At Any Cost


Please Jesus, let that ring be in my mailbox. Please. I just need it to be there today.

Prayers I pray on the route 7 bus from super south Seattle to my door in very north Seattle. I’m typing this as I ride in fact.

By the time I walk into my door and let little Lincoln puppy out of his crate, I will have been commuting for roughly two hours. Two hours of busses (standing room only) and highways and light rails and city blocks all for two minute stop. This two hour commute in addition to my one hour commute this morning that began at 6:30 AM and a very long event day that ended about 12 hours later. All to drop off a stack of thank you cards.

Did I mention I had to cancel an orange theory class at the last minute which will deduct a nice little sum of $13 from my bank acount. The second one this week since my dog being attacked warranted another missed class and a $450 vet bill yet to be reimbursed by the other dog owner.

I just really really need that ring to be there. To speak to the deepest layers and aches of my heart the way that pink Dell laptop once did on the seventeenth of September so long ago.

at
any
cost

That’s what the ring will say. I know because I chose it. Custom designed and ordered it. I know because that phrase has been beating in my heart and resounding in my head for a good long while now. Back in December when I asked God for a phrase for a ring that I could wear to remind myself of what I’m actually promised to. Not a boy, not a romantic love story, not to waiting for any of that. Simply what He has asked of me—obedience—to carry the cross He sees fit for me.  To the passion for ending slavery he has set in the fabric of me. To the woman He has created me to be, and to that alone.

at
any
cost

That’s the phrase. The one that will drive me. The one I want to see every day on my promised finger.

The one that will force me to ask myself on the daily what that really means. What cost is too high for me? What cost wil he ask of me? How much will I be willing to pay?

A $13 Orange Theory cacelation fee?
A 2.5 hour commute?
My evening?
All of those at once?
My weekend?
A love story?

Can I put the ring on without accepting the cost—any cost—like for real?

I think the answer is yes. I think that when I put it in I will do so unaware of all that I’m signing up for—I think that’s mostly the case any time we say yes to Jesus. But I think I will put it on wholeheartedly wanting to accept the ask, and learning every day how to do it. And I think that’s okay. Because I’m willing. I’m willing to pay any price to be more like Him, who He’s created me to be, and to live out whatever He calls me to. I’m so willing.

But I’ll need His help. I’ll need Him to make me brave and bold and stronger than I ever think I can be. I’ll need Him to be enough when I’m afraid he’s not and everything when I feel I’ve got nothing.

And He will.

And a tiny ring will remind me so.

And so I can say,

at
any
cost




Essential Oils for Spring


A couple of weeks ago we shared our favorite roller call and diffuser blends for spring! The great thing about essential oils is that they aren’t just good for making things smell nice! They actually have a lot of amazing properties that make them great natural supplements and remedies  for lots of health related things! So many of us love springtime because of the beautiful, bright, blue skies and blooming buds and bunnies everywhere. Unfortunately with all of those things we love so much also come allergies which we don’t love so much!

Essential oils can feel overwhelming at first. There are so many with so many different properties and uses—it’s hard to know where it’s hard to know where to start and even where to stop. It’s easy to believe that it’s an expensive habit that you can’t keep up with and that there’s way too much to learn....so much so that a lot of people never get started. So, today we’re keeping it simple and giving you the very basics. Just three oils and only a few ways you can use them for this season (though there are so many more uses for just these three!) A tiny bottles goes a really long way—it really only takes a few drops to accomplish a lot!

Today we’re sharing with you three of the most versatile oils that are also the most affordable and happen to be the most useful and effective for the springtime—especially for allergies!

Lavender
Lemon
Peppermint

That’s it!
All three of these oils are known for their anti inflammatory properties and are all great for breaking up congestion and easing coughs. Lemon and peppermint are great for energizing and great for relaxation and sleep. They can all be used topically or aromatically or internally.

Here are three ways to use these oils in easing allergies!

