Fashion file… the basic ingredients

I cleaned out my closet today.  I hate that chore.  Clothes are sentimental to me and it is hard for me to let go sometimes.  I had planned on writing a post about what to keep and what to purge from your closet.  But when I really think about it, I just cannot subscribe to the fact that any one piece is “timeless.”  Sure, the little black dress, the black blazer, the khaki trench are all items of clothing that can be found throughout the past several decades.  But each of those pieces is stamped by it’s time period.  For instance, in 1980 your black pumps would have been super pointy.  In 1970 your little black dress would be super short with bell sleeves.  Nothing in clothing is truly timeless (in my opinion).

Even though nothing is timeless, there are a few pieces that should be in every women’s closet this season.  Some you should splurge on, some you should buy cheap, but each of these pieces should be a part of your wardrobe this year.  However I must warn you, this is not an exciting post.  It is not meant to be exciting.  Basics are not exciting, they are dependable.



First up, the black riding boot.  Look for a nice, smooth leather with very little detail on the boot.  This shoe will go with every thing.  Personally, I think this is an item where you should splurge so that the boot will last and be comfortable.  I bought my black riding boots three years ago.  Last fall I had to have them re-soled because I literally wore a hole in the sole.  But the shoe was in such great shape, and so comfortable, I couldn’t bear the thought of looking for a replacement.  You can literally wear this boot every day if you want.





Next, the black pump.  Everyone should have a black pump in their closet.  Again, shoot for something not shiny or suede, just down the middle black.  This shoe is not, however something I would recommend spending tons on because you are not going to wear it every day, or every week for that matter.  You should spend enough money that you can walk in them without being in so much pain all you can think about is taking them off.






You should also have a black blazer in your closet.  I wrote a post a few weeks ago about blazers.  You can go there to see about different fits and styles.  I personally love the blazers made out of jersey knit. They are comfortable and look great at the same time.  And lets just face it, a blazer makes you feel put together.  Even with jeans and a t-shirt, you can look serious if you have a blazer on.





This season, every closet needs a pair of dark wash skinny jeans.  I know what many of you are thinking, “I am not skinny enough to wear skinny jeans,” or, “I am too old to wear skinny jeans.”  No you aren’t.  How are you going to wear your riding boots if you don’t have a pair of skinny jeans?  Make sure you get a dark, dark wash.  They can be dressed up or down.  You can wear them every day and no one will ever know.  Now I will say this is a piece that I would save up for and splurge on.  Nice jeans hold their shape and color better.  And if you have a body that has born children, look for a mid-rise jean, they do wonders for your shape.




And finally, the black and white staple tshirt (long sleeve and short sleeve, black and white).  These tees came from, (Pure line).  They are reasonably priced (both under $20) and super soft.  A black or white tshirt is like a pallet for a statement necklace or a scarf.  It can also be an easy thing to pair with your printed jeans (that you can’t figure out what wear with them).  Don’t spend a ton of money on these.  I am always on the look out for a black or white tshirt on the sale rack at Target and Old Navy.  I feel like I never have one clean.



Ok, there you have it.  The basics are not boring.  Having the right basics is like having the right ingredients to put together the perfect outfit every day (or almost every day).

When God says, No.

Yesterday we were at the church office after school and Elijah asked me if he could have a snack.  I said, “No, you have already had a snack in the car.”  He replied, “Why???”  Of course he did.  Why? 1.  Because you already had one. (already said that).  2.  Because it is 4 pm and we are eating dinner soon (eventually).  3.  Because I said NO.  I am not sure what I said to him in the moment.  It was sort of a combination of “I just told you why and…”

I do not owe my children a reason every time I tell them no.  I am their mother, their God-given authority.  If I say you cannot have a snack, it is not because I am a mean mother and I am withholding yummy treats from my children.  It is because I am trying to make sure he eats a balanced dinner.

This got me thinking about all the times I asked God for something and He told me no.  Like when I was in 8th grade and all I wanted was to be popular.  I think I have mentioned on this blog before that I actually prayed for God to give me lots of friends.  It turns out those people would have led me down a pretty dark path.

Or there was the other boy I thought I wanted to marry.  Thank you Jesus for saying no to that one.

I also asked God to make Elijah a girl.  I thought I wanted all girls.  I am so glad God didn’t give me what I thought I wanted.  I can’t imagine what my life would be like without my boys.

There have been other times that God has said no that I still don’t know why.  Maybe I never will.  I do know that He has a plan for me that is best (Jeremiah 29:11) and He is a good Father (Matthew 7:11). And, He doesn’t owe me an explanation.


