Of Strength and Honor

by Alicia Jones - May 15, 2019

Clothes shopping is so much fun! I’m sure you all would agree. After all, you’re here at a boutique site! I love clothes shopping for myself, for my boys, for my nieces, for sweet babies at church—for pretty much everyone. It’s so fun to pick out just the perfect outfit for a special person or for myself. I like to think that the Proverbs 31 woman liked clothes, too. After all, her household was clothed in fine scarlet clothes and she dressed herself in silk and purple. She even made clothes, specifically belts, for a living.

However, the Proverbs 31 woman was also known for another kind of clothing. She was known as someone who possessed so much strength and honor that it was recognized like a garment on her. She took these character traits with her wherever she went. Strength and honor are two powerful characteristics to possess, and we could write book after book with examples of how to cultivate strength and honor specifically in our lives. Strength can be mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. It’s that little voice that encourages us to try again tomorrow. It’s that push that keeps us going when physically worn out. It’s that power under control that keeps our lips sealed in moments of anger or opened to speak gentle, lovely things. It’s that presence that helps us rise up against temptation and speak truth over ourselves.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. - Proverbs 31:25

Honor is found in graciousness; in the careful way we choose our words. It’s found in the presence of the help we give to others. It’s in the love we bestow, especially on those considered the “least of these” or in tough situations that are anything but love-inspiring. Only Christ can work strength and honor into our lives in such a way that others recognize these traits as a type of garment upon us. Without His Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. Our own efforts to become strong, honorable women fall short without Him. Today, allow me to encourage you to call upon God to radiate His strength and honor through you.

Comment the ways in which you see God working His strength and honor in you.


Alicia A. Willis is a Christian Historical Fiction author, mother of two sweet babies (one in heaven and one on earth), ministry wife, and coffee connoisseur. When not doing research for her novels or teaching piano, she enjoys water colors, playing with her dogs, singing, and adventures with her hubby. Join her on social media or check out her website to learn more about her books and the ministry the Lord has called them to. http://www.aliciaannewillis.com/

May 15, 2019

If the Stars Were Made to Worship So Will I

by Liz Mannegren - May 8, 2019

It was mid-February and I stood on a frozen lake, staring up at the brilliance of a night sky.

Away from the city and its light pollution, the stars seemed bigger and bolder than anything I had ever seen before. The ice was thick but I could hear its deep rumbling far below the surface. It cracked and groaned with surprising volume and my feet shook inside their fur-lined boots. I had never walked across a frozen lake before and I craved the security of solid ground. And yet, I couldn’t seem to move. I stood still and breathed deep, soaking up that moment of beauty – my fears paling in comparison to the majesty before me.

All of creation seemed to be crying out and my soul had no choice but to join in with the choir of the created.

I heard its praise in the thudding of deep water chunks of ice beneath my feet. I saw the reflection of God’s glory in the stars that burn light-years away, shimmering and dancing in indescribable delight. I felt the praise of the earth rise up to meet my own swelling heart.

Surrounded by the beauty of nature, God called me to worship.

Praise Him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever—
    he issued a decree that will never pass away.
-Psalm 148:3-6

I wish this posture of worship was my daily instinct.

All too often, I get caught up in the hectic schedules of 21st century life. It piles up, crowding my day planner with appointments and social events, swimming lessons and playgroups, reminders for spring cleaning and notes about meal prep. Chipping away at my time and energy reserves, I hurry from one moment to the next, forgetting to pause and re-direct my eyes upward.

We’re called to live a life of constant prayer and worship – a life that glorifies God in all we do.

And I need these reminders.

Spring flowers burst into bloom, pushing their heads up through soft soil, reminding me of life abundant. A puff of wind rustles through the pine boughs, fresh and cool against my face, reminding me of the freedom found in Christ. The nightingale outside my window sings its bedtime song, a reminder to rest in Him. Here is creation’s call to glorify.