1. A few deep breaths of peppermint can go a long way for cough and congestion.
You can put a couple of drops on your hands and breath deeply with your hands closed around your mouth, or just inhale directly from the bottle. You can put a few drops in a diffuser, or whip up a quick chest rub to put on before bed. Simply mix 5 drops of peppermint to some coconut oil in your hands, and run on chest before sleeping. (Throw in some eucalyptus if you have any on hand as well!)

2. Anti Allergy Roller Ball Blend
Mix 5-10 drops of each of these with fractionated coconut oil in a roller bottle. This is great to keep on hand and use throughout the day. Roll on wrists and neck and chest throughout the day to off set allergy symptoms all day long! (You can order roller bottles on amazon prime or find them at your local craft store!)

3. Steamer
Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add a few drops of all three of these oils and allow it to simmer for a a minute or so. Lean over the pot with a towel over your head and breath in deeply for a few minutes. This should do wonders for breaking up congestion and allowing deep breathing. Lemon also has anti bacterial properties and can help clear out any germs making the allergies worse!

There are SO many more amazing things to do with just these oils! We want to share them all, but we also want this post to be simple and digestible—a place for you to begin if you’ve been considering it. If you e been holding out because you’re not sure which to start with, these three are a great opener and happen to be amazing for this season in particular. Always feel free to reach out with questions or help with more uses! We love to learn and grow with you!



Insta Acounts Inspiring Us Lately


It’s been a bit since we filled you in on our favorite Insta acounts. In the world of social media, this list is forever changing and growing. We figured by now we had some fresh folks to fill you in on!

Rachel's Inspo

The Bible Project
@thebibleproject
This started out as a series of awesome videos with more mature animation that I used a lot for my middle school Bible classes when I taught in Mexico. Since then they’ve expanded a bit. I love following along with their super fresh and funky but also deeply theological on Insta and I’m also recently obsessed with their podcast!

Fight The New Drug
@fightthenewdrug
This account is doing an awesome job at educating on the negative effects of porn in our culture. They take a really logical and scientific view and provide nonjudgmental material to support people who want to let go of it on their lives. They share lots of testimonies and studies and statistics and it’s a great resource for dealing with personal addiction or approaching the addiction of someone you know and love. They normalize conversation that is often considered uncomfortable and taboo.

Flowers in Hand
@flowersinhand
Anyone else obsessed with flowers and taking pictures of them? This account is for us. It is just that simple. Pretty pictures of flowers every day. Just a nice pop of floral on your daily scroll through Insta.

Daily Overview
@dailyoverview
It’s quite possible that I’ve shared this one before/-only because I live it so much! This account shares awesome drone shots from al over the planet! I love this account in particular because the photography is pure and let’s the nature speak for itself! It is such a cool way to look at the world!

Dalayna's Inspo

Journeywomen Podcast
@journeywomenpodcast 
Yes this is the account for a faith podcast, but even if you aren't into listening to podcasts this account is filled with Gospel truths and daily application of the Word. I do love listening to the podcast, but I also love catching their posts as well.

Well Watered Women Co.
@wellwateredco
This is an online faith community as well as store. They sell resources to help fill your life with the Word of God. They also do regular challenges and other campaigns to motivate women to regularly be in the Word and growing in their faith. I love their inspiring photos + posts. They are beautiful, but more than that they point to the beauty of knowing God deeply.

Candace Cameron Bure
@candacebure
No this is not because I grew up on Full House! If you already follow Candace online you will know exactly what I mean when I say she is an inspiring account to follow. Whether it be sharing something from the Word, grace-filled kindness, daily encouragement, or beast-mode workouts, I do love hearing and seeing what Candace has to say.



Sunday Takeaways: Family Style


Monday is upon us again! Crazy how it always just sneaks back around again.

Mondays aren't always our favorite, but they do mean one thing that we love here at For Glory & Beauty: SUNDAY TAKEAWAYS!

