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The Little Foxes

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” Songs of Solomon 2:15

The context of the verse is Solomon and his bride delighting in one another, which started in chapter 1 of the book and carried on to chapter 2. Verse 15 of chapter 2 caught my attention. I was wondering what the little foxes could be and how they would ruin their vines. Foxes are animals usually symbolic of deceit. They’re known for being subtle and crafty. Does this remind you of anyone? There are diverse ways this verse could be applied. I thought of it in terms of relationships. My relationship with my husband, my relationship with God, and The Church’s relationship with Christ.

“take us the foxes”

Whatever the foxes are, this right here is telling me that I can’t catch them on my own. It’s implying teamwork, “US”. Like Solomon and his bride, my husband and I need to strategize as a team against the foxes.

“the little foxes”

This tells me “the foxes” isn’t one huge fox or many huge foxes but several small ones. The trivial things. The petty things that are subtle. The things that get brushed off or go unnoticed but has lasting and damaging effects.

“that spoil the vine”

These little foxes apparently can cause some considerable damage. When something is spoiled it just needs to be thrown away. It can no longer serve its purpose. It’s no longer fit for use. We really need to beware of these little foxes; intentionally paying attention.

“for our vines have tender grapes”

“Tender grapes” here to me implies something that is already fruitful. It’s delicate, growing, and maturing. Unless the little foxes are caught those fruitful vines and tender grapes will be spoiled.

Solomon and his bride compared their relationship to a vineyard that is fruitful. His bride concluded that if they don’t come together to protect it, it will be ruined by the little foxes. Likewise, my marriage and my relationship with my husband will be ruined if we don’t work together against the little foxes that can destroy a marriage or intimacy. The same is true for my relationship with God. God is faithful in doing his part. I need to stay alert and beware of the little foxes that can destroy my relationship with Christ. I don’t have to do it alone either. I have his Holy Spirit to help me maintain our relationship. Both relationships need to be guarded against the forces that will stunt their growth and fruitfulness.

The following 7 little foxes can spoil any good relationship:

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In my relationship with Christ these little foxes can be sinful appetites, lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, the pride of life, comprise with worldly standards, disobedience, and indulgence in the desires of the flesh. I’m thankful for the power of the Holy Ghost to help me overcome these things in our relationship. He helps me to live a godly lifestyle that will keep our relationship growing and thriving.

This scripture can also be seen in relations to “The Church” (Bride of Christ) and its relationship with Jesus (The Groomsman). There are many little foxes that will attempt to spoil this relationship. The primary little fox in relations to this specific scripture is false lying prophets. The prophet Ezekiel talk about them in Ezekiel 13:4-16. The Apostle Peter also talk about them in 2 Peter 2:1-3. These are people who come in the name of the Lord and claim God said things he had not said. They cause people to believe the lies they are speaking and hope in them. God is against them. They seduce people away from the truth of God. The false teachers that are teaching heresies and their own truths that cannot be found in scripture. They will not go unpunished. God cast the angels that sinned down to hell for judgment. He will do the same with all false teachers and lying prophets that are deceiving his bride. They’re mentioned again by John in Revelation 2:2. These are people claiming to be an apostle but are liars who will be exposed by God in the end. Foxes are known to be destructive to vineyards. If the church is not cautious these little foxes can spoil many in the church through false doctrine and teachings.

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TEAMWORK, unity, is one sure way to catch the little foxes and destroy them. Whether it’s alongside your spouse or with the Holy Ghost, we need more than just ourselves to prevent our fruitful vines and tender grapes from being spoiled. We might be able to identify the little foxes individually, but it takes working with one another to conquer them. Solomon’s bride realized what they had was special, but it would take the two of them to protect it.

 

BEWARE OF THE LITTLE FOXES!