I don’t always see it but when I do, the simultaneous majesty and simplicity of nature can stop me in my tracks and bring me to my knees in praise. In all that I do, I pray that this attitude of worship permeates and soaks deep within.

For if even the stars were created to praise, then so will I.

And long after we are gone, His creation will still sing on.


Liz lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two littles. She is the mother of seven beautiful babies: carrying two in her arms but an extra five in her heart. In her spare time, you’ll most likely find her curled up on the couch reading books and sipping a frozen, sugary drink. For more stories on faith, motherhood, and loss, you can find her at mommymannegren.com

May 08, 2019

In His Time

by Alicia Jones - May 1, 2019

Mothering Amid the Must-Dos

Time spent as a mother moves at a bewildering pace.

Hours at night are strangely short, yet long. The daytime can be a dizzying blur of activity where the hours leap ahead, or, in the case of a screaming infant or potty-training toddler, move with agonizing slowness. Milestones are even worse.

One moment, our babies are gulping their first breath of air, the next they are rolling over, taking their first step, starting school, or sitting behind the wheel for the first time. How did we blink and so many changes take place?

Time spent as a mother is unique in another way too.

How are we supposed to do all the things society and even our own conscience demands we do? And, worse, how are we supposed to do them all in one 24-hour day, every single day? Time doesn’t seem to have been made for us.

Mothering in today’s culture demands a level of perfection that may have never been seen. Whether it’s words from a book, screamed at us from the mommy wars, subtly hinted at in social media, or professionally advocated by teachers, pediatricians, and church leaders, there is an evergrowing list that we subconsciously engrave into our very souls.

The house needs to be spotless. Do we want people to think we live here?

Baby’s day must be comprised of perfectly charted nap, feeding, play, tummy, and alone time. Always.

The kids have to do at least three extracurricular activities every school semester. They will fail in society otherwise.

We have to eat organic, even if it takes an hour to get to the heath-food store.

Baby needs 24/7 interaction. We have to be fully present for her. Also, she needs alone time.

We need to have an uninterrupted Bible time every day. Uninterrupted.

I need to keep a good appearance, so the kids know I believe in taking care of myself. Wait—is that spit up all over my shirt?

Thousands upon thousands of must-dos have been thrust upon us—and these don’t even include the ones thrust upon us in our roles as wives, sisters, daughters, friends, businesswomen, and so forth.

The must-dos pile up, streaming atop our ever-growing pile.

It’s all rather like the laundry, accumulating in the basket. Or the floor. Or the bed. This never ceasing cycle that never seems complete and is ever-growing.

And, often, the must-dos are all good, desirable things. Eating right, teaching kids to be sociable, keeping a clean house, and studying God’s Word are all amazing things to do. The pressure is more real, because all of those things are things we want to do.

I understand the list. As a wife, mother, businesswoman, and ministry wife, the must-dos are a mile long. To be fair, not all of them are from society. Many of my must-dos are self-imposed, based on my standards. It gets very easy to be very overwhelmed with all of my own priorities—and then those of society get hammered down atop them.

But I will never forget a conversation with a friend. I was frantically endeavoring to figure out how I could be all the things, all at once, all the time. And what she told me has always come back to me.

You won’t be and do everything—all the things, all the must-dos—all the time.

And it’s okay.

There are seasons in life. There are different days. There are different moments. Even the perfect Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t doing everything all at once. There were days she sold products. There were days she made clothes. There were days she took care of children. And she had help in doing these things.

We shouldn’t expect more for ourselves. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to make perfection happen.

There will be days when the house is spotless—and there will be days that make us appreciate the spotless days so much more.

There will be days when we make that trek to the organic store and eat like the super health heroes we are—and there will be days when fish sticks and PB&J on (horrors!) white bread get the job done.

There will be days when we are more present for our children—and there will be days when they get a little more alone time.

It will all even out.

