Thursday, May 31, 2012

Something in the Genes (50/100)

"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall I eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall I wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all." --Matthew 6:30-32
Yesterday could easily appear as if it were any other Wednesday. Yet it was special, a day where I was reminded the importance of looking in between the lines to capture the loving and creative God we serve. 

I was reminded of that as I reflected on what 50 days without clothes shopping has looked like for me. 

Honestly, I am grateful to say it has not been nearly as bad as I thought; I think it's because the reason I decided to do 100 days without shopping what because I felt called to--not just because. I had a great peace to start the challenge, and it has been pretty darn amazing thus far. 

When I began telling my friends and family about my challenge, the reactions were very scattered. Some flat out laughed at me. Some told me they were excited I was challenging myself in this regard. Some requested they be present to see others reactions when I told them the first time. One went who far as to say jokingly, "what are you going to do, spend more time at home now!?" (love you too mom). Nonetheless, the conversations that budded from this topic were just too funny.

So you ask, how am I doing with the no clothes shopping thing? It's quite funny because when I started it didn't seem like that big of a deal. I will tell you that these first 50 days have held significant impact, with all gratitude and thanks to our awesome Creator. 

I feel I have been really living and recognizing the value of Matthew 6:30-32, as quoted above. Here is a few ways as to how:

1. Appreciation of what I have
My goodness I have truly been reminded within this 50 days of how immensely blessed I am to have a closet of clean clothes, from casual to professional, Sunday best to Friday festive. I've been even reminded of what a blessing it is to have a washer and dryer and the means to personally clean and care for my clothes. Instead of looking at my closet and thinking "what's missing?" I now think "What can I find to where today?" My closet used to be viewed as kind of like an evergreen website page, which constantly needs to be refreshed. I don't feel that way at all anymore, because I am grateful to have what I do:-)

2. It's ok to like fashion
As it is probably apparent, I have an affinity for fashion. Besides liking jeans, I know it is in my genes. Before I could read I would flip through my moms fashion and family magazines all day (commonly upside down). I designed two of my homecoming dresses in high school that my oh-so talented mother brought to life. I love picking out what to wear, finding fun color combinations and well-fitted outfits. I see it as an opportunity to express my creative heart. I feel God has significantly reshaped my once strong fascination of clothes to one that glorifies Him thoroughly--I look forward to what 50 more days will bring! I feel God's reaffirmed that yes my dear Sarah, get dressed and enjoy it, and by doing so glorify me! 

3.  Compliments
I know this may seem funny, but I know it's a God thing because it has caught my attention every time. On many days where I've worn a piece of clothing that I have had for a few years--I was complimented about it! For example, I wore shoes today that I've had since senior year of high school--and they were complimented!! 

4. Returns
Typically when I buy something it's for good--no messing around. After I started my 100 day quest to not shop, I stared at my closet one day and a few items caught my eye that still had tags on them. I realized they weren't needed, and promptly returned them. Not only did I have money to do other things with to bring glory to Him and had opportunities to be in community with friends, I was just about as excited for returning the clothes as I used to feel when I bought them. Pretty groovy huh?

5. Acts of Kindness
I have been exceptionally thrilled to give back or simply give to others. I always have, but something about having possibly a little bit of extra money each month to go to a cause I believe in, to church, to treating friends to ice cream or den pop and snacks has been abundantly refreshing, energizing, and purely fun. It has been rewarding to use my money toward building relationships and feeling as if I am forwarding the Kingdom of Heaven in more abundant ways. 

With all of the goodness and happiness it have brought me, I challenge you to give up something that could make an impact on your life, others, and most importantly, His glory. Pray about it see where He leads you--He may surprise you in marvelous ways only a Heavenly Father could sculpt!

Peace & Happiness, Sarah

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tulip Time and Mother's Day

Hello and happy Friday!!

My lovely little life in Kalamazoo has been full lately--with love, family, friends, church, and living the student affairs graduate student life! I am genuinely happy--I truly enjoy my calling and simply where I am in life. I don't feel as if I am striving or overwhelmed or anxious. I feel content, cared for, loved, and silly happy. 
Of course I have my moments, especially dealing with my first series of 40-work weeks, split between my SALP hours and my Career Services internship hours. I know it is something that I need time to get used to! Oh, and my car demanded another $700 of work--fuel pumps are kind of a big deal! 

The past two weekends were full of fun! I went to opening night of the annual Tulip Time Festival fireworks with Kirsten and Lindsay, and spent Sunday walking around Holland in the pouring rain--literally. Julie and Hollie were able to come to, so it was lovely to just all be together--something we weren't able to do in quite a while! 

For mother's day my mom and sister visited, and we just had the best time! We went out to one of our favorite Kalamazoo restaurants, the Texas Roadhouse, and I made sure they experienced Sophia's House of Pancakes. They got to meet my good friends Chavonna and Yu, and we all went to my church (love Centerpoint!) together. It was a wonderful mother's days service and I was so thankful to experience it with my mom! It was truly a magical mother's day! 

The Lord has truly blessed me lately. I plan to write more this weekend about what He is doing in my life. I've been dreaming lots of big Jesus dreams lately and I can't wait to chat more with you about them. May the Lord bless you and keep you this lovely Michigan weekend!

Fireworks with Linds and Kirsten!
Lindsay Lou love. 
 The only group shot we got, ducking under awnings of downtown shops.
Sad rainy friends. Sad tulips.
Love my sissy--she is doing great things!
I love my mommy:-) She's the bomb dot com. It seemed only appropriate I got her tulips this year!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jesus loves to laugh

Ahh yes, Jesus Christ and laughter define this post, oh how I love them both! God has been so good in my life lately, and I truly have handfuls of praises to send His way. My grandpa had 2 kidney stones removed and He is going great; He kept me safe with Nelly Belle with over 600 miles of driving in 8 days; He allowed me to make memories with some of my closest friends and share abundant conversation with a new one; He blessed me with a scholarship for the upcoming school year; He has blessed us with a roommate for next year; He blessed my grades and my baking skills (fruit pizza anyone?); He kept me safe when I was home alone; He allowed my finances for tuition and life to work out just perfectly; He blessed me with many opportunities to laugh and appreciate His grace and humor, (which many of the following images share!). God is good, and I am so thankful that we have a God who is always so loving and caring and abundantly wonderful!

I have played this song numerous times in the past week, and if you haven't heard 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, I invite you to listen to my favorite worship song to date! Here's the first few lyrics I continuously say in my head:

Bless the LORD oh my soul,
Oh my soul, 
Worship His holy name, 
Sing like never before, 
Oh my soul,
I'll Worship your holy name.

The sun comes up it's a new day dawning,
It time to sing your song again,
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes. --Matt Redman

Besides praising Jesus, He has led me on many lovely adventures!
We went to Tulip Time today and it was just a rainy, dreary day. We recharged with elephant ears under the closest awning we could find for cover. We could do nothing but laugh at how soaked we were!
I got locked up for being good for donating to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation! Getting locked up at a nice restaurant for an hour=a very cozy jail I must say!

Sara and I took Kelli to Frankenmuth to celebrate her birthday! It was pretty SWEET! Hahahah!
I was trying to take a cute picture with Cass the bunny but Sara and Kelli photobombed me (look closely in the background). I think this turned out best actually!!
I also tried to get a photo of just Cass, and every time he wanted to investigate my phone! It was too cute. He especially liked me after I serenaded him to "You are my sunshine."

Today marks the beginning of my 40-hour work weeks and summer I class! I am truly looking forward to what God has in store for this semester:-)

With love, grace, and happiness,
Sarah, AKA Schultzie