We wrapped up our series, Ghost Stories this weekend. This has been one of my favorite series of the year.  It has been so full of applicable and practical information every single week.

This week my husband talked about the Holy Spirit as the Divine Reminder.  He told us that spiritual growth is often more about remembering than it is about learning.  The Holy Spirit reminds us of the good things God has done and He convicts us of our sins by reminding us of our righteousness (through Jesus!).

The sermon was so full of scripture…

  • Psalm 103:1-3… forget not all His benefits
  • Duet. 6:10… be careful not to forget the Lord who brought you out
  • Jer. 3:21… they have forgotten the Lord their God
  • Is 43… forget the former things, I am doing a new thing
  • Mark 8:14-21… Jesus asked if the disciples had forgotten what He had done
  • Phil 3:13-14… forgetting what is behind, I press forward

He said,  ”When I forget what God has done, I lose my faith in what He can do.”  What a great message.  I loved when we closed by having a time of remembrance.  A time of letting the Holy Spirit remind us individually of the faithfulness of God in our own lives.  I would encourage you to do the same today.

You can catch the message on the Elevation Network, or later today on our Podcast, or in our archive.   Have a great Monday!

Life Change Inbox

It’s Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox! Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 that our lives are living letters written so that God might be glorified. People often write in to Elevation and share the work God is doing in their lives through our church. When I read these stories, I am reminded that we serve a powerful God who still works miracles in the lives of everyday people. These stories inspire me to keep giving, keep serving and continue praying for those who are far from God. I hope they will do the same for you.

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at

Check out this story…….

Just a testimony of God’s purpose and plan in the lives of ordinary people. My husband and I ran a auto-repair & restoration business for 25 years, when God called us out. I wanted to keep my house and my Mercedes Benz, but a near-drowning incident changed everything!! After 3 days of screaming at God, not sleeping, barely eating, I fell face down on the floor, and asked Him what He wanted. He told me to give the house, the business, and the comfort away. He had told my husband the same thing….he was waiting on me. We gave our children their only tangible inheritance…the house, the business, and we came to a near-delapidated summer camp in Hickory, NC to begin what God had placed on our hearts…House of Hope. A home for troubled and hurting teens. The first few weeks, God tested us. We were cold, hungry, and waiting. God had spoke to my husband and said “Do you want this ministry to be your way or do you want it My way…totally depending on Me to provide?” We chose His way. That was 2002, and now in 2012, with many, many stories of how God provided, and continues to provide, we lack for nothing. God has allowed us to ask the parents for a support fee, but that is all we ask for. Many teens we take in, we take in for free. It is never about the money, but about the commitment, and the covenant with the teen and their parents. This is because we counsel and disciple both the teen and their parents, all within an average stay of a year. We have had sixty-one teens thus far, and God has used us to heal His people. And, Pastor Steven, it all began with seeking God’s purpose and plan for our lives, and then burning the plow. We gave it all away, with a promise to not ask for anything in return. God honors sacrifice! Thank you so very much for teaching this series! We need more plow burners to fulfill God’s plan!! He is so worthy of it all….NO REGRETS!!! Be blessed!


A chance to serve

I just love the way our church reaches out to our community.  12% of every dollar given at Elevation goes right back into one of our outreach partners.  My Leadership Support Team and I have begun to serve once a month at one these partners.  I want to share with you about this organization and how you can help too.

This month we visited Pregnancy Resource Center of Charlotte.  We had such a wonderful time touring their facility and hearing so many stories of women that they have helped.

PRC offers pregnancy test and ultrasounds as well as additional help from simple information to parenting classes and even post abortion classes.  But my favorite thing they told us at PRC is that their main goal is to share Jesus with every woman that comes through their door.  And they take this seriously.  They pray and follow up with every woman, no matter what decision she makes concerning her pregnancy.

When we went, we brought supplies to make baskets for many of the expectant moms that they serve at PRC.  You can help too!  They are always in need of counselors and administrative help.  But for those who do not have quite that much time to commit, they are always in need of new or gently used baby items (they are located just off of Charlottetown Rd near CPCC).  You can drop off supplies, or you can get a group together to go and help them assemble baskets.  PRC even had a small group of middle school girls who came and made scripture cards tot be attached to each basket.

And don’t forget you can pray for PRC.  They are a growing organization that is making an impact in our city.  I am so proud to partner with them.