Faith and Beauty – Felicia Crowe, SHIFRA Beauty

“Mirror, mirror, mirror on the wall

Tellin’ those lies, pointing out your flaws

That isn’t who you are

That isn’t who you are” -King & Country

If we’re all honest we can admit we have all had moments in our lives where we felt less than beautiful. That moment for me was while I was pregnant and after I gave birth to my son. I struggled with feeling beautiful. I gained so much weight. I dreaded stepping on the scale during my doctor visits. My skin broke out and was discolored on certain parts of my body. I can’t recall right now what condition my doctor said it was, but he promise it would eventually go away after I give birth. The stretch marks that showed up at the very end of my pregnancy was icing on the cake. While I was grateful and blessed to be pregnant my self-esteem went down the drain. I love my son and would do it all over again. I couldn’t imagine not waking up to that big bright beautiful smile he greets me with every morning. However, the struggle was too real. I faced confidence struggle I never imagined I would experience in my life. I kept telling myself I had 8 weeks to get back to “normal”. I was in for a surprise. I did not go back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and the process back to “normal” was a lot slower than I wanted to have patience for. The truth of the matter is my body would never be what it was before and that is okay. It’s a new kind of beautiful. It experienced changes that were permanent, but they serve as a reminder of one of the most beautiful processes in life. While others thought I looked fine I felt fat and unattractive. I assumed my husband would feel the same way, and others would have no mercy when they blurted out how “huge” I became. My husband was beyond sweet in reminding me I am beautiful, and I should be patient and kind with myself. As soon as I looked in the mirror he knew what was about to happen and would tell me to leave myself alone. I even caught him privately scolding one of my little brothers after he continued to tell me how I still looked pregnant. My brother meant no harm and I knew that. I was still hurt by it though. My husband able to see the hurt on my face each time my brother would say that. I remember him telling me, “babe you’re a mom, your body has been through a lot, you gave birth to our son, that’s beautiful, you should look at yourself and be proud of that”. I’m sure you can imagine how emotional I was. He was right. I shift my focus and changed my thinking. My son by far is one of my greatest blessing and miracle but you know what, like any other woman I have fears and insecurities. I now love and appreciate my new body. I’m focused on being fit and healthy and being the mommy Ozi needs. I have been granted one of the best honors in life. Who God says I am is far more important than my cruel feelings. “Godfidence” (confidence in Jesus) is the best form of confidence.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” -Provers 31:30

It was an honor to interview founder and owner of SHIFRA beauty, First lady Felicia Crowe. SHIFRA believes in “Preserving Live and Beauty”. SHIFRA is about making a difference; not only in preserving our natural beauty but also in the life of others. One dollar from every item sold will go to New Beginnings, a non-profit adoption program. SHIFRA is not only an investment in yourself, it’s an investment that will help make a difference in someone else’s life. That is beautiful!

Lady Crowe is beautiful inside and out. I am glad to have her a guest for this faith and beauty blog. Her transparency is relatable. You will laugh and be blessed.

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1) What is SHIFRA?

“SHIFRA is an all-natural skin care line.”

We need more of that in a world driven by artificial things.

2) How do you define beauty?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think everyone sees beauty in their own way. I see beauty in almost everything. I cried during the Avatar ride at Disney because it was so overwhelming beautiful to me.”

This is hilarious to me. I’m imaging seeing your crying face on a ride.

3) What beauty standards do you live by that are from the Bible?

“The Proverbs 31:30 Scripture comes to mind “beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised”. It reminds me to not get so caught up in my outward appearance. Sometimes the pressure to make myself beautiful by the worlds standards conflicts with what God is asking of me. The praise you get from being “beautiful” will fade when your looks fade but what God sees as worthy to be praised is forever.”

I agree and there is so much that’s conflicting.

4) What is in your purse right now or beauty bag?

“Let’s take a look in my beauty bag that is currently located at the bottom of my diaper bag under all the extra outfits, diapers, bottles and snacks. I have SHIFRA’S Manuka Honey Lip Balm, Rose Mint Lip Oil, and a travel size Rose Water Face Mist (obviously *winks*). other items include eyelash curler, clear brow and eyelash gel, mirror and tweezers.”

This is funny to me because I carry around my son’s diaper bag with some of my belongings. Things go missing quick. I love the lip oil and hand cream!

5) Why was it important for you to do a natural beauty line?

“Crafting natural products just feels right! When you have a few family members diagnosed with the evil C word it makes you more conscious of the toxins you put in your body every day.”

I appreciate people with the gift and passion to create less toxic beauty products.

6) How do you handle stress?

“Small stress: I take deep breaths (in through the nose out through the mouth) Major stress: I don’t get often because I do this often…Worship!! Not patty-cake worship but the kind of worship that transcends you to the feet of Jesus. You just lay there for a while and It all becomes so unimportant in His presence.”

Yes, and Amen! Worship and prayer is the best stress reliever. A lasting one at that.

7) Why do women need SHIFRA?

“The skin is the biggest Organ we have. We must take care of it and SHIFRA provides natural God given care for all of your skin needs.”

Come to think of it, I don’t think too many people remember the skin is an organ. It would make a worlds difference in how we choose to protect and take care of it.

8) How do you showcase beauty?

“I walk in purpose knowing I am a daughter of the king and when people look at me I want them to see through me and see Jesus. The joy, the love and the mercy. That’s a beauty I don’t mind showing off.”

“I walk in purpose”… I love that!

9) What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear beauty?

“My children.”

This warms my heart and of course, I’m thinking of my sweet little Ozi.

10) What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“That I was the perfect wife and mother. Even though I know I’m far from perfect it was still amazing to hear “

You are a great mom and wife.

11) How do you feel when people tell you that you’re beautiful?

“I feel surprised! Like ‘who…me’?! lol.”

Lol! It is true others tend to see us far more beautiful than we view ourselves.

12) What do you want women to feel when they use SHIFRA’s products?

