for what does! 

It is so cool to me to know that brands want real people, real bloggers to share their brand.  Of course I believe if you don't believe in the company you should not blog for them. I also believe that you should have a genuine connection with their product. I get contacted all the time by random people who want me to post about kids stuff.  Clearly they do not really pay attention to my blog because:

1. i do not have kids.
2. i do not blog about kids stuff, and
3. i don't blog about kids because i have infertility issues!

I know my readers, friends, fans etc do not come to my blog for mommy talk. So it would be ridiculous for me to blog about kid brands etc.  I think my voice, my authenticity and the value of my opinion would be diminished if I wrote about any and everything just to make $25. 

tank: hello apparel // belt: thrifted // shorts: loft // sandals: Mark // pouch: Gussy Sews {the gussy club}

I love when I read sponsored posts that are clearly a good partnership between a brand and a blogger.  It is a very small number of times I read a sponsored post and I can't help but shake my head because the lack of connection is so obvious.  It makes me uber happy to say those posts really are very few and far between, because it means people value their brand and their voice.  

Wow, my coffee date got a bit crazy, didn't it? I am just so geeked about how cool it is to work with brands and companies doing social media and blogging.  

Since I rambled on for so long now would be the time I get us a fresh cup of coffee from the cafe cart and then zip my lips so I could be all ears to listen to what you have to say. 

I also love that they sent us an email showing the check that was sent off!

*** I was not paid to write this post about hello apparel, I bought the tank and I just love it and the meaning behind it***

linking up with alissa 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

live life anchored {what i wore & marriage ramblings}

Marriage is hard. 

There I said it. 

That first sentence should be no surprise to anyone.  I never thought marriage would be easy, but some days man do I feel like a failure.  

Last night in our small group we discussed Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. {this is my second time in a few weeks reading this verse, clearly God is reminding me of what I need to do.}

We talked about how we think the bad things come out in us because of our spouses actions and that is the root of the nastiness.  Really the bad things are in us and they come out of you regardless of who is with you.  Meaning the nastiness is me, my feelings and my issues are why I act like a crazy person and flip out when Scott doesn't put the tupperware away like I like {true story.}  

For what ever reason I am able to not loose my cool openly when others do things to upset me, but when my husband does I act like a crazy banshee.  I think often times I am not even upset at anything he does, I am upset at something earlier or with myself and I take it out on him. 

The person I love most, I often treat the worst.  

That was a hard statement to write. Admitting that makes me feel horrible.  

I am working on trying to not get upset and take my anger, frustration, insecurities etc out on my husband.  In our small group we talked about getting to the root of a feeling.  Am I really feeling angry or am I using that word to mask a feeling I don't want to admit to?  Maybe I am embarrassed, embarrassed for a situation I was in or that I did something my husband did not like.  Instead of saying I am embarrassed I mask that feeling with anger and yell and then of course cry. 

shirt: printed palette // skirt: forever 21 // wedges : target

I love this shirt from the Printed Palette.   Live Life anchored, it is a great reminder for me. It is a reminder to make sure my life is anchored to the word and Jesus.  To make sure I don't loose sight of doing all things for him. 

I often times feel like I am not good enough, or worthy of his love.  But that is the beauty of his love, it is unconditional.  None of us are worthy and yet he loves each and every one of us.  
No power on earth or heaven can separate us from God's love. Not our sin, not any authority, not any spiritual force. God's love is unshakable and can always be relied upon. 
Romans 8: 38-39

These verses in Romans are also a reminder that if God can love me my issues and all, ALL of the time I can surely love my husband, ALL of the time.  If God can forgive me every day I can forgive my husband.  I am not any better than he is, no sin is greater or lesser, they are all sins and God forgives them all, therefore I surely can forgive the tupperware cabinet not being to my liking {again, true story}. 

I struggled sharing this today on the blog, but I want to be honest here. I want to be able to share my feelings, even if they aren't pretty.  I need to say these things so I can remind myself I do not want to act that way. 

pleated poppy

Monday, June 17, 2013

snippets from a weekend on the water

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This past weekend was a whirlwind of fun! A bit of sadness but mostly fun.

Friday night we {well really our friend Art hosted it!} had a going away party for our friends Cassie {second from the right} and her husband Brandon. They are PCSing {moving} in a few weeks to Monterrey, CA. The Navy giveth great friends and they Navy taketh away great friends. 

