The Gratitude Game

Oh hey!
It's November in case you hadn't noticed. We're already four days deep which is pretty hard to get our heads around! Just us? That means we are just twenty-something days away from Thanksgiving and not much further out from Christmas! I'm sure that's not what you wanted us to point out to you on your Monday morning! Whoops!

One of our favorite things about the start of the holiday season is that we all seem to (at least try) to take some time to refocus on the more important things in life--like family and friendship and gratitude and generosity...and also food. For whatever wonderful reason, the start of the holiday season seems to bring us back to what matters. We know that these days it can also be really stressful, but we're choosing to capitalize on that natural draw back to life essentials and we hope you'll make that choice with us!

We thought it might be fun to turn gratitude into a little game that we can all play together! We're kicking it off today and we'll keep the fun going all November long!

Here's how it works:

1. Snap a photo and share a thought around gratitude or generosity for the day on Facebook or the Gram

2. Tag a friend and For Glory and Beauty to pass it on! (forglorybeauty on Instagram)

3. We will repost and share in our stories and on our feed all month long!

4. There may or may not be a giveaway at the end of the month for everyone who joins in :) We'll keep you posted on what goodies we'll be giving away!

It's the greatest time of year, sweet friends, and we can't wait to celebrate the best parts of life with all of you!

Taco Tuesday Twist

Who doesn’t love Taco Tuesday!?
We adore tacos everyday, but Taco Tuesday just has a nice ring to it and gives a pretty blah day of the week a little bit more umph!
For the sake of not being a hypocrite, I’m gonna keep this intro short. There is nothing I hate more than looking for a recipe and having to dig through an endless blog post first. I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHAT I NEED FOR THE RECIPE. Am I right? You don't care about my taco making/eating experience, you just saw tacos and you want to get to 'em! I will NOT stand in the way of your Taco Tuesday! I can’t make that promise once you click the links....

All I’m gonna say is that I tried the Fish Tacos with the mango salsa yesterday and they were #winning.

We’ve gathered some of our favorites and lots we want to try! We’ve got some vegestarian tacos, healthy spins on tacos, cultural twists, and even tacos for breakfast! Now we’ll leave you to your Taco Tuesday! Here are a few fun twists on an old classic to spice up some time with family or friends or yourself this week! Let us know if you try any and which ones are your faves!

Tilapia Tacos with Zucchini + Fresh Mango Salsa

Sweet Potato + Black Bean Tacos

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Chickpea Taco Salad with Avocado Ranch Dressing

Greek Chicken Tacos with Tzatziki + Hummus

Classic Breakfast Tacos

An Anchor for our Souls

I love those sweet moments when Holy Spirit speaks truth to us.
When He is faithful to His word to bring to mind the promises we know so well but may have forgotten just when we need them most. How He soothes our souls with them and helps us stand firm and rest in them.

I’m sort of a purist. I don’t really love all the catch phrases and cheesy, gimmicky lines that Christians often put on their car bumpers and T-shirts and toss around in conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good alliteration or something that helps an idea stick, but I really believe there’s something to be said about keeping things original and authentic. So, for me, there is something magical about a portion of Scripture that is lovely and memorable in its original form—no rewording or gimmicks—just the beauty and purity of God speaking straight to us.

Recently the water has been a little choppy for me and I can’t seem to steer my boat through the thick fog on most days—metaphorically speaking. I used to be a kids pastor, I just can’t help it with the object lessons and metaphors. Anyways. I was saying. Life is a bit unsteady and uncertain and unclear at the moment for me. I’m between jobs and not sure what’s next for me or even what I want to be next for me. I’m about two weeks from rent and a long list of bills that will need paying after three weeks of no steady income.

I know I should trust Him—I do. He’s never given me any reason to do anything but trust Him completely. He’s never been anything but constant and faithful and kind and generous. He’s always showed up and always made a way and always provided exactly what I’ve needed. Always. I know that He will again.
Of course He will.
 Right now I’ve got to sit in that crazy, chaotic, beautiful tension of doing my part but knowing that He will do His regardless of what I do or do not do. His working never depends on mine. His love does not depend on mine either.

Without looking for it or turning to it in my Bible, this scripture came to me sweetly last week and has stayed with me since:

Mostly this one line:

His hope is an anchor for my soul.

Just that.
So simple. So sweet. Holy Spirit always knows just when to pull up all of those Sunday School lessons and childhood memory verses.

I literally had to Google the reference for it. I knew it was straight out of scripture but honestly couldn’t remember where. Google kindly pointed me to Hebrews 6:19. And as I read around it and soaked in the context, it got even sweeter!

It’s a lovely thought free standing for sure. That in this chaotic, choppy, foggy space, He anchors me. He’s the peace and the steady and the clarity that will ground me and hold me here. But the context takes that anchor even deeper.