“I want them to feel a difference in their skin. I want them to feel like they are glowing.”

I do feel a difference and feel good I’m making healthier choices for my skin.

13) What is your favorite SHIFRA’s product?

“That’s a tough one. I would have to say the Radiant Face Oil. It has made a world of difference for my face that started to lack luster.”

I need to try that one. It hard to find the right products that don’t dry out my face or cause a breakout.

14) Do you like the way you look? How does SHIFRA help with that?

“After having three children via C-section and in my 30s I honestly struggle with feeling confident in my looks but my husband constantly tells me how beautiful I am and that really pushes me to not give up on my appearance. SHIFRA is a whole skin care line that pampers your skin with goodness so you can’t help but feel better After using it. The Honeycomb body wash makes me feel 20 again!!”

I don’t think I need to go into details about how much I felt this and can relate.

15) What do you think it means when people say that beauty comes from the inside?

“Love, Joy and Peace aren’t necessarily tangible so when people see it manifest outwardly they are attracted to the beauty that can only come from within.”

I agree true beauty can only come from within.

This interview was beautiful and refreshing. Be sure to follow SHIFRA Beauty on Instagram, @Shifra_beauty. Purchases can be made at shifrabeauty.com. Thank you, First Lady Crowe, for taking the time to answer these question and, sharing your thoughts on faith and beauty. For more information and further questions email SHIFRA at shifrabeauty@gmail.com.

Almost everything in its right is beautiful to the appropriate set of eyes. Beauty is often equated to attractiveness. However, it is so much more than that. It’s class, grace, and elegance. True beauty is not in outer appearance. It’s not expensive clothes or costly hair groomings. Physical beauty ultimately fades away. As the word of God put it, we are frail. Here today, gone tomorrow and forgotten. It doesn’t matter how well we dress and present ourselves if our spirit is nasty. It doesn’t matter how beautiful we deem ourselves if our soul is filthy or Godless. True beauty should reflect Christ image and likeness within us. True beauty is the mind of Christ in us. It can be seen in those that fear the Lord.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” -Proverbs 31:30

Who are you apart from your physical health and beauty? If your beauty diminishes, will you fade away along with it?

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Cool Modest Summer

HELLO SUMMER!

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? –Shakespeare

Summer is so hot and extreme. I love the cool nights and mango season but I am not a summer’s gal. I don’t like being hot and sweaty, and I burn easily in the sun. Autumn is my season.

I live in Florida and it is HOT all year in my opinion. The weather is also unpredictable. You just don’t know what kind of weather you’re going to wake up to. So how does a lady dress modestly and stay cool in the heat? It’s possible!

Here’s eight ways to keep your summer modest, stylish, and cool.

1.       Wear some sunscreen & drink lots of water

I avoid being directly in the sun at all cost. I use a sunscreen lotion of at least SPF 30 to protect my skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Stay hydrated! I can’t stress this enough. It’s important for our health, not just during the summer. Dehydration and heatstroke are real! If you don’t like drinking water I am sorry, you are missing out on life. Drinking a lot of water helps me keep a clear and healthier skin. Try infusing your water with your favorite fruit(s) to add natural flavors to it. One of my favorite combos is strawberries with mint leave or lemon or cucumbers. Infused water is also great for detoxing. A natural oil and skincare product will help keep your skin moist and cool without looking greasy. Your health and skin will thank you later. I know it’s hot but find a cool time to get some exercising done at your own level and pace. I choose cooler times of the day to exercise because it helps with staying hydrated. If you don’t have the time to go to the gym or go outside in the evening for a walk or run, don’t stress it. Buy yourself a mat and some weights and make it happen at home.

2.       Wear looser fitted and natural fabric clothing

Maxi are everything during the summer. There’s just something about a dress’s flowiness, loose fit and light fabrics that makes the fun summer. I could wear a maxi dress everyday for the rest of my life if I had to or had no other options. Try to avoid fabrics that will stick to your body if you start sweating. I prefer the clothes in my closet that are made of breathable fabrics. The more natural the fabric the better it is. Cotton is one of the best and most affordable natural fabrics. I try not to wear the color black during the summer, especially during the day. That color absorbs heat. It won’t help keep you cool. Even though black makes the body appear slimmer, it’s not the best color to wear when it’s hot outside.

3. Avoid wearing unnecessary accessories

I love making a fashion statement and sometimes less IS more. The iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” The less you carry around the easier it’ll be to stay cool. I have lots of fun with patterns, stripes, and graphic t-shirts. Instead of carrying around your oversize day to day handbag (we all have one of those), try a smaller purse or cross body bag. I do prefer larger handbags because I can carry my entire life in them but if I’m honest I don’t and won’t need 50% of the things I carry in there. It’s too hot in the summer for all that extra weight. I’m about to be a mom of two. We shall see how I manage.