It was a great time to catch up with some of our Junior League girlfriends. We are no longer provisionals, yay for being first year actives!

Saturday morning we woke up early to spend the day out on the water soaking up the sun and just relaxing.  We have been talking about doing this for months and since Cassie and Brandon only have a few weeks left we needed to make it happen.  Brandon was so awesome and organized all the details and we just showed up. 

{we all need a live life anchored tee from the Printed Palette!}

This was our view for most of the day! I took only a handful of pictures as the 5 of us were enjoying being carefree on the water. The day was perfect and having not a care in the world for a good 8 hours was a fantastic feeling.  We drove up the Chesapeake Bay towards Yorktown, pulled up to a dock and had a great afternoon of seafood and beer for lunch and then headed back south for more swimming.  Having the wind in my hair and the smell of salt water all around me reminded of how great our life really is. How blessed we are to have great friends and the opportunity to enjoy life. 

After we got home we managed to take Khloe on a walk and were blessed by a beautiful sunset.  These pictures do not even do the sunset justice. The sky and water were both a beautiful shade of pink.  It was so calming and again, a beautiful reminder from God just how blessed we are and just how awesome he is. 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend as well! xo

linking up with my sweet friend, blair

still being [molly]

Friday, June 14, 2013

hello coffee date friday {thoughts on the name change}

dear friends,

I haven't done a coffee date friday post in a loooooooong time! Today we change that!

{from our walk monday morning, I was deteremined to kick monday's butt, and I did!}

If we were going to sit down for coffee today I would quickly get us in the car and get us to a coffee shop since the coffee in the coffee pot is from yesterday, whoopsie! 

Once we ordered some yummy nectar from the gods I'd start chatting away. Working from home means I get super pumped to have human interaction though out the week, hehe. 

I'd tell you about how excited I am to have changed my blog name. There is still a bunch of changes I want to make to they layout of the blog etc but the name change and URL change is done and that makes me happy! 

Deciding to change the blog name made me want to start blogging again. This space has been a bit too quite for some time.  I was struggling to feel a connection to my blog. I started this blog in March of 2009 after Scott proposed and it has evolved into many things.  When I decided to open an Etsy shop back in early 2011 I knew I needed to pick a blog & shop name.  I went with rellas bellas.  I was also going to BlogHer for the first time so I knew I needed biz cards etc so it was time to make my blog more grown up and official.  rellas bellas was a great name and I love it still but it doesn't really fit my life anymore.  My shop is not open on a consistent basis and I really only kept the blog name to have it be consistent with the shop. 

 {last view of the blog with the name and url rellas bellas}
I truly believe God's plan was for me to learn all about blogging, owning and running a business and social media through rellas bellas the shop and blog.  I was not meant to have a crazy successful etsy shop.  The purpose of the shop was for me to learn, and learn I did. Had I not opened a handmade shop I would not have met some many amazing blogging and real-life friends.  I 100% believe I would not have landed a job doing social media without the blog an shop.  The shop was just a stepping stone for me to go on and do other things.  Once I realized this I realized it was time to close the door to the name rellas bellas. 

This blog for me is usually a letter to myself. I don't format it in that way but is a way for me to write a living diary of my thoughts, feelings and sometimes just our every day happenings.  Changing the name to sincerely jen seemed like the perfect fit.  I went thought dozens of possible names and texted a few friends for weeks on end about possible options, sincerely jen was a winner for all. They thought it was a perfect name for this here little blog. I loved it and others felt the name was a good fit so I finally felt confident in making the change! 

Now that I have rambled on, if this were a real coffee date I would zip my lips, sip my coffee and let you chat away. I'd ask how life is going, what summer plans you have and if you are attending any bloggy conferences this summer and fall? 

happy friday friends!{linking up with alissa}

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Welcome to Norfolk // An Influence Conference link up

{I'm linking up with the Influence ladies. Also you might notice some changes around here. rellas bellas is now sincerely jen! new URL and everything!}

Welcome to Norfolk, Virginia!

Last year when I attended Influence I had only lived in Virginia for a few weeks.  We've now been here for 9 months and I can safely say we love it!  Today is supposed to be 99 degrees with 99% humidity but we still love it here!