What exactly is His hope? What is the hope that is anchoring my soul?

The hope is Jesus and even more so, all that He’s done on our behalf. His blood that covers our sin and redeems us and His place in heaven even now mediating on our behalf.

So I can and should hold onto God’s hope with my whole heart! His steady and peace and clarity does not depend on me or anything I do here, I’m literally holding onto the hope that Jesus has already done it all for me and gone before me and that is anchoring my soul!

I may not be certain of much right now, but I am certain of this—that hope is one heavy anchor. If I hold onto that above all else and in spite of all else, I’ll be more than fine.

And so will you!

His hope is there. Always in front of us, always free to us, always ready to steady us. All that’s left is for us to hold onto the edges of our rocking boat and reach out to grab it through the blinding fog.

Fall Bucket List

Fall is upon it whether or not we're ready for it. But for real, does anyone NOT love Autumn....? Maybe don't mention it if you don't...

We've put together a list of all the fun autumn activities we're hoping to check off this season! Let us know in the comments below or on Insta if you think we've missed anything or have some classics that we should share with all of our friends here!

<3 Autumn stroll to see the leaves (with fun fall drinks of course)

<3 Leaf Jumping

<3 Rake leaves for a neighbor or someone who can't

<3 Sunday drive to a peaceful spot--phone free

<3 Change your closet to fall/winter

<3 Buy a fun fall nail and/or lip shade

<3 Host a sweater or scarf swap with friends

<3 Build a scarecrow with friends and/or family

<3 Send "just because" thank you cards

<3 Go see a drive in movie and have take out in the car

<3 Host a costume or theme party

<3 Host a fall movie night (When Harry Met Sally, Remember the Titans, etc.)

<3 At least one bonfire with blankets and all the cozy clothes

<3 Donate old fall/winter wear to those in need

<3 Host or participate in a progressive dinner with friends or neighbors

<3 Check out your local art museum

<3 Paint a pumpkin

<3 Try a new pumpkin recipe (or some spicy fall flavor if you're not a pumpkin fan....but don't tell us if you aren't ;)

<3 Try a seasonal beverage from a few different coffee shops

Favorite Footware for Fall

Look. Summer is still with us for a little while longer, but we can't lie... 
Today we're sharing our favorite foot ware trends for this fall. Our wish lists if you will! We'll link our must haves below.

Check out these cuties from Old Navy. They're currently $32 but you know soon enough they'll be on sale! Sure it's fall, but leaves turn yellow in the fall. Don't be afraid to keep some sunshine in your fall wardrobe. Especially when most of your clothes will move to neutral, keep some pops of fun and color in the accessories! These are a great mix between dressed up and casual and you can play with that line. (I may or may not have been able to resist picking up a lavender pair on sale...)

These cuties are a great neutral with a burst of surprise and fun--party in the back if you will. And the best part is you can snag them up on Amazon and have them on your doorstep in just two days!

These are such a fun twist on a sweet and simple mary-jane shoe. They're black and neutral but a whole lot of fun, and they're from one of our favorite online shops--Roolee!

We can't even tell you how long we've been obsessed with these guys! FOR SO LONG! We've been drooling over them for a while now. They also happen to be from Roolee (though they're Free People) and they are such a great shoe to take you from summer into fall. Not too heavy, but not quite a sandal, and they come in all sorts of colors and textures! They are a bit pricey, so we'll also link some similar ideas at lower costs below...
Target Version

Loving this bright berry color for fall. Another fun option to brighten up all those chunky sweaters and neutrals. Also loving the fun style with cute buckle back! These guys also come in black and tan if you want to keep it more simple.

These are a classic for me and one thing I'll buy over and over again. It's a super simple straight forward rain boot in olive green. I love this boot because it's so simple and practical and I love the olive because it's a spin on neutral that works with everything. At just $25 from Target, you can't beat this boot! They come in a few other colors as well!

Share your favorites with us over on Insta, because let's be real, none of us can have too many cute fall booties!

Learning Liturgies

Let me get one thing straight right away:

I am no expert on the subject of liturgies. Not even close.

It is, however, something that I am learning and loving at the moment.

You could say that liturgy is a trending word and topic at the moment--which is really quite funny--because liturgy is most certainly not new or cutting edge. Not in the least. In fact, it might be one of the oldest most basic human things we have--just making its come back as of late.

I have so enjoyed my leisurely read through a little book I stumbled upon earlier this year--Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. I say leisurely not due to lack of interest--you know those books you sort of pick up and put down and leave for a while and come back to--it's not like that. I'm legitimately enjoying every morsel of it and I sort of don't want it to end--more like that. I may or may not have joined a leadership cohort at church that's very heavy on the reading and leading in the midst of my read and therefore haven't had as much time or attention to give to it as of late--but I legit miss it while I'm away. It's that sort of a read. I obviously highly recommend it. It's definitely one of those books that I know is going to be a reference point for me far into the future--a bench marker of sorts--a turning point in my faith life.