4. Wear summer hats.

Who doesn’t love a chic large summer hat? Whatever your hat style is, it’s a great way to accessorize and protect your face from the sun’s heat. A hat can change an outfit from day to night, casual to dressed-up without doing too much. Have some fun with different types of hats. Make it a part of your summer experience. I like wearing Fedora style hats with maxi dresses and for summer evening outings. They’re super chic for summer. For a sporty or casual summer look, I like wearing baseball style hats or a dad cap. When I want to feel and look more “feminine” or rock a bohemian look I go for a large floppy hat. Protect that summer glow on your face with a nice hat!

5. Style your hair with summer friendly hairstyles

Long or short, hair while beautiful can be annoying. Especially when it’s hot outside. It can get sweaty, greasy, and leave our scalps itching. I don’t like hair all over my face especially when the sun’s heat is blazing. I prefer to style my hair in up-dos or pulled back away from my face. I don’t want any hair sticking to my sweating neck or be the reason why I’m hot and sweating. That’s not a good feeling! I try to use headbands or head wraps to keep my hair pulled back. I love the head wraps I’ve seen a lot of ladies doing but I suck at it. Maybe I will practice more this summer. It’s another way to accessorize or make a statement without overdoing it. Try some hairstyles that allows your scalp to breathe, like box braids or cornrow braids.

6. Wear cover-ups

I’m sure I lost a lot of you there. Why, when it’s so hot? To the average person living in Florida wearing cover-ups might sound senseless. Sleeves are okay during the summer. If I need to be out in about during the day I prefer to wear shorter sleeves. They’re better than wearing tank tops and no sleeves. Tank tops are a means to expose skin, they don’t help keep you cool or protect you from the sun’s heat. Instead of wearing thick jackets and blazers I wear lightweight cover-ups and thin denim jackets. The key is to choose BREATHABLE FABRICS versus wearing close to nothing.

7. When all else fail WEAR WHITE

White is THE ULTIMATE SUMMER STAPLE! It’s an easy, effortless, chic and soft look. A white dress with a cute pair of summer shoes is it. White doesn’t absorb heat like darker colors and black does. I love neutral colors overall and they’re seriously perfect for summer. If you must wear colors, try wearing lighter colors like pastel hues.

8. Wear the right kind of shoes

There is such a thing. Summer is one of the best times to bring out your open-toe wedges, flats, sandals, and sneakers. I like wearing the shoes that are comfortable and leave room for my feet to breathe. The summer’s heat will make it worse if you’re wearing shoes that are uncomfortable. Comfortable and breathable is the key here.

HOW DO YOU STAY MODEST AND COOL DURING THE SUMMER?

Broken and Poured Out

Many of us, myself included, are ashamed and afraid to be seen by others in our broken stages. Often that is when we can be poured out before God and be used the most by him.

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When I hear the word “broken” it’s usually about something or someone that is damaged, not fit for use, or able to fulfill its designed purpose. Broken means reduced to fragments, not functioning properly or out of working order, weakened in strength or spirit, and having given up all hope or being defeated. That’s basically the opposite of being complete, connected or wholesome. The Bible, however, gave me a different or should I say better perspective of brokenness.

Psalm 34 verse 18 says, “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit”. This verse is referring to our hearts being broken over our sins. When we are truly sorry for our sins, which is brokenness, the Lord is present according to this verse. How awesome is that? To know that God is present in my brokenness. I believe for this to happen we must spend time getting to know Jesus and building an intimate relationship with him. This kind of response to sin is a result of time spent alone in God’s word and presence.

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“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”. Matthew 11:29

A broken heart and spirit is an acceptable sacrifice to God. Outside of this biblical or godly context, it’s unacceptable. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise”, Psalm 51 verse 17. God desires a repentant heart. A heart broken with sorrows for sin. Just as King David was in Psalm51 after the prophet Nathan came to him after he sinned with Bathsheba. True worship in spirit and in truth comes from a heart broken over sin and poured out before God.

There’s purpose in being broken and poured out. God will show up to heal us from the wounds of sin, forgive us, comfort us from our sorrow, then bind up our wounds. His presence can then fill us up with truth and righteousness. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds”, Psalm 147 verse 3. Being broken and poured out results in us humbling ourselves before God.

Once we are broken we can empty ourselves and allow the Spirit of God to fill us. We can then pour out in worship and be an effective vessel to demonstrate God’s love, goodness, and mercy. God allows us to be broken to rebuild us for his glory. Our brokenness is supposed to draw us to the presence of God as he is near. Too many times we tend to hind in shame or fear. Pride can easily cause us to miss his presence!