This is a blog tradition that we started a little bit ago and that we really hope sticks around. We hope you love it too! We sort of see it like this; most of us are going to church every Sunday and then diving right back into our weeks when Monday throws itself on us. Let's be real...we're not always the best at carrying Sunday with us. We sure want to get better at this and we figured we'd bring you along! Not only does this make us intentional about taking in wisdom from our Sunday services, it also gives us a platform to process and share and encourage each other moving into our weeks. This way we don't only get cool things from our own church, we also glean from each other as well! We felt really passionate about making space for all of that!

This week we wanted to chat a bit about how to make Sunday Takeaways for the whole family! Having worked quite a bit in kids ministry in our day (both of us) we understand that applying spiritual and Biblical ideas and lessons for kids can sometimes feel scary and overwhelming. Often times parents are afraid to "go there" with their kids because they are afraid that their kids will have questions they can't answer--maybe afraid they'll have to tell their kids that they don't know. There is also fear in not knowing how to get big ideas on kids levels and maybe even fear that they will have to live up to the things that they are presenting to their kids and there is just way too much pressure and accountability that comes with that.

We're here to help you overcome any or all of those fears and little voices in your head that are staying in the way of experiencing your faith as a family. Let's break it down by the fears and give you some truth and some simple and practical ways to tackle them!

What if I don't know the answers to the questions my kids ask? Is it okay for me to tell them that I don't know?

Yes, yes and yes---a resounding YES! We actually think that it's so important to make space for kids to ask questions--even tough ones that you might not know the answers to--especially about their faith! We want kids to know Jesus and we want them to know Him well. We want them to have a firm faith foundation and that means encouraging them to explore and dive deep and really learn on a heart level what we are asking them to believe. Questions--often time really hard questions--are a super essential part of building that faith foundation. As grown ups, it's hard to remember sometimes that we learn and grow in our faith that way too. We are constantly questioning and challenging what we know about faith and God whether consciously or subconsciously--as we should be! God is not afraid of our questions no matter how hard we think they are and we should not be afraid of our kiddo's questions either. God is so much bigger than all of them! If we really know Him and trust Him and we truly believe this faith we are living, then we'll know in the deepest part of ourselves that it will always speak for itself and stand up to our doubts and fears and questions. THAT is what we need to pass onto our kids. Telling them that we don't know but that we'll find out is one of the best things we can do for them! It sets realistic expectations and shows them first hand that faith is a journey that lasts a lifetime. I think one of the worst things we can do for kids growing up in the faith is to make them think that their questions are too big or that grown ups don't have them. Then they grow up believing that if they have questions they aren't really saved or that by the time they're adults they should understand their faith in its entirety---which we all know is absolutely false! Let them ask, make space, encourage it, and stop being afraid to be real and honest with your kids! It's one of the best and bravest things you'll ever do for them!

How can I speak about big spiritual and Biblical concepts on a level my kids will grasp? 


First of all--let's get something on the table here and now. We all underestimate kids and what they understand and grasp way too often. Kids are far more capable and aware than we often give them credit for. We assume that things are too big and too complicated for them to understand and sometimes dumb things down way more than we should. We talk over them and as if they aren't there and aren't taking in and soaking up everything we're saying and doing and more importantly not saying and not doing. So once we clear that up, the question pretty much answers itself. Of course there are certain topics and conversations that need to be handled carefully and age appropriately, but if we start coming at it from this angle and give them a chance to have a seat at the table, we'll all learn a lot. Let's give them a chance to process along with us, let's invite them to the table and the conversation and lets learn and grow together. What you'll find is that kids often learn and understand just like you do! Jesus taught in a parables and metaphors, and this is a great and level playing ground for us all. We all need context and real life application in order to grasp some of the crazy big ideas that Jesus presented---even the extremely educated Jewish leaders needed it to come at them in story form--and even then they still missed it! We love when our pastors tell stories because it makes the content and the concept digestible and applicable. Lets apply the same strategies in bringing these things to our kids.

