Nov 29, 2012

Flowers Fade Friday: From His Hand

After a week of Christmas shopping {online only!}, hosting giveaways, and creating holiday shopping guides, I had a quiet moment this morning to sit down and reflect on the idea of having, owning, giving, gifting... all those verbs that seem so pressing as we plan our Christmas lists and stress over our December budgets.

I was reading the last chapter in I Chronicles where the aging King David passes his throne down to his son, Solomon. Along with the crown, he also gives Solomon an outrageous amount of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and jewels, with which Solomon has been commanded to build a permanent temple for God in Jerusalem.

After presenting this offering to Solomon, David asks his people to also willingly give of their own possessions to help add to the temple building supplies. After the citizens add to to the heaps of precious metals, David laughs.

He prays to God and he laughs during this prayer. Or at least I imagine him chuckling a bit as he prays:

"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? 
For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you."
-I Chronicles 29:14-

And isn't that the truth? We give and receive. We save and we splurge. But it all comes from the hand of God. It's so easy to forget that everything we have belongs to Him as we shop for sales and try to manage our budgets, especially around Christmas time.

So, sister, when you give, give cheerfully and, above all, praise Christ for HIS generosity toward you. If you cut back on your gift giving this year, save your money for the glory of God and thank him for the gift of self-control.

Because in the end, it all belongs to HIM anyway.

|Linking up with Casey|

Nov 28, 2012

Holiday Shopping Guide: My Favorite Accessories from 2012

I've never been an accessories girl. I've always worn very little jewelry. In fact, I don't even have my ears pierced. But all that changed this year. I've suddenly become an accessories addict. I don't know if it's all the cute headbands that pop up in the photographs of my favorite blogs, the prevalence of Etsy, or just the fact that I have blog friends who sell cute and trendy handmade items... but at some point over the past twelve months I went from a bare-wristed chick to a bracelet-wearing, headband-flaunting lover of accessories. Who am I? I don't even know...

But I figure I should put my new jewelry-loving ways to good use and show you my favorite items I've purchased this year. Below I give you the best of the best. Necklaces, bracelets, rings and headbands... all handmade by awesome female entrepreneurs who are offering amazing DISCOUNTS for you this week!  So check out their stores and finish off your Christmas shopping while you're there. And you might want to throw something into your digital shopping cart for yourself while you are at it...

Shop: Much Love Illy
Use discount code JENROCKS15 for 15% off at checkout!
{Valid through December 15th}

Shop: The Splendor Shop
Use code arizona for 15% off at checkout!

Shop: Caroline G
Use code holiday20 for 20% at checkout!
P.S. You can still get a free necklace over at her Facebook page.

Shop: Blue Bird Bride
Use code FALL2012 for 15% off your order at checkout!
Also, you can enter a giveaway to win $20 to her shop HERE...

Shop: Amy Cornwell
Use code christmas for 10% off your order at checkout! 
{Valid through December 10th}

Shop: Neon and Nude
Use codRETURNLOVE for 15% off at checkout!

Shop Seek First
Use code HOLIDAY for 15% off at checkout!

Happy shopping, friends! Seriously, all these ladies and their shops are beyond amazing. Make a purchase. You won't regret it!

Nov 27, 2012

Holiday Giveaway: Rodan + Fields

Another day, another GIVEAWAY! I am all about this holiday shopping, y'all. Correction: I am all about holiday shopping on the INTERNET. While some of you were out jostling for a place in line at Target on Friday morning, I was sitting in my own kitchen, eggnog latte in hand, computer open in front of me, scoring deals left and right. I got two free necklaces, one free bracelet, and free Instagram magnets just by following Twitter updates and browsing my favorite shops on the web. But enough of this talk. I'm probably making you jealous, so if you spent any part of your holiday weekend at Target, Walmart or the mall, I'm here to make it up to you...