A foundation of obedience

Parenting is not easy.  Ever.  One of the best things I have heard lately concerning parenting is, “Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.”  What a great quote to keep things in perspective for me.   I know that raising young children can be physically exhausting, but raising older kids is emotionally exhausting (or so I have been told).  And even when you have “raised” your kids, it’s probably even worse because you have absolutely no control over their choices.

I, in no way, consider myself an expert in parenting.  I have many days where I am left bewildered.  Today I needed literally 2 things in Harris Teeter.  I took my kids in the store and decided to let them push those little kid carts.  Eeesh!  The pictures are cute, but what the pictures do not show you is the moment where I was literally speaking the name of Jesus under my breath in effort to keep myself from strangling my kids.

Needless to say, I have been turning to some parenting advice here and there lately and have had many conversations with my husband. Currently I am focusing on, OBEDIENCE.  I cannot raise children who do not know how to obey.  Everything rises and falls around obedience.  If my children cannot learn to obey  their mother, who they can see and hear, they will never be able to listen to the Lord, who they cannot see or hear.

All of my lectures are kept to the point, “You did not obey.”  Even with Abbey, it is all about obedience.  It is not, you did not clean your room, it is, you did not obey.  It is not, you should not hit your sister, it is you did not obey.  For Abbey, it is not, you did not come when I called you, it is simple, you did not obey.

Are there other virtues I need to teach my kids, of course.  But if they can get OBEY, they can learn just about anything else.

You can eat pumpkin!

Fall is in the air and there is so much more out there past Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte.  This weekend we painted and carved our pumpkins.  I got so into the Fall spirit, I was determined to make some pumpkin soup.  I found this recipe on my AllRecipes app and changed it up just a bit.  It was so easy!

My children were not huge fans.  Graham said “I don’t like it.”  Elijah said, “I like it but I don’t want to eat any.”  Abbey refused to even try it.  BUT, Steven and I loved it.  We have been enjoying the leftovers for days!

The recipe calls for 4 c of pumpkin puree.  I used 2 cans plus a scoop from a 3rd can.  I was not interested in actually cooking and pureeing my own pumpkin.  The recipe also called for chopped onion.  We have an onion hater in our house so I subbed in onion powder.

So here’s the recipe…

6 c chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves pressed
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients except the parsley and the cream.  Bring to a boil, simmer  on low for about 40 min.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cream.

Garnish with parsley and a tiny swirl of the cream.


Also, try roasting your pumpkin seeds (delicious but warning, they are time consuming to clean).  See my recipe here.  And don’t forget to make pumpkin bread.  This recipe is tried and true from Southern Living magazine.  The bread is delicious and not too spicy tasting.

Happy Fall!

Life Change Inbox

It’s Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox!  Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 that our lives are living letters written so that God might be glorified.  People often write in to Elevation and share the work God is doing in their lives through our church.  When I read these stories, I am reminded that we serve a powerful God who still works miracles in the lives of everyday people.  These stories inspire me to keep giving, keep serving and continue praying for those who are far from God.  I hope they will do the same for you.

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at

Check out this story…….

Before I came to Elevation, I’d always considered Tithing an act of convenience. I’d give when I felt I could, knowing that I should and could give more. Starting with the Code Orange Revival and leading up to the Greater series, my opinion on the subject had changed dramatically but I still hadn’t taken the action necessary. After hearing the first two sermons on Burning Your Plow and Digging Ditches, I was finally motivated to take those initial steps, in this case, to be a Greater Tither. No expectation of something in return, just the deep down commitment to myself that it had been long enough and it was time to change. I went to the website after our e-Group meeting last week, created an online account and set up a recurring monthly debit so I couldn’t use the excuses of the past such as “Oh, I meant too, but I forgot my checkbook or Next week I’ll bring a check in”, etc.  The expected part: I have an inner peace now that God can do Greater things through my donations and I’m an active part in it. The unexpected part: In the week that followed, my businesses doubled the revenue they took in that week over the combined two weeks just prior! This was an unbelievable blessing and something I felt I must share so that hopefully if someone else out there is thinking how I was, it might give you the confidence and courage to take action and do what your heart is telling you is the right thing to do.


When I don’t know what to do

“The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”  Psalm 25:14-15

I love how this verse gives 2 promises…

  1. When I don’t know what to do, He confides in me and makes His covenant known to me.
  2. When I make a mistake or get caught in a trap, He will release me.

Seems to me like a win/win situation.  Not that I go around abusing this liberty.  But I walk in confidence knowing that God is gracious and He wants me to know his will more than I want to know it.

So when I am faced with a tough decision, I pray, I seek God’s word, and I move forward with confidence knowing that He will graciously protect and guide me.