In Psalm 34 verse 18 brokenhearted in its Hebrew origin “nishbar lev”, the one with a broken heart, is referring to our inner life, our affections, mind, and will. We can submit these things to God when we are broken and poured out before him. Our inner life of thoughts and feeling is usually expressed in our actions. When we are inwardly shattered we need God’s divine help and deliverance. Hence why he is near, but we must pour out and allow him to fill us up. We will miss him if we are full of ourselves and everything else contrary to his word. A heart that is humbled at God’s displeasure for sin is tender and willing to bend to God’s will. Then, God “will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit”, Psalm 51 verse 9.

Unfortunately, it does take an actual heartbreak sometimes to get us into the state of brokenness. However we get there, God will be near. “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, Matthew 5 verse 3.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. 1 John 1:9

 

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15

 

My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2

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7 Online Shopping Hacks

I love to shop. I enjoy shopping. Whether or not I’m buying anything it’s just something I like doing. I enjoy it even when I’m shopping online. It’s spring, a lot of people, myself included, like to spring clean our closet. If you haven’t read 12 Fashion Staples for Your Closet you are doing yourself and closet a disservice. Before you go on a shopping spree or on a hunt for replacement pieces read it and find out why. Thank me later.

I believe there’s an art to shopping. One does not simply walk into a store and buy the very first thing your eyes land on. Unless you’ve been eying it for a while, it’s a must-have that’s on sale, or a once in a lifetime deal you won’t get anywhere else. I take my time to look around, find the sales or clearance section, look at prices, compare prices of various brands and retail stores. I take time to enjoy the different fashion and styles displayed for the season. I look at colors, patterns, fabrics, and the quality of the clothes (cheaper prices aren’t always worth it). I take in as much as I can, from how the racks are positioned to the set up of the store. Shopping is an experience! This sounds great when you’re shopping at your local mall, retail or thrift stores, right? It can be just as enjoyable online. It’s a matter of mindset. For me, online shopping is equally fun and enjoyable. Depending on your view of the internet world and shopping, online shopping can be an intimidating experience at first. Once you get the hang of it or a feel for it you’ll realize how easy and convenient it is.

Here are some tips from my online shopping experience to help you with yours.

  • Shop at a secured website
  • Know your measurements
  • Read the reviews
  • Know the company’s shipping terms
  • Know the company’s return policies
  • Look for coupon offers and discount codes
  • Set a budget

 

  • Shop at a secured website
    • You want to always shop at a website that will allow you to use a secure payment method. If several things appear to be out of the ordinary don’t trust the site. It will lessen your chances of identity theft and your funds getting jacked. Make sure the website is legitimate and secured. I like using PayPal as my payment method. It gives me buyers protection and protection against fraudulent activities. It’s also important to check the website’s reputation. You don’t want to shop somewhere that has terrible reviews or customer service. Make sure you can contact someone through email AND phone in case you face any issues while shopping or if there’s something wrong with something you purchased. You especially want to make sure you can speak to someone on the phone if the issue is with your money.
  • Know your measurements
    • Clothing sizes vary depending on clothing brand or merchant. It’s important to know your size, especially in centimeters and inches. The online store usually displays them as such instead of the expected small, medium, and large size. You can use a measuring tape to measure your bust, waist, hips, and inseam. If you’re not sure how exactly to do this there are YouTube video tutorials that can help you. You can also visit your local seamstress or tailor to figure this out. While some clothes are true to size others are not. You need to know your size to determine whether to stick to your exact size, buy a size down or buy a size up. THE SIZE CHART IS YOUR FRIEND! Please use it. It may vary slightly depending on the brand or company but is fairly the same overall. It’s a useful guide.
  • Read the reviews
    • Customer reviews in the online shopping world are gold. Take some time to read some. You’ll get a real perspective on whatever it is you’re interested in buying. Ads can be deceiving. Most buyers will include photos with their reviews which is even better. Look for reviews that include comments on the size, fit, and material quality of what you want to buy. It’ll help give you a better idea of how something will fit, if it’ll be true to size or if you’ll need to buy a size up or down. Remember ads and online model displays can be deceiving and hyped up so don’t just go off that alone.
  • Know the company’s shipping terms
    • A lot of online stores in the United States offers free shipping. Other stores, especially if your shipment is coming from overseas, charge a fair shipping fee. If shipping isn’t free your shipping price is usually based on the shipping option you choose, standard, express or overnight shipping. If shipping is free it’s always my option. Costly shipping is not worth it in my opinion if getting it later than sooner is the only downfall. The length of delivery is often based on the carriers the company uses. i.e. FedEx, UPS, USPS. It shouldn’t take a company more than 2-3 day to ship your package to you. Be sure to check if tracking is provided for you to track your package (s). Some carriers will require a signature or someone to be present at the time of delivery.
  • Know the company’s return policies
    • It crucial to know how, when, and if you can return or exchange what you purchase. You might not like what you purchase once you receive it or it might not fit properly. You want to be able to return it. Check the return policy before placing your order. Check how long you have to return things, how much it’ll cost you or if returns are free. You also want to check if you can make exchanges, get your money back or get store credit.
  • Look for coupons and discount codes
    • Coupons and discount codes will save you a lot of money on your overall purchase at checkout. Always check out the sales and markdown items. If you can get coupons and discount codes on top of whatever sales offered, it’s worth celebrating. Your bank account and husband will thank you after checkout.
  • Set a budget
    • You know your shopping habits and how often you shop. Unless you are a millionaire or have money to blow give yourself a budget. If you’re disciplined in your spending you won’t mind a budget. You want to be responsible with your money. It is easy to overspend and get carried away when your shopping online. It’s much easier than at a local store. It’s really like throwing it all in the bag. It’s not possible to feel the weight of everything you added to your cart. Treat yourself if you can but buy what you need first. A budget will help you smile when you click on your cart and not have to explain to your spouse where all these packages are coming from.