The basic premise of the book is this: as Christians we tend to waste a lot of our lives chasing down the extraordinary. We wait around and long for the big, earth shattering, life altering moments in faith and impact, when actually we are missing out on so many opportunities in between. In our pursuit of the extraordinary, we throw away so much ordinary that has the potential to be extraordinary. The book proposes a perspective shift--a shift back to the beauty and rhythm of liturgies-but not only in the very traditional church-y sense of the word. Often we imagine liturgy to mean sitting and standing in hard pews surrounded by stained glass apostles and sliding rosary beads through our fingers. We box it in and we tuck it away and we decide that liturgy doesn't allow for God to work and move.

Actually, it seems, we couldn't be more wrong.

Liturgy is so much more. Liturgy is the daily rhythm of our everyday ordinary lives in harmony with God moving and breathing and speaking. Liturgy is not shutting Him out or boxing Him in, it's actually creating more space and opportunity in our days and our lives to let Him in and to let Him speak and move. It's including Him in our rhythms, our habits, our ordinary and allowing Him to show His extraordinary self there. It's refusing to wait around to find Him in the explosive moments and instead recognizing that He is already present and active in the flow of our lives. The author encourages us to look at our daily lives and build rhythms around what we're already doing all of the time. Rather than carving out more space for "Jesus time," why not utilize already had time in different ways-why not include him in the everyday rhythm?

Here are a few of my favorite liturgies that I've been working into my everyday as I've journeyed through this book---

Making the Bed
Something I used to be much more faithful and diligent about before I got the queen sized bed that's pushed against a wall. Something about that set up just doesn't motivate me to keep on top of this. However, it's something I really want to keep on top of. It's something I know makes me feel better about the rest of my day and a habit I want to cultivate. So, I figured since I was looking to work on a new habit, this was a good space to build in liturgy. I have not been perfect with this, but I am faithfully trying to make this the first thing I do when I wake up. Make the bed, call my little pup up with me, and say a prayer to start my day. But not just any prayer, a prayer that I have written and that is specifically meant for this moment--to kick start my day. It's a simple prayer that thanks God for another sunrise, for new life, for his grace and mercy, and that asks Him to center me for the day. Though I still struggle through the waking up early, this is becoming a sweet start to my day that I really miss when I skip.

Washing the Dishes
I happen to live in a 1920's building with no dish washers. I hand wash all of my dishes. This is no big deal for me since I have lived in several spaces without a dish washer. I'm also a neat freak who does not like dishes piling up--I won't even go to sleep with dirty dishes in the sink. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time doing dishes. It felt like a natural way to build in a regular liturgy. Spiritually something that I struggle with a lot is confession and asking for forgiveness--not because I don't want to, simply because in my pride I forget that I've done anything in need of repentance that day. Of course I have-probably done many things that I'm not even aware of. So, I felt very strongly that the prayer and the liturgy around the dishes should be one of confession, admission, and asking for forgiveness. I wanted that to become a part of my daily life, and since dishes are definitely a part of my daily life, this seemed like a sure way to get it in--maybe even on multiple occasions. It's a prayer that simply confesses my sin and my brokenness and neediness. It thanks God for His love and grace and mercy that are bigger than the sin and the shame.

Getting Ready
Something I've struggled with a great deal through the years is body image and insecurity surrounding my weight and my value in light of it. I've always doubted my desirability because I don't look like a girl on the pages of Vogue. And look--you can tell me until you're blue in the face that I'm beautiful and that it doesn't matter and I can tell myself and I can know it, but the struggle is still very present and very real. I've worked really hard this last year to let go of some of that and embrace my body for what it is--to stop hating it and beating myself up about it and just do the best that I can for it. When I decided to build a liturgy around getting ready, I knew it needed to correlate to this idea. It needed to be a prayer that I said when I was in front of the mirror. A prayer asking God to show me how He sees me and to learn to love myself the way that He does so that I can love others better. This liturgy is meant to be said while I'm in front of the mirror--to force me to look into my own eyes.

I won't lie to you--praying before I eat is something that has faded for me through the years. I still pray when I'm with family or a group of believers, but when I'm alone or with one or two people, I usually don't. I decided this is a liturgy I should build back into my life. Not as a piece of ritual, but as an opportunity in my day to take a moment and to thank God for His provision and precious gifts. This is a moment to be grateful and to recognize that even my most basic needs come from His hands. 

