Finding Love in an Unexpected Place | Journal

“Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:20-21

I would categorize myself as a hopeless romantic – one who believed that someday my prince would come. I know I sound like a Disney princess movie, but that was my view. Those movies had a very large impact on my life, okay? Yet reality is so much different than a fairytale. Throughout the years of never having a boyfriend or never holding someone’s hand in a romantic way it had an effect on me. Every single Christian girl can vouch for me when I say I’ve heard all the remarks from older generations on marriage and “the one” and I was sick of it. I was immensely tired of hearing that my time will come, or that there are plenty of fish in the sea, or something along those lines. Well, he wasn’t really coming in my timeline at all. I was supposed to be married three years ago with at least a little one on the way by now. Reality had a cruel way of showing you that life isn’t a movie, and social media also has a way of letting people pretend that they’re perfect and happy, giving you the feeling of loneliness that amplifies into untruths. I have a love-hate relationship with social media.

I wanted a relationship so bad for so long, I eventually gave up hope if I’m being completely honest. In January of 2017, I threw in the towel and wrote a letter to my future husband and to God, saying that I was done looking. I was fed up with my own failed timeline creating doubt and disappointment. I was finished with feeling sorry for myself and painting false ideas on myself that I wasn’t pretty enough, or outgoing enough, or just plain likable. If I claimed to be a child of God, it was time for me to start acting like one.

I did a lot of soul searching, and found that I was not ready for a relationship with someone when I wasn’t strong in my relationship with God or myself. I leaned on what God said I was, and started to finally place my worth in what He said versus what the world said a young twenty-something girl should be. (I could go on about how social media is a blessing and a curse to society, but that’s another soap box that I need to not step on, otherwise I could go on forever.) Let me tell you, it’s hard changing your mindset. The beauty of serving a mighty God is that it didn’t take very long for me to be free of those untruths. It starts with talking to God and telling him your fears, your concerns, your failures, and just giving them up. It also means finally being okay with HIS timeline.

I wrote a post on here a few years ago proclaiming that I was done with dating (I’ll link it here if you’d like) and while for the most part I stuck to this, words are easier said than done, because after that I still struggled. Just being completely honest. Yet who knew that I would meet my husband eight months after truly declaring, by myself at night in my room, that I was handing it to the Lord. Also, who knew that the internet/social media was the way I would meet him. I know, I just went on a little tangent about social media, but remember I said I have a love/hate relationship with it? Well I found him on none other than ChristianMingle. Yes, you read that right. At first, I was skeptical of trying it. I thought and prayed hard before I started and during the whole process. I kept my mindset pure and on God. At first, I felt like it wasn’t right for me to give my dating life to God and then turn around a few months later and look for him myself on an internet dating site of all places. However, I prayed a simple prayer, “I’m going to try this for a little while, and if it’s not what you have for me, God, then shut the door.” Surprisingly, he didn’t shut it.

I want let this phrase sink in, because it is so true: God’s timing is PERFECT. All those years of wishing and crying and wanting someone taught me to trust in God’s plan. If I didn’t, I would have never met my husband, because all this time he was 1,000 miles away from me until he moved to Michigan in June of that same year I gave it all up to God. In August, we had our first date and talked for hours. By our third date, we both knew that this was it. We had found our soulmates. In December, he asked me to marry him, and I said yes. In August of the next year (two months ago) we made the most important covenant between a man and a woman official. I’m telling you, when God is in the mix, things just happen. I look back at all those “wasted” years of being single as a lesson. I put the word “wasted” in quotations because they were not wasted at all. All those years of saving myself and growing into the person God wanted me to be paid off. We each other’s firsts in everything. And that is something truly special that I thank God every day for. When we do relationships and marriage God’s way, it is truly beautiful and the most romantic love story of all.

I want to say this as a sort of disclaimer – God’s timeline for everyone is different. I know I would read these types of posts and say to myself, “Okay, if that’s how it worked for them, I’ll try the same things and see if they work for me!” It never did. If you’re struggling with singleness and all the other issues that come with that, I understand your pain. I was right there with you for many years. Remember this: a girl should be so lost in God that a guy needs to seek him to find her. That way the struggle is easier, and the waiting doesn’t seem like an eternity. I hope my story resonates with someone, and if it does, then my goal is made. I will see you next week with another blog post (I’m determined to keep this thing going)!

With love,

Emily

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What I Wore | Winter Wonderland

We’ve had quite a snow storm here in the mitten, and so I asked my fiancé if he would brave the elements with me and take some outfit pictures! I’m bummed we couldn’t get boot pics since the snow was so deep (stupid snow), but they are over the knee with a chunky heel and too adorable for words. I want to get more into outfit pictures – and now I’ll have a full time photographer husband soon so it’ll be way easier. 😉 Source of everything down below – Enjoy!

