A few years ago I spoke on a panel about running a business with the fabulous Katie from Vintage Rose Wraps. This was the first time I had met her and she is crazy sweet and super talented. She had so much to teach us during that panel that I kind of wish that I was in the audience and she had taught the whole thing herself. I’m so glad to have kept up with her via Instagram since we live so far from each other – she’s a consistent encourager to me and I’m so happy to tell you about her shop today (and she’s giving away a $50 gift certificate!!).

VRW

Vintage Rose Wraps started with two sisters who started making headbands. They wore them out and their friends & family wanted to purchase them for themselves. They sold in boutiques and stores and the rest is history. They’ve grown the business to be in hundreds of stores across the country, they travel to markets multiple times a year and they’ve recently expanded beyond headbands to include ruffled bags, cuff bracelets, boot cuffs and belts. Their shop is full of color and happy! {you can read more about their history here}. In addition to their shop, they also have a blog called The Vintage Mother where they share inspiration.

Katie generously sent me some belts to review, which I almost think is unfair because I knew before they arrived that I would LOVE them. I could give a review of them without even having them in hand because I love their products so much. I have 5 Vintage Rose Wraps headbands and get comments on them everywhere I go.

VRW-casual

But in order to give an honest, integrity-filled review I had to have them in hand so I accepted them gladly. The belts are so gorgeous in person. Above I used the yellow and gray one with more of a casual outfit. I slipped it through the back three belt loops and left it out for the front. They are so well made and are adjustable, which I love because I can wear it low on the hips or on the smallest part of my waist with a dress if I want to without needing a different size. The belt is not flimsy, but isn’t too rigid either. It’s quite simply perfect in my opinion. I wouldn’t change anything about it and love the look that it gives to my outfit.

church-vrw

My second outfit was a dressier option for church. I love the contrasting colors and the pop that it gives to my outfit. Someone told me that she loved my whole ensemble – I think it’s due to the belt. Let’s be honest, that pop of color makes a huge impact!

Katie & Vintage Rose Wraps have generously offered to give away a $50 gift certificate to their shop! What would you choose?

Enter to win via the Rafflecopter App below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

happy-chicIt’s been a while since I participated in What I Wore with Pleated Poppy so I figured I’