We love the little historic neighborhood we live in. We love that we have tons of friends that live just minutes from us.  We love the coffee shops, wine bars and resturants that are within 2 miles of our home.  {side note: my requirements when we found a place were 1. must have a big front porch and 2. must be close to coffee shops and wine bars.  I am happy to say we met both goals! hehe}

this view is literally a block from my house. to say that i love it would be an understatment!

I must have snapped 500 pics on my iphone last fall.  Having lived most of my life in California the leaves changing color was the must beautiful thing to me. 

As you see I love taking pictures of sunsets. I think they are a great reminder for God of just how wonderful he is. I feel like he makes the sky light up just when I need a reminder from him that all will be well and he is in control.

This is a shot to give you an idea of what I do. I am blessed to get paid to be on social media all day! I run all of the social media accounts for Blue Star Families, a nonprofit that works with military families.

Another gorgeous sunset! This is downtown Ghent, which is just a few miles from us.  We often walk Khloe down there to be by the waterfront and explore our community. 

Here is our furbaby Khloe, is she not the cutest pup ever??! 

As I said earlier, I grew up in California.  I was blessed to be able to call San Diego home and before that Hawaii.  Growing up in the Navy does have a few fun perks! I miss the amazing mexican food and my dear friends back in California but I have to say we came to Norfolk with an open mind and I truly believe that has helped us to make this new city our home.  

We are set to be stationed here {my husband is Navy} for 2 more years and then we are hoping to get an overseas assignment!

and finally, a pic of me :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

hello sparkles {a causal summer outfit}

We're blogging for a second week in a row, things are movin' and shakin' around here! 

Last week I put this outfit together and I fell in LOVE. I bought this skirt last year at Forever21 for $9 and it has taken me a while to figure out how I like to wear and be confident wearing it. 

I have finally figured out how to wear this skirt and let's just say it is staple in my weekly wardrobe rotation! I threw this sparkle-y sweatshirt on since the weather was a bit finicky and it instantly became the perfect casual yet cute outfit to run errands, go the coffee shop in and since I'm wearing chuck taylors I even walked the dog around the neighborhood!

sparkle sweatshirt and skirt: forever 21 // top: hand me down from my sis // purse: Francesca's // shoes: chuck taylors/thrifted/$3 score! // necklace: Lisa Leonard via the lovely Alissa

Getting dressed during the hot humid summer of the south can be a bit tricky for me.  I have a hard time wearing shorts. I feel like when I put on shorts and t-shirt I look frumpy and dumpy. Others manage to pull of the cute and casual look of shorts, me not so much. If I feel frumpy and not my best it kind of throws off my whole day and puts me in a funk.  I'm not saying every day I put on a face full of make up and get dressed to the nine's, I just need to feel put together. I have yet to master a t-shirt and shorts combo that gives me that feeling.

Thus I am always searching for more casual skirts and dresses to wear every day. I feel like this skirt when paired with my thirfted chuck taylors are perfect for casual summertime! 

Shorts seem to be booty shorts or crazy mom shorts, does anyone else feel that way?  I don't know if it is because I turned 30 or what but all of a sudden every pair of shorts in every store are about the size of an index card and make me look like a hood rat hoochie mama. {I wonder if people will now find my blog by searching hood rat hoochie mama, ha!}
 What is your current favorite outfit to pull out of the closet?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Reading List

The last few months I feel like my evenings have been filled with episodes of The West Wing and my weekends have been filled with lots of craziness. Somewhere along the way I stopped reading.

I love to read.

I remember as a kid being so thrilled because my mom would always let me order tons of books from the Scholastic book flyer. Then at the end of the year you would get a free book for every 4 or 5 you ordered through out the year. I'd start my summers out with about 10 free books. 

This week I finally headed to our local library and signed up for a library card.  It has been on my to do list for months but I always seemed to remember after the library was closed. Buying books on my kindle or target add up quickly!

I went in hoping to check out either Gone Girl or Lean In, but I had to put my name on a wait list for both. I really hope I get Lean In in the next few weeks. I want to read it before I head to Blogher'13 since Sheryl Sandberg is the keynote speaker on saturday, SO PUMPED! 

I am currently reading the book on top of the stack in the pic above, Carried in Our Hearts,  it is a book about adoption that my sweet husband bought me. So far I am loving it.