Duster Jacket – LOFT

Shirt – Kohl’s

Leggings – Marshalls

Boots – Marshalls

Lips – Em Cosmetics

Face – IT Cosmetics

Mackinac Island | Travel With Me

Mackinac (Mack-in-aw) Island is one of the most beautiful places in Michigan. I have not been to the island since I was a young girl, so reliving everything again was breathtaking (even in the frigid, rainy temperatures). There are no cars or any motorized transportation on the island, so the only way to get anywhere is by a bicycle or by horse. With there being no cars allowed, you have to take a ferry to get onto the island, which makes the experience more memorable.

Though I have biked around the island many times, this was the first time I experienced riding in the horse-drawn carriage. Even though it’s pricey, I highly recommend the private tour if you take a carriage. The private tour takes you around all of the private cottages on the island, plus you get to see the governor’s summer home.  I felt like I was in Pride and Prejudice. One of the benefits to biking around the island is seeing the beautiful views around the island, which is only eight (approx. 8.2) miles around.

Besides bikes and horses, Mackinac is known for its decadent fudge. There are at least three fudge shops to choose from. Plus, they give you as many free samples as you want! The restaurant I would recommend is Millie’s for their kid-friendly meal selection and great selection of options for adults as well. The truffle oil fries with blue cheese appetizer is one to definitely try. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of my food, but I got an olive burger with swiss cheese and Millie’s olive spread. It was a pretty good burger, even though it was messy.

If you have never been to the UP (Upper Peninsula), or at least at the top of the mitten, I would put it on your bucket list. Michigan is a beautiful place, and I’m glad I get to call it my home.

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Stratford, Ontario | Travel With Me

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

-excerpt from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

I have been to Stratford many times on school trips to see a play, usually from Shakespeare, for my English class. It has been a while (six years to be exact – yikes) since I had been to Canada and Romeo and Juliet was playing this season. I had always wanted to see Romeo and Juliet live so I begged my mom to come with me. Soon we told my sister and it turned into a birthday excursion for my sister.

We had the most wonderful time there, myself in particular. I strolled through the streets, soaking in everything I remembered as a young teen. We ate at Downie Street Burgers for lunch (you can see the pic of my meal below) and it was delicious. They have many other options to choose from if you’re not into burgers per say, but I highly recommend this place. It is a little pricey, but with the exchange rate it is less in the long run for Americans. For dessert I chose a lemon tart, which was amazing, from a little coffee shop I used to go to every time when I went in school.

If you are interested in plays and love little towns, then this place is one to check off the bucket list. It is not far from Toronto, so if you are ever around there you should definitely make a little day trip and go see a play, explore the little boutiques, take a walk by the river, and eat some delicious food.

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

 

Busyness: a New Disease | Journal

I usually like to write about what I am going through at a particular moment in my life. I am going to school (yes I am almost twenty-four and still in college – that’s a testimony for a later post lol) and working full time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my job and I love being back in school and getting a higher education. I will say, though, it comes at a cost.

I have found that I hardly have time for anything anymore. I get up early, go to work, come home, and go to bed. On school days I get up early, go to school all day, go to a coffee shop to get my homework done, go home, and go to bed. That is my routine five days a week. I forgot to mention: I also have photo sessions on the weekend. I have no time for a social life, and I feel that I have no time for me. Yet I feel that I have no choice – I have to have so many classes in order to not be in school forever, and I have to work so many hours to pay my bills and stay afloat.

Remember when you were a kid and could not WAIT to be an adult and make your own decisions and have your own car (insert anything you wanted as a kid, but could not have)? Yeah, it is not what it is cracked up to be. In fact, it is downright awful.

The more freedom you have, the more responsibility you have. That also pertains to your spiritual walk with God. No one holds your hand anymore. Your parents do not make you go to church anymore. YOU are your own responsibility. It has to be YOUR choice to shimmy in some time with God, no matter how “busy” you are.

I am not afraid to acknowledge that I have been lacking in my spiritual walk. I really detest the “holier-than-thou” attitude, so I will not be one of those people. Every one has ups and downs in his or her spiritual walk. I believe we should not be afraid to admit our faults for fear of judgement, rather confess our weaknesses to seek support and help. Yet busyness is a dangerous place to be in your life; I am learning this right now.

What happens when you do not have time for God?

Makeup Review | Tarte

 

During Mother’s Day, Tarte sent me an email saying they had a special deal for one day only. Of course, knowing me I can’t pass it up, but I told myself only to look. The deal was for six items of your choice and a makeup bag for only $59. Six. Full-sized items. For 59 bucks. After I finalized what I wanted I tallied up what it would have cost me: $168 (not including the bag price if there was one). I absolutely love Tarte because they have products that do not irritate my overly sensitive skin. I was inspired to do a makeup review on the products because I usually don’t get this many at once. So here goes nothing!

Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation: $39

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This foundation is one-of-a-kind. It is hypoallergenic (good for sensitive skin), and it is extremely hydrating, which is perfect for people with dry skin. It goes on very well, gives full coverage, and lasts quite a while. If you have oily skin, or even normal skin and do not like the dewey skin look, then this foundation is not for you. I do have to powder every once in a while because my skin gets shiny as the day rolls on, but I can live with it because it does not irritate the dry patches on my skin. One other note: I hope they come out with more color ranges, because the lightest shade (fair to neutral) they have is a bit dark for me, although I do have the translucent skin of a vampire. It would be nice, though! Overall, a really nice foundation for dry skin!

Limited Edition Lights, Camera, Lashes Precision Longwear Eyeliner: $20

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This limited edition shade, deep brown, is perfect for those who find black to be too harsh for their skin tone or eye color. To be honest I was not too impressed with this. I tried it and it did not go on very smoothly. It snagged my eyelid when I was trying to make a line and it left a patchy job. I do not know if it is because I am used to em by Michelle Phan’s liquid eyeliner applicator or what, but this one was not a winner for me.

Bronze and Glow Contour Brush: $34 & Colored Clay Bronzer Blush: $30

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I never contoured before, and to be perfectly honest I thought it was a fad that was going to fade away (which it probably still is, but not anytime soon). This bronzer/blush combo is perfect for beginners who are a little intimidated by the idea of contouring. The brush makes it super easy, with the slim side used for sweeping the darker colors under the cheek bones, under the jaw line, down the sides of the nose, and around the temples. Then, take the bigger fluffy side and blend, blend, and blend some more! I opted for the pink shade to go more with my skin tone, but they do have a peachy shade as well. It is a beautiful combination of colors – I highly recommend these two!

Lights, Camera, Splashes Waterproof Mascara: $21 

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For some unknown reason, mascara is my friend and my enemy in the makeup world. Any mascara I try, it always smudges underneath my lower lash line. So, I went for Tarte’s waterproof mascara. I probably should have bought waterproof mascara ages ago, but this is a pretty good option. It takes a while to get a few coats on your lashes, but it significantly reduced the fallout/smudging problem I had. I believe the only shade they offer is black. Overall, great mascara! Obviously a little harder to get off, but that is normal with waterproof mascara, just be careful to not rub your eyes raw or pull out all your lashes!

LipSurgence Lip Crème: $24

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This is by far one of my favorite Tarte products! I already had two other shades, so when the opportunity came to get another, I pounced at the chance! I have full lips and I love the formula – it glides on smoothly and my lips stay moisturized all day practically. They also smell minty to me, which is not so bad either ;). The shade Serene is a beautiful peachy pink almost nude color. It looks very natural and is just a beautiful shade. I cannot say enough good things about these – if you do not have one, I would suggest you invest in one. It is definitely worth it.

~

Disclaimer: this blog post was not sponsored in any way – I purchased these products myself and all opinions are my own. All pictures are owned by me and were taken by me.

A Time for Everything | Journal

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

There has been so many significant events this year. Some exciting, some heartbreaking. I’ve witnessed three marriages (with one more this year) and two deaths. I’ve seen couples welcome bundles of joy into the world, and I’ve grieved with friends who have had devastating news. There is a season for everything – this year being a pinnacle of whiplashing happiness and sadness.

It’s so easy to question God’s motives and timing. It’s even easier to doubt and make our own timeline for our lives. Yet that can lead to despair and rebellion in the hard times. I’ve had my own season of questions this year. I’ve moved recently (a year ago in August) and I found myself lost as to finding a home church. I’ve been with the same church family for twenty-one years. I visited many churches and had only negatives to say because the “worship wasn’t the same as my old church,” or, “It just didn’t feel like home.”  I began to go to a place of complacency that I’ve never experienced before. It was like I’ve given up hope in finding a church home; given up on finding my fit to where I could lead worship again; given up of God to show me where to go because it wasn’t in my time line. It was a hard time in my life.

It took a while to realize that God had put me through this season of hardship for a reason. There was a lesson to be learned – although we face problems or situations that contradict God’s plan, we should use them as opportunities. Without God, there can be no solution. If we face them alone, we will only sink deeper and deeper. The secret to peace in troubled times is accepting God’s perfect timing. Surrendering myself and my doubts and concerns was hard. It means trusting God completely no matter what happens; giving God the reigns to you life. Yet it was so worth it – not worrying and having a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It doesn’t mean I’ve found my “home church” yet, but I’m going with a positive outlook and an open heart.

There is a time for every season. We just have to learn to trust and accept God’s perfect timing for everything. What seasons have you been going through? Joyful, trying, or something else? Leave a comment below. :]

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a hope and a future. In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:11-13

What I Wore | Autumn Plaid

Shot by the lovely Samantha Cushman – I realized there were no pictures of my shoes…oh well. I’ll link them with the other items so you can see what they looked like. :]

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  • Hat | American Eagle (N/A)
  • Necklace | Forever 21
  • Lips | Nyx
  • Shirt | Forever 21
  • Jeans | American Eagle (N/A)
  • Booties | Target