I feel like "going there" with my kids is going to create a level of pressure and accountability that I'm not sure I can live up to....

Yep. Get over it. This is a fact of life and one that we have to get over whether we're speaking in the context of our kids or any true faith community. Vulnerability and honestly living out our faith will call us to a higher standard that we've got to fight every day (with so much help from Jesus) to live out in front of others. That's really the whole point. And guess what....with that....will come moments of failure in front of people too--including our kids. But that's what we ought to be showing them. That in Christianity and in our faith journey, there is no arriving. There is a lot of hard work and learning and growth and falling down and letting Jesus and our faith family help us up again to keep running to finish the race. We never want to create a false sense of Christianity for our kids or one that rests on perfection and our performance. We want them to see the grace of Jesus active in our lives and at the center of our families.

So what are some practical ways that we can use Sunday Takeaways in a context that our whole family can benefit from?

Car Conversations 

We get it. Sunday afternoons are for yummy lunches and long naps. But, before we check out for the rest of the day and then get launched into another crazy week, why not use the last few together minutes we have to start a little family tradition. We all of a ride home from church to wherever we call home. Instead of everyone getting into the car and zoning out to their screens, why not make some intentional time and space for conversation around what happened at church that morning. Ask the kids what they learned in their space today and then tell them what you learned in yours. Have everyone share what really stood out to them and what Jesus is showing them for this week---verbalize them--so that everyone can help each other follow through throughout the week. Ask deep and hard questions of your kids and then let them do the same. If a question comes up that no one knows the answer to, decide that as a family you'll work to learn more about that together this week and even add to your prayers that God would give more clarity and understanding around it.

This doesn't have to be just a Sunday afternoon thing either. Look, it seems that more and more moms are unpaid Uber drivers and kids are endlessly on the go with activities. Such is life. Let's not fight it, let's just work with it. Rather than try to make morning time as a family around the table every day or go for something that feels overwhelming or unrealistic, why not work with the together time that's already built into your day and your family. Whenever you're in the car, make a no screens rule and make conversation intentional. Check in on things that you discussed on Sunday, listen to podcasts together, spend time worshipping together (maybe a song everyone really oved from Sunday service) or chat about how your applying things from Sunday to your week. If your kids fight it, remind them that without your car and your license they would be sitting at home and that this is their fare to ride...jk...but actually....It might take some time to create the tradition and the habit, and you may get some push back at first, but in the end it will be a time that the family can cherish together and that we're certain your kids will look back on with a lot of gratefulness.

Dinner Table Topics 
Again--just work with what you've got! Build this into already existing spaces in your family life. Make a family goal or intention that whenever you're all around the table together (for whatever meal or perhaps a special meal once a week) that there will be a faith question or topic that you discuss and dive into together. We know it's already hard enough to get everyone home at the same time and around the table at the same time, so don't add to the stress, just capitalize on what you've already got going! Let everyone participate no matter how small. Let little ones ask questions and also weigh in on answers--make them feel included in the conversation and let them start owning their faith no matter how small they are! Maybe even keep a jar somewhere that everyone can add questions and topics to throughout the week. It could be fun to bring the jar to the table at meals and randomly select a topic or a question that someone put in! Give it your own family flare! Figure out what works for you and get creative!

Write it to Remember It!
This is something I came up with years ago in my first run as a kids pastor. It was so simple but I couldn't believe how much of an effect it had on families in our church! While studying 1 Corinthians 13 and all of the characteristics of love, I simply sent the kids home with zip lock bags filled with tiny cards that contained one characteristic on each. I told the parents to choose one card as a family each week or every few days that they were going to work on together. They could hang it on the rear view mirror of the car or on the fridge or the bathroom mirror--wherever they were going to remember it. The challenge was to use it as a reminder for themselves and each other throughout the week. To encourage each other and applaud each other when they saw this characteristic in action and to also call each other out when they did not. This is such a super simple and super strong way to apply Sunday Takeaways as a family and to make Sunday last all week long! It can be a word or a spiritual discipline or a verse--whatever you want to work with as a family!