I have a few work trips planned for the summer as well as a road trip to Rhode Island and Scott will be gone for a while towards the end of the summer so I foresee lots of time to dive into a few good books. 
And the Mountains Echoed is also on the top of my to read list. I love LOVE LoVeD The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns so I can't wait to get my hands on Hosseini's latest book. 

I also want to read the rest of Lauren Conrad's LA Candy series, super easy read and fun to get lost in for a day.  

What books do you have on your summer reading list, I can always add to my list! 


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

celebrating our wedding day

This past April we celebrated 4 years of marriage, today is the 3 year anniversary of our wedding.  

As many military couples often do we got married at the courthouse and had a bigger wedding later.  A decision I would never change.  Having two days a year to celebrate and reflect on our marriage is wonderful. 

Life isn't always perfect and Scott and I have no where near a perfect marriage but our love for one another is strong enough to last an eternity. 

Last night in our small group we discussed Ephesians 5:21:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

This verse was a great reminder to give everything to my marriage just as Christ gave everything for us. The word "submit" or "submissive" is a negative word in mainstream society. I have struggled to understand what this word means when it is used in the bible.  I am really starting to understand what it means to submit myself to my husband and to the Lord.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

our first small group bible study

Last week we went to our first small group bible study. 

I was a bit nervous and scared. 

I have been to bible studies before.  I went to a wonderful women's bible study at our last duty station. 

But a couples study is new for us.  We have never done a bible study together. I have wanted to do a small group bible study for a long time but first we needed to find a church to call home here in Norfolk. A few weeks ago Scott went to a Saturday morning breakfast at a church we had attended a few times.  The breakfast was to talk about how to engage and support the military families in the community. He came home and felt encouraged and excited to keep going back to the church. I was excited that we had found a church to start going to regularly. 

The next day at church some of the other military couples found us and introduced themselves. They had a small group this past winter that was all younger military couples and they were getting ready to start a summer study.  They mentioned the other members wanted to do a study on marriage. 

Oh my word, this is exactly what Scott and I need.  Our marriage has had a few bumps and hiccups the last few months. We are still adjusting to our new life here in Norfolk, my working full time, Scott having a brand new job, and our constant infertility struggle.  Surrounding ourselves with other couples who are rooted in Jesus, yes,  please! Sign us up! 

I have found myself naturally drifting away from people who bring negative influence into my life.  It isn't something I actively decided to do, it just kind of started to happen and I have to admit it has made such a difference. I think getting back into a weekly bible study is the next step to getting back to a place where I am happy every day and  God is the my center focus.

Do you go to a small group bible study? What are you studying, how has it helped your marriage?

sunnies: c/o firmoo // necklace: soleil selene // top: navy exchange similar // skirt: target // flats: target similar // purse: fancesca's 
this picture isn't the best but i'm actually blogging so that is something, right?? 

This outfit came together on accident, as do most of my outfits. It was very warm out, 85 and humid but my toes needed a new coat of nail polish like whoa. So I needed to wear closed toe shoes. I had on this simple t-shirt with jean shorts. I grabbed the skirt and threw it on, as I was getting ready to change my shirt i thought the casualness of the top was perfect with the dressiness of the pleats and leather like accent on the skirt.  I added the light pink necklace to pull out the light pink in the skirt and make it a bit more spring like. I'm obsessed with this bag right now so using it was a no brainer.  Add my favorite black flats and we have a new outfit to add to the wardrobe rotation.

pleated poppy

Monday, June 3, 2013

life lately {hello friends, im still here}

oh bloggy land how i miss this.

if i am being honest it took me a while to miss you, but now i do.

life has been busy. not busy like wow you are doing sooooo much stuff, but busy as in just living life.

i am working on a blog name change.

i know, i know, kinda crazy but i promise you will love it.

i feel like rellas bellas no longer fits this space.

here is some pics of life lately...

khloe dressed up for memorial day weekend

memorial day is a day to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives to allow us to continue to live in this amazing country.

my parents were in town for memorial day weekend so we had a fun bbq with family and some friends. festive desserts and ice cream was a must.

i am working on getting back into daily time with the Lord and the Word.

finally wore my DIY flower crown out in public. people were staring but i rocked it anyway!

boys and navy toys

i spent saturday afternoon reading refresh and sipping coffee

i spent early saturday evening sitting outside writing

yesterday we had our first beach day of the summer and it was just what our little family needed. 

what have you been up to?

linking up with blair

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