Getting up Early
Oh goodness am I struggling through this one--mostly because I cannot get to sleep super early and also because my body literally cannot function before7:00AM. But I'm trying because I know this is an incredibly valuable and rewarding habit to build. I know that my day always goes much better when I've taken the time to wake up, stretch a bit, sip some coffee, and get some time with Jesus in. I want so much for this to be a lasting liturgy in my life. Currently I'm facing this alongside a friend from church who also struggles. We've been encouraging each other through texts and calls and sharing the good days and the bad. This is a liturgy I want as a constant fixture--a non-negotiable in my life. It feels like I met never get there at the moment, but I certainly hope and pray I will. Here are a few things I'm doing to make this time something I look forward to:

1. I set up my diffuser with an essential oil blend the night before--all I have to do is turn it on in the morning! My favorite lately--spearmint/tangerine/lemongrass

2. I treat myself to really nice coffee (homemade cold brew, French press, etc.)

3. I choose Scripture passages that I get excited to read and that really help set the tone of my day. I've spent this week in 1 Corinthians 13. It's a passage I never get tired of going back to, and my Pastor taught it again this past Sunday.

4. I choose a word and a thought for the day to hold onto in case everything else slips away in the chaos. This week--"love extravagantly"

5. I choose a person to pray for and to send an encouraging text or note to for that day. Sometimes when I start praying for all the things I need to pray for, I get overwhelmed. This is a way to focus my thoughts and prayers and give them more quality.

This one is brand new and honestly something I have hardcore failed at this first week. I work in tech and my days can get absolutely insane. I rarely even stop for lunch or if I do, I rarely ever leave my desk to eat it. I work in a particulary fast pace industry, but I am very aware that this is not unique to me. Moms of littles, teachers, pastors, etc. We all feel it. I have started adding a personal space on my calendar every day called "pause." This shows up on my work calendar along with every meeting and appointment. It's a visual reminer for me to just stop and take a breath and try to think clearly.

I can't stress enough that I am still learning this! I love love love the thought of all of these being a very natural part of my daily rhythm, but I am so not there yet. Sometimes I do half of them on half the days. But, this is habit building, and these are the habits I want in my everyday ordinary. So, I'm keeping at it! Let us know where you're at with liturgy in your own life at the moment! We would love to hear about your journey or your thoughts!

Simple Summer Spruces

Speaking of summer… She’s not gone just yet!

In the theme and spirit of yesterday’s post, today we’re sharing a few fun and simple ways to spruce things up and soak up all that’s left of sweet summertime!

A Touch of Tulips
Turns out, tulips are not just for springtime! I know I know, I used to think they were too—ya know—they go well with Easter eggs and such. But actually these little beauties are great for summertime too! They’re fairly affordable at the grocery store (mine carries them at three bunches for $12) and a little goes a long way. I usually buy two little bunches on weeks when I don't have time to get down to the market for a bigger bunch. I honestly struggle to survive without fresh flowers—I can't think straight! The key here is color! If you want to inject some summer into your space with a more classically thought of springtime floral like tulips, go for bold and bright shades! Avoid pastel purples, pinks, and yellows, and opt for darker violets, oranges, corals, and deeper yellows and fuchsias. Mixing these bolder, brighter colors will add the pop of sunshine you’re looking for!

Summer’s End Sales

Now is a great time to grab some great summer items for next year! Stores are already pushing fall decor (in some cases even Christmas—not cool)  and discounting all of the summer stuff to get it out the door! I’m not always an advocate of having a ton of seasonal items that you have to store away all year, but a few little pretties are just fine and just enough to keep you in summer spirits. Of course you can tuck them away for next year, but you’ve still got plenty of time to enjoy them a bit this year as well!

Below are one of my favorite summertime splurges—teeny flamingo plates! I think I got these a few years ago in the Target $ bins (4/$1) but I can honestly say I use them for everything and because I love flamingos I use them all year long! But they are certainly a fun summer touch when I’m entertaining! I’ve used them as plant plates, serving plates, cute pastry plates, etc. They just add a little summer sparkle—and while you’re at it—sip that smoothie out of a fancy glass! Because why not!?

Summer Spice
You probably all know by now that I spent a couple of years in MX and so all things Mexican have a special place in my heart. Mexican flavors and colors are a great way to spice things up and add some color bursts for summer. I keep this simple sarape on hand for a throw, a table cloth, and a picnic blanket throughout the season. I also keep some fun throw pillow covers on hand (you can find these cheap at places like H+M and IKEA) just to change things up for the seasons. I love that I can change out the covers because it’s much easier to fold and store those than a ton of puffy pillows!! Note that many items from your travels can have this same summer pop affect! Go dig out those souvenirs and add a splash of summer adventure to your space!

Summer Sips
And last but not least, here are a few of my favorite summer flavors I’m enjoying on those sizzling days when you just want something refreshing to cool off with! I even splurged and bought the oat milk for some extra at home cold brew!

Let us know how you’re spicing and sprucing up your final days of summer!

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