* * * * *

This one is for all you cosmetics junkies out there. Today, I am honored to introduce Erin to you. She is a Rodan + Fields consultant, and she is offering you a FULL SKINCARE REGIMEN today. Yes, you read that right... she is giving you a top of the line set of skincare products... masks, lotions, serums and all that good stuff. {If you want to read my review of her fabulous products go here.}

But before we get to the details, I want you to read a bit of her story, because I love it and feel like many of you will be able to relate...

My journey to Rodan + Fields began about two years ago and I didn't even know it. After a year of working 60+ hour workweeks in public accounting with my baby, Vivi, at home, I decided it was time for me to retire and focus on my growing family. I was pregnant with our second child, Cade, and we made the decision to move to Wichita Falls, Texas to be closer to family. We are approaching the second anniversary of our move and it has been a crazy, fun, whirlwind two years. I love staying home with my two busy kids and am so incredibly thankful to have this opportunity. It has been such a blessing to teach and learn with them day-to-day!  About six months ago I started searching for something more. I began praying a prayer that went something like this: "God, please give me an opportunity where I can be a great wife, mother, and provider...where I can make my own hours and have holidays and summers off."  It sounds a bit greedy, I agree, but I have always known not to underestimate or limit God.  Then, at the end of the summer a friend approached me about Rodan + Fields. I was blown away that by working with Rodan + Fields I was able to check all those boxes I had been praying for!  Now, since starting my business, I have been promoted, am paying for my daughter's preschool and am helping fund our trips to visit my family in Seattle. Growing a business around my very busy kids on my own terms has been so fulfilling.  R+F is a business I can control. I decide when I work, whom I work with, and how big I want to build it.  Instead of 10-15 hour workdays, I am working 10-15 hour workweeks!  It is so rewarding to be able to work around my family and truly have a work-life balance while helping people achieve the best skin of their lives and create businesses of their very own.  I thank God daily for bringing R+F into my life!!

And here is that family she is talking about...
Aren't they beautiful??? How could you not buy skincare products from such a pretty lady?

So here's the deal:
1) Erin is GIVING AWAY an entire skincare line that will last you for two months. Score! Details to enter are below.

2) Erin has great stocking stuffers for Christmas! If you are a skincare junkie, you can ask Santa to put them in your stocking. If your mom/sis/best friend is the cosmetics fanatic, you can do all your shopping on Erin's website. {And if you rack up your bill to $185.00, she'll throw in a complimentary bottle of the Anti-Age Night Renewing Serum, a $44 value, which is my FAVORITE product she sells! Your face will love you.}

Here are some of her gift ideas:
The Mineral Peptides SPF 20 
{evens skin tone and reduce redness}

Multi-Function Eye Cream 
{reduces the appearance of both puffiness and dark under eye circles}

Microdermabrasion Paste 
{gently exfoliates to enhance cell turnover and improve skin tone and textures}

3} If you are like Erin and have been praying for a career you can do from home, contact Erin at She can answer your questions about Rodan + Fields and even has some great discounts to help you set up your shop.

And now for the giveaway!!!

To enter:
1. Complete the PerSKINality Quiz to help determine the perfect regimen for your skin. Make sure to enter your e-mail address at the end to qualify for the giveaway. This is mandatory, because otherwise she won't know which products to send you if you win! :)

2. Follow Erin's blog The Simply Fabulous for your daily dose of pretty.

3. Tweet about the giveaway. You can use this one if you want:
I am hoping to win a complete Rodan + Fields skincare line from @thesimplyfab on @jenrussum's blog!

4. Follow @thesimplyfab and/or @jenrussum on Twitter.

5. Share this giveaway on Facebook or your blog. Leave a link!

Leave a comment for each action item above for multiple chances to win!
Giveaway ends on Monday, December 3rd.

Nov 26, 2012

Holiday Giveaway: Blue Bird!

I am declaring the rest of this week "Christmas shopping week!" I have three days' worth of giveaways, shopping guides and discount codes planned for you. So let's get started and come back tomorrow and Thursday to see what else is in store...

* * * * *

I am delighted to introduce you to cutest little shop today! Diane of Blue Bird Bride makes amazing jewelry that is the perfect mix of beautiful and trendy. And don't worry if you aren't a bride; her jewelry is for ANYONE and she has many pieces that can be dressed up or dressed down. But I'll let her take it away and describe her shop and her vision in her own words...