BONUS: sign up for emails and exclusive offers from your favorite stores and company. You will be among the first to know of special offers, discounts, and sales.

Three of my favorite online stores are ASOS.COM, SHEIN.COM, and LOLASHOETIQUE.COM. ASOS is especially great for high-quality clothing and designer’s brands at affordable prices. SHEIN has a lot of trendy clothing at some of the lowest prices in the market. While some of their clothes are exceptionally excellent quality material for the cost others not so much. Don’t expect Louis Vuitton quality material for an $8 dress.

I hope you enjoyed these hacks! If you have some of your own, please share them with me.

12 Fashion Staples for Your Closet

Make day to day dressing easier, fun, and enjoyable for yourself. Replace your “I have nothing to wear” in my closet with these 12 wardrobe staples.

 

  1. PROPER UNDERGARMENTS!

I can not stress enough how important this is. Give some thought to your undergarment and avoid embarrassing fashion crisis. The wrong kind of undergarment can ruin your outfit. Things like a T-shirt bra, versatile bra, the right kind of underwear, a full body slip, and shapers are essentials in a woman’s closet. Proper undergarments are the foundation of a great outfit and feeling confident in your look. I know you love your striped Victoria Secrets bra but try not to wear it underneath your crispy white tee. I have done this. Cringe! Embarrassing.

  1. A LITTLE BLACK DRESS (MODEST BLACK DRESS)

Every woman should have a LBD. It is chic on its own or can be fun with a couple of accessories. It’s a perfect go-to for any occasion. Find one that compliments your figure.

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  1. A TAILORED BLAZER

A tailored blazer is great inside and outside of the office. It’s flattering on any size or silhouette. It’s perfect during the cool springs or over a nice cocktail dress.

  1. A BLACK PENCIL SKIRT

A black pencil skirt works well for a quick business formal or casual, and Sunday evening service look. You can dress it down with a chic striped shirt or tee shirt. You can add a blazer for a more sophisticated look.

  1. A WHITE TEE

You can’t go wrong with a nice white T-shirt. It is versatile. You can wear it as is, with a trendy skirt, layer it, or throw a leopard scarf over it. It’s perfect with an oversized or plaid blazer.

  1. A MIDI SKIRT

A midi skirt is very flattering, womanly, and modest. It’s perfect for church and the workplace. I have long legs and honestly think I look the best in midi skirts. It’s very flattering to my long legs.

  1. THE PERFECT JEAN

Every woman needs a couple of flattering jeans. They’re great for your day to day schedule, grocery store runs, casual outings, and semi-formal wear.

  1. A CLASSIC WHITE SHIRT

The possibilities are endless! Whether it’s for the office, a day around town, or your favorite Sunday skirt, a classic white shirt adds simple elegance.

  1. A TRENCH COAT

Trench coats are a classic. You can wear it over just about anything, look and feel comfortable. It’s an investment.

  1. AN EVENING BAG

You don’t NEED a closet full of purses if you have the right kind of purses. A chic handbag or clutch is great to have. It’s perfect for your evening events and girls’ night outs.

  1. BALLET FLATS

You can still look chic or “dressed up” in a nice pair of ballet flats. They great for long days. You can transition from day to night in them. They will look good with your jeans and button-down blouses.

FLATS

  1. DAY TO NIGHT HEELS

A pair of neutral hue heels is a must-have. It could be black, grey, or nude. Get yourself some classic pumps, strappy heels or sandals, or some ankle boots you can transition from a daytime look to night time wear.

 

“Buy less, choose well.” – Vivienne Westwood 

MY SON

Precious Oziel Joel Adams

I love the book of Proverbs in the Bible. It’s like “Life Principles 101”. I made it a goal back in college to read it every year. This year on the Bible app, I found a plan that allows me to read it in a loop for the entire year. I had four more days until I gave birth to you, my firstborn. I was super excited. The anticipation to meet you was nerve-racking. Anytime I said “my son” or referred to you, it reminded me of Lady Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. I felt like I was about to drop some wisdom or say something of importance to you. Being able to say “my son” really warms my heart and make me smile. You are my miracle from God. The thought gave me an idea to write a letter to you using the “My Son” sayings I read in the book of Proverbs. This won’t mean much to you now as a newborn baby, but I hope you come across it later in life and it serves you well.