We hope this post encourages you to make your faith journey a family affair. We hope it empowers you live your faith our in a very real and vulnerable way in front of your kids! And as always, we want to hear your thoughts and ideas!



Accessories for Spring


Since it is feeling a little more like Spring, and since we are having an earring exchange around these parts, I figured I would share some accessories I am loving for Spring!

Shoes


Two styles of shoes I am eyeing for Spring, platform sandals and slide mules with a heel. I am always a sucker for Toms shoes too. They are a higher price tag, but they are comfortable, they last, and they give back. Roolee is an online boutique based out of Utah and they have so many adorable things. Their prices vary, but on higher priced items I can get some inspiration and can usually find something similar somewhere else for less.

Hair Accessories


It is cute hair ties and scrunchies like these that have me wanting to grow my hair out! Ok, only a little but, but I can still make them work. There are so many options for ribbon hair ties, and many of them can double as a little bandana, which I also love. Seriously such an easy way to class up any outfit. And what says spring more than gingham, am I right?

Purses


Okay, don't judge me, but I would totally rock a belt bag. I actually got a leopard one for super cheap to try it out and make sure I would be able to pull it off, and I love it. The round straw purses were huge last summer and they aren't going anywhere. They are definitely here to stay. And I am a sucker for a cute clutch. If it is beaded, has fringe or tassels, I am probably sold. 

We are going to be doing a giveaway with a super cute spring handbag you will LOVE, so be on the look out!



Happy Pi Day


We will be the first to admit that math is most definitely NOT our thing. But we’ll also be the first to admit that we love finding any and every reason to celebrate. As much as we don’t love crunching the numbers, we happen to be huge fans of pie and a fun “holiday” in the long stretch between winter and spring just to get us through! So, if pie is involved, we’re definitely in! You might have gathered by now that we’re also really passionate about health and wellness and finding ways to give the very best things to our temples. Today we’re going to give you a little bit of everything to celebrate! We’ve got options for sweet and for savory and for indulging, and even a few healthy twists on a classic! We can’t wait to see how you get your nerd on this Pi Day! Be sure to share a shot of your slice so we can share them in our stories!

Sweet + Indulgent
Springtime is all about bright and light and airy and it shouldn't be any different when it comes to pie! We’re listing two of our favorite flavors below--lemon and blueberry--and let’s be honest, is it actually spring or pie if we don’t include a recipe from the Martha Stewart of our generation…..? Joanna Gaine’s of course! 

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Joanna Gaine’s go-to Lemon Pie


Sweet + Guilt Free
We are of the firm belief that eating healthy is a lifestyle and we really, really hate that word diet. One of the keys to living a healthy lifestyle is not depriving ourselves of delicious food but instead finding great substitutes that we really truly love--that actually feel like a treat to us! We can indulge and splurge from time to time, but that shouldn't be our norm. We also shouldn’t be hating our lives every day because we can’t ever eat anything that we actually enjoy! These pie recipes seem to land in that sweet spot--no pun intended--great ingredients that we can feel good about and also enjoy! Don’t forget that you can ALWAYS make adjustments to recipes that you find online. For example, I (Rachel) can’t eat gluten, so I just swap out whatever crust recipe they include for something that I can do. 

3 Ways to Practice Gratitude


Don’t do a double take--it’s not even close to Thanksgiving (though we all know it will be in the blink of an eye.) But, we figure it’s time for a gratitude reminder and refresh--we were in need anyways! It’s easy to keep up with all the warm and fuzzy feelings when the lights are twinkling and the family is all gathered around the table and nights are cozy on the couch. Then winter comes and it stays and we look around and can’t seem to see anything but bare branches and our breath in the bitter cold air for far longer than we would like. We start grumbling about the dreary days and the potholes and forgetting all the things we were so thankful for just a few months back. Just us!? Today we’re reminding ourselves to practice gratitude all year long and inviting you to do so with us with three super simple everyday approaches!

1. Simplicity Notes
This is something I’ve (Rachel) definitely shared on before and probably will lots more times. I think this originated for me somewhere between high school and college. It really is simple. On days when I could only seem to find the worst, I would force myself to find little lovely things. Anything really, and I mean anything little. It could be catching a green light that I always seemed to get stopped at, pulling out the exact change at the register, or even just noticing that something didn’t go as poorly as it could have. Sometimes it was a stretch, but I would give myself a number and force myself to find that much good in that day--because I knew it was there, I was just stubborn and mopey and reluctant to see it. Back in the ages when Facebook notes were a thing, I would publish them and look back on them often. Once I had my own blog, I would right them there. I’m sure they’re scattered throughout decades of journals as well. This is something I still practice in my life. They may not be official public works at this point, but that's because the habit is in place. I must confess that often times my initial, flesh reaction is not what I would hope for, but I’m usually able to pull it together pretty quickly and see all the good things even in hard moments. But let me be clear--that’s not because I’m just some super human, peppy, positive person. It’s taken years of practice and habit forming. So start simple. If you find yourself all grumpy and grumbly at the end of the day or maybe in the middle of the day, or heck, maybe even at the very start of your day...pull out your journal or a sheet of paper or write it on the family whiteboard. Make a quick simplicity list. I promise that once you start you’ll be amazed at how quickly the list grows! There really is so much to be grateful for!

2. Gratitude Mantras
You’re going to know exactly what I’m talking about as soon as I say it….we all have them, I just know it. Those cute and catchy succinct little sayings that are just ours. The ones that just flow our of our mouths without any thought. Like the way your mom can’t help but add, “BE CAREFUL,” to the end of every statement ever. Is that just my mom? Anyways, I think that having these is essential in regards to gratitude. I’m not sure where I picked mine up, but it’s certainly stuck.

“Worse things have happened.”

That’s my bad day, find the beauty, grateful heart mantra. When I get all stuck in the icky days, I force myself to say this. This is not the worse thing that has happened to me nor is it the worst that eve will, and it’s absolutely NOT the worst thing that’s ever happened in the history of the world. And then from there, I start listing all the okay things about it--all the things that could have gone wrong or been worse. For example, when I left my wallet on the bus a couple of months ago. I was so annoyed with myself and worried because I really couldn’t do anything about it until the next day. It was quite literally out of my control. First there were some tears, of course there was anxiety, and then I took the deep breaths and centered myself. I told myself that it was not the worst thing that had ever happened. I reminded myself that i was lucky all of my cards weren’t in there, that I lived in a city that has a really effective and efficient lost and found system for our public transit, and that I was blessed to have other resources to live on in the meantime. And then I waited and I dealt. If you don’t have a gratitude mantra or song or speech, I suggest you get one and get it on in your head and i your heart on repeat each and every day--even when it seems unnecessary--because that’s the only way it’s going to kick in when you really need it most!

3. Pass it On
Gratitude is absolutely contagious--like a bad cold but in the best way possible! If you are having a day when you’re feeling particularly on top of the world and super thankful for life in general, SHARE IT! Don’t keep it to yourself! Make a quick post or share a blessing you’ve received with someone else. Get that grateful spirit out into the open air where everyone can breathe it in! The world needs so much more of that. You may think it’s a silly, simple, unimportant thing, but you never ever know who might take it to heart. It could turn someone’s day or week or even month around to see how you are practicing gratitude in your own life. To be honest, the simplicity notes were mostly for me and my own personal heart status, but I know they so often encouraged so many other people because I shared them. And not only sharing our gratitude, but sharing our struggle to be continually grateful! It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we’re grumpy or ungrateful, but remembering that it’s something we all have to practice and fight for on the daily is relieving and refreshing for everyone!

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