HOLIDAY SALE - Enameled Turquoise & Crystal Necklace
One of my faves from her shop!

And today we have a treat for you! Diane is offering a $20 gift card to her shop for one of my readers! Considering this cute necklace and all her earrings are under $20, you could have some serious fun if you win! The only question is... will you keep her jewelry for yourself or give it away as a gift... or BOTH? :)

To enter the giveaway:
1) You must be a follower of my blog. 
If you are, leave a comment below and tell me which item you would choose from the Blue Bird shop.
2) Like Blue Bird Bride on Etsy.
3) Like Blue Bird Bride on Facebook
4) Pin one of Diane's items on Pinterest.
5) Follow me on Twitter, Bloglovin', Facebook, etc.

Leave a comment for each entry!
Giveaway ends Monday, December 3rd.

Nov 25, 2012

{That time of the year when I lock myself in a cage}

Hello end-of-the-semester. I go to school looking normal but appear a little frazzled by the time I leave.

Hello dishes from a fabulous dinner party. Hello weird green Caterpillar Micah found in our backyard.

Hello first holiday party. It was fun to dress up. 
P.S. The theme was "Christmas Vacation" National Lampoon style. Silly...

Hello husband's antics. After I caught him making a s'more concoction in the oven {for breakfast no less!}, I then watched him attempt to hook up an old TV in the backyard to catch some rays and football at the same time. Life is never dull around here.

Hello school day. This is my new cage in the library. I lock myself in to get some serious work done. 
Hello new necklace from Caroline G. She has so many cute styles and is offering crazy discounts this week!

Hello deliciousness from the kitchen. Nothing like cutting fresh fruit for a Thanksgiving salad, while sipping an eggnog latte.

Hello fun reads. Despite the mounds of reading, writing and grading I have to do for school over the next two weeks, it's nice to take a break every now and then for some extended time in the Word and a Sunday afternoon magazine break by the pool. Did I mention it's still in the mid 80s here? Like every single day.

Hello Christmas decorations. It's nice to see you again.

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving and are enjoying the start to this Christmas season!

|Linking up with Lisa Leonard, Hello Hue and InstaFriday|

Nov 22, 2012

Flowers Fade: God's Tenacity

In 6th and 7th grade, I had an awesome humanities teacher, Mrs. Mayer. She, sadly, passed away a few years back from an ongoing battle with cancer. However, her impact on me as a student will never be forgotten. I can remember specific assignments from her classes way back in middle school better than I can remember many events from high school or college.

One specific assignment during 6th grade sticks out in my mind. Each student was given a difficult vocab word, the type you have to look up in the dictionary because you've never heard it used before. And then we had to write a poem that used the word correctly. My word was "tenacious"...

te·na·cious adj \tə-ˈnā-shəs\ persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired

Recently, as I was reading through Philippians, I was struck by God's tenacity. He is tenacious with His beloved. He is persistent in loving us, shepherding us, correcting us, forgiving us, and sanctifying us because He values His children. What a tenacious God we have!

Philippians 1:6 says: "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

God is at work in us. He has done, is doing, and will do amazing things in our hearts and lives because of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. If I think about my own life, I can think of the way God called me to Himself, how he protected me in my youth by allowing me to be raised in a Christian home. He convicted me during my early 20s that I was not living a life that was truly humble and glorifying to Him. He has molded me and changed my heart and so many of my habits and characteristics over the past five years. Now He continues to teach me through His Word, sharpen me through Godly friendships both old and new, and refine me through my marriage. And in the future, no matter what happens - good or bad - on this earth, He has promised to save me and glorify me for all eternity.

I can't recall exactly what I wrote about in my "tenacity" poem in 6th grade, but if I were to write a poem with this same vocabulary word now, surely I would write about my tenacious God.

Nov 20, 2012


I never wear eyeliner.
I rarely paint my nails.
I sometimes curl my hair.
I usually floss.
I always wear my retainer at night.