 

My Son,

Listen when your father corrects you, and don’t neglect my instructions.

Ignore the temptations of bad companions.

Don’t waste time listening to them.

Take to heart the counsel I’m giving you.

You will live a long life.

Don’t be angry when God corrects you.

God loves you.

Hold on to common sense and discernment.

You will have a long, good life.

Listen carefully to my wisdom and wise counsel.

Stay away from immoral and promiscuous women.

Find a wife.

Don’t make promises impulsively.

Follow your father’s advice and consider my teachings.

Carefully treasure my advice.

Don’t stop listening to instruction, you need knowledge.

When your heart becomes wise, my heart will rejoice.

Wisdom will point your life in the right direction.

The knowledge of wisdom is good for your soul.

It will give you hope and a bright future.

Fear God, don’t be defiant, your life could turn upside down.

Find wisdom, it’ll make me glad.

Don’t waste time on women, and alcohol.

Don’t waste your treasures.

Speak up for the voiceless.

Help the poor and helpless.

Do not withhold good when it is in your power to do so.

My son.

Son of my womb.

Son of my vows.

Start with God.

Fear God.

Bow down before God.

That is the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom.

Love mommy.

 

Share Your Love

LOVE

 

 

Life on earth is short. One day each one of our lives will come to an end. As written in the Bible, we’re a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Our lives are frail and not one of us know our end. We don’t have the slightest idea when our spirit will return to God and our bodies back to dust. I encourage you not to wait until it is too late or no longer matters to express love, care about others, and show kindness. Be concern now. Love even when it’s not Valentine’s Day or considered love month. Don’t get caught up being bitter, prideful, petty, holding grudges, bickering, or being selfish. Now is the time to show concern and pray. Share your love now when others can receive it. Be intentional about loving.

 

Share something in the comment section that reminds you of love or reminds you to love.

 

Your favorite verse on love

Your favorite song of love

An act of love

Your thoughts on love

Your Valentine’s Day

 

One of my favorite songs of love is “Forever Yours” by Smokie Norful.

https://youtu.be/1V8y2qLuaHA

Finding Love

I’ve heard them say that love is blind.

Deceitful hearts blind them from seeing true love.

The love I know gave sight to the blind.

He sees all things.

God, is the love I know.

So, you see…

Love cannot be blind.

Love saw me when I believed love was blind.

Love saw me when I believe love hurt.

Love saw me when I couldn’t love myself.

I was so far from the truth, blinded by disappointments, hurt, and heartbreak.

My emotions and what I chose to believe made me blind to love.

Rejection hurt, lies hurt, hurt people hurt other people, manipulations hurt, deceit hurt, anger, and bitterness hurt.

Love, love doesn’t hurt. Love isn’t blind.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is humble.

Love forgives.

Love heals.

God is love, love cannot be blind.

The thoughts of a younger me after finding love for the very first time. I found love in Jesus. It took getting my heart broken to know God is love. That doesn’t have to be your story. Struggling to deal with my broken heart, confused about the true meaning of love, in my quest to find comfort no one was able to offer me, I discovered 1 John 4 verse 8: “but anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love”. Truth be told, I didn’t know God. That scripture captured my attention and I became determined to know who God was. I wanted to find love. If he is love as the scripture said, I would find it once I find him. The more I knew God the more I understood love. I realized searching for love in all the wrong places and people. I searched for romantic love, but God’s unconditional love was what I needed.

My parents did the best they could as parents to raise me. They did everything they knew to the best of their abilities but even their love (Storge) was not enough for me. I gave myself to romantic love (Eros). Too young, too soon. I was left at my darkest. It was never the will of God for me. Romantic love is great when it’s done right and shared with a deserving person. In the present, I can say I am happily married and can experience romantic love the way God intended. I’m not at all implying my marriage is perfect or easy but I know I chose to share my love with someone who deserves it. He knows God and understands love. While I am content with my husband’s love, it could never replace the love of God. We are growing in love. Our love would be weak and meaningless if God wasn’t our main source of love.

I found God searching for love, and unconditional love in God. He is the beginning and author of familial love, brotherly love, and even romantic love. To manifest his love toward us, God wrapped himself in flesh as Jesus to die for us (1 John 4:9). Because of his love I can love myself, my family, my friends, and community. Love came down to rescue me. He sacrificed himself so I can have eternal life (John 3:16). His love is selfless and sacrificial. A person can give without loving but it is impossible to and not give. Because God is love, love is patient, love is kind, love is humble, love forgives, love gives, love keeps no record of wrong, and love is not easily angered. There is no greater love than the love of God (John 15:13). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, Romans 5 verse 8. There are so many circumstances that can change or get in the way of romantic, familial, and brotherly love. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).