When we strive to be all the things and do everything all at once, we lay an impossible task upon ourselves: one that cuts off the joys of mothering and enslaves us to all that is truly important. If all the must-dos become more important than the precious babies and children we are serving, we have missed the point.

And then the good things we are trying to do are no longer good.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. - Ecclesiastes 3:1

In Ecclesiastes, there is a passage that talks about this.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

The passage goes on to list all of the many things there is a time for. But they are not all done at once. And, at the end of the passage, it says that God makes everything beautiful in His time.

All of the little things we do are culminating to make a beautiful picture in His good time.

The picture to beauty is a journey. All of those good must-dos are going to get done—just not all at once. There will be bad days and good days on the journey, but they will get done. It will even out.

And, as they are being done, enjoy the journey. Praise God for the days when you are supermom, but also praise Him for the days that make the other days possible. Praise Him for taking all of the good must-dos and weaving them together piece by piece—because you don’t have the strength to weave them all together all at once.

Praise Him in every season of the time He has given us.


Alicia A. Willis is a Christian Historical Fiction author, mother of two sweet babies (one in heaven and one on earth), ministry wife, and coffee connoisseur. When not doing research for her novels or teaching piano, she enjoys water colors, playing with her dogs, singing, and adventures with her hubby. Join her on social media or check out her website to learn more about her books and the ministry the Lord has called them to. http://www.aliciaannewillis.com/

May 01, 2019

He is Able

by Liz Mannegren  April 19, 2019

 

As I look back over the past few weeks, the past few months, I can see the faithfulness of God woven throughout the everyday. His grace is ever-present; flowing over the cracks and dry spots of my faith, soothing and replenishing. He answers my pint-sized prayers with small but overwhelmingly grace-filled answers.

Answers for peace and calm when I'm frazzled by stupid things like parking spots and beetle bugs in my kitchen pantry. Prayers for another night without my son tumbling off his new bunk bed and for the opportunity and courage to connect with someone new. For rest. For patience. For more of Him. He answers prayers I didn't even know needed asking. And while we wait on answers to the bigger prayers, His handiwork never fails to reflect off my day in a thousand different little ways. He's here, even when I'm busy and bumbling and fail to give Him the glory and praise deserved.

My heart ponders this collection of every day prayer. He's faithful with the seemingly mundane and ever-faithful-still with the prayers I carry so much closer to my heart.

He is here. Today. Even here.

Draw close.

Pray those bold requests you're almost afraid to ask for -- the seemingly impossible. Because the God we serve is more than capable of answering and fulfilling and redeeming even the most complicated and broken of circumstances.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

So if you need some big prayers prayed, send me a message or comment below. We can learn to be bold in faith together! ❤

April 19, 2019

Be Brave Psalm 31

January 24, 2019

BRAVE, because fear is a liar, right!?

by Julie Bolagh

This year I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and do things that I normally wouldn’t because of fear! Do you ever feel like you hold back or don't fully pursue your dreams because of fear? Maybe it's the fear of rejection, the unknown, or that you will fail. Well guess what, fear is a liar, do it scared! Jesus knows what it’s like to be scared. He went through sadness, hurts, and even huge storms. With His help, every one of us can be brave. We are beautifully created in His image.

YOU MAKE ME BRAVE ❤

One of my goals this year is to branch out into more accessories and fabulous clothing that pairs perfectly with my graphic tees. Think jeans, kimonos, jewelry and more!! I have big goals and can’t wait to share them with you!! I also hope to start doing lives in the VIP Facebook group soon! I want to overcome that fear this year to better connect with all of you!

On the day I called to You, You answered me. You made me strong and brave. - Psalm 138:3

I hope you will join me this year and step out of your comfort zone to pursue whatever dreams or goals you may have. Let’s commit to being real and brave, one step at a time, holding each other up and helping each other forward. Let’s claim the victory waiting on the other side of brave; for ourselves and for each other.

How are you going to risk everything brave requires for everything brave has to offer? Please comment below, I would love to hear your story! ❤

January 24, 2019