Nov 19, 2012

Ten Things...

It's November, y'all.

November means... gearing up for holiday craziness. For me it also means writing term papers and frantically grading all my student's final essays so I can make it to Christmas break as quickly as possible. This year, it also includes preparing for a trip to Australia and a Christmas wedding.

Even though this season can feel incredibly stressful at times, I have come to realize that it's no excuse to stop being thankful for the MANY ways my life is blessed. Sometimes when I get too grumpy or negative, my amazing husband, Micah {although I never think he is amazing right when he calls me out on my negative attitude...} makes me stop and say ten things I'm thankful for. He honestly won't let me finish my task until he has heard ten legitimate "I'm thankful for..." phrases come out of my mouth. Good man. It has seriously changed my overall attitude when life doesn't seem to be going my way.  So today, in the midst of the oh-my-goodness-it's-November-that-means-it's-almost-Christmas-all-I-want-to-do-is-sleep feeling that is in the air, here are TEN things that I am thankful for..

{1} Laundry 
Yes, laundry. Even though I hate when laundry piles up, it reminds me that I have soooo many clean, warm, and stylish clothes to wear each day. Many do not have this luxury. And I only let myself watch TV while I'm folding, so it's a double blessing really. Hello catching up on Parenthood!

{2} Legs 
Even when I don't feel like working out because I don't have the time or I want to quit halfway through a run because I am tired, I remember that I am not entitled to my legs. Not everyone has the ability to walk or run. I try not to take my healthy legs and feet for granted.

{3} My favorite appliance 
I happen to be blessed with an at-home espresso machine. Best wedding gift ever. This machine and I are pretty much best friends every morning when I make myself a delicious latte. Come over, and I'll make you a tasty caffeinated beverage!

{4} Books 
Even though I usually feel pretty beat up by school at this point every semester {papers to grade and papers to write is never a good combination}, I am so thankful to be a college instructor and to be getting my PhD {a lifelong dream} at the same time!

{5} My iPhone
Although smart phones have become widespread, I am not really entitled to an iPhone. But I love mine and it makes my life so much easier. We are about to celebrate our one year anniversary next month. I love Phoebe {that's her name...}!

{6} Writing
I know I've been blessed with the ability to write well, and I don't ever want to take it for granted. Whether it's a scholarly paper, a blog post, or a note of encouragement to a friend, I hope I always use my gift for God's glory.

{7} Online Marketplaces

I know this one is random, but seriously, isn't it rad that we can buy and sell things online? I sell books on Amazon, furniture on Craigslist, and a variety of things on eBay. I also buy all my books for school online and an assortment of household goods and gifts as well. I buy my jewelry from Etsy and other online shops as I support my crafty-mama-friends who work from home by selling handmade goods. I love the Internet!

Currently selling... Micah's Dell on eBay. Because who needs a PC from 2004 collecting dust on their desk?

{8} Weekend Getaways
Yes, big vacations are fun, but sometimes the best trips are the three day weekend getaways. I love going to San Diego for the weekend or escaping up to the mountains of Arizona to go camping in Sedona or Payson. There is just something so restful about spending a few days away without having to pack a whole suitcase or deal with airport security.

La Jolla

{9} The Guest Bathroom
I'm not a crazy, creative DIYer by any means, and since we know we will only be living in our current house for another year or so, I must admit it's not decorated the way I want it. It's cozy and cute enough, but there are a lot of blank walls and empty spaces. However, I officially completed the guest bathroom the summer, meaning I think it's cute and well-decorated and don't imagine adding anything new to it during our time here. Yay for one completed room in the house! {And I'm extra thankful for the free candle holders I got from a friend's giveaway pile that were the finishing touch I had been looking for!}

{10} This guy 
My sweet husband is the one who taught me to play "ten things" in the first place. He is so great at encouraging me to live life with a thankful heart!

Now it's your turn, friends. What are you thankful for today?
Happy Thanksgiving week!

|Linking up with Rouge and Whimsy / Wild and Precious|

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