 

While you are out enjoying Love Month and Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the greatest love, God’s unconditional love.

 

The Adams
The Adams. Photo captured by Life With The Crooks Photography lifewiththecrooks.com. Dress and Bow tie made by Kylia Campbell Designs, LLC kyliacampbell.com

2 Forms of Love Mentioned in The Bible

Many worldwide consider the month of February as the “Month of Love” or “Love Month”. I always viewed it as just another month because I want to be shown love on a consistent basis, not just when February comes around. I am here for the celebration though, I’m not mad at it. I celebrate Valentine’s Day. I love when I receive roses, chocolate, or a thoughtful gift. I enjoy dressing up and going on a nice date. However, I don’t restrict or bind love to this one month or day of celebration. I am not at all suggesting that’s what others do. I’m not mad at anyone who does. When my husband and I were just courting he would surprise me in the most unexpected ways. It was our first Valentine’s Day and I wasn’t expecting anything. He had the second key to my car. I woke up that morning and found my car washed and cleaned, the most beautiful dozens of red roses, a nice card he wrote in, and my favorite chocolate., and a full tank of gas. I woke up feeling super spoiled. I loved every minute of it. What was special about it wasn’t the fact that he showered me with so many gifts in one day or that it was on Valentine’s Day, it was the fact that this was a regular habit of his. He always found a way to surprise me and didn’t always have to spend any money either. There was a huge my size teddy bear along with the other gifts that I did not care for. A lot of women I know love them, but I am not fond of teddy bears or stuffed animals at all. I had to find a kind way to communicate to him my dislike for them and balloons to avoid getting more in the future. Of course, I did this after I expressed my appreciation for him and what he did. Can you imagine how disappointed and upset I would have been if my hope for love and expectations of him was placed in that one day of celebration?

JOHN 3

So, let us talk about love. I think it’s safe to say love is important to us all in some way, shape, or form. The problem is many of us are confused about love, what it is, how to love or be loved. Some people might say they have never experienced real love. While many others are stuck fearing love.

 

LOVE DEFINED

  • An intense feeling of deep affection
  • A person or thing that one loves
  • Sexual passion or desire
  • Deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone

RELATED WORDS

  • Adoration
  • Very strong liking
  • Affection
  • Appreciation
  • Delight
  • Emotion
  • Zeal
  • Fond
  • Infatuation
  • Enchantment
  • Lust
  • Worship
  • Yearning
  • Weakness

 

The definition of love and related is very interesting. It will all sound strange if one doesn’t know or understand that there are different forms of love. Ancient philosophers identified four forms of love: Storge, Philio, Eros, and Agape.

  1. STORGE: essential, familial love, natural affection.
    1. The love of a parent(s) for their child.
  2. PHILIO: friendly virtuous love.
    1. Loyalty to one’s family, friends, and community which requires virtue and familiarity.
  3. EROS: romantic, passionate love.
    1. Sensual desires or longing felt for another person.
  4. AGAPE: a pure type of love, divine love.
    1. The love of God for humanity.

The Bible mentions only two of the forms of love identified by philosophers. We can find “AGAPE” and “PHILIO” in the New Testament portion of the Bible. Agape love is described as unconditional, selfless, and charitable. Jesus is the prime example of agape love. It’s the kind of love Christians aspire to have for one another. Especially for a person that is an enemy. Philio love is described as “brotherly love”. It’s our human responsibility for one another. Our delightful commitment and loyalty to our family, friends, church, and community.

The Bible teaches us God is love (1 John 4:8). We can’t have agape or philio love apart from God. Love comes from God and he is the source of love. Through Christ, we can have an unconditional love for others. That includes love for ourselves and people we are not fond of. Jesus told us to love our enemies, bless those that curse us, do good to those that hate us, and pray for those that use us (Matthew 5:43-48). When we are truly saved we can not love just the people who love us or make us feel good. That is what the world does. Unconditional and brotherly love requires us to be like Christ. Jesus made it clear in Mark 12 verse 28 to 34, that we must love others the way we love ourselves. He said it’s the second most important commandment. The first being loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul explained to us if we don’t have love we have nothing. It doesn’t matter what we do, without love it is meaningless. Love is the greatest. His explanation helps us to understand the nature of love. John, in 1 John 4 verse 17 to 11, reminds us to continue to love one another because love comes from God. If we cannot love other people, then we don’t really know God. He went on to say, real love is not us loving God but God’s sacrifice of himself to take away our sins. For that reason, we must love others.

 

God is love… 1 John 4:8

Love is… 1 Corinthians 13

Love is the greatest… 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love others… 1 John 4:7

Love covers… 1 Peter 4:8

There is no fear in love… 1 John 4:18

Do all things in love… 1 Corinthians 16:14

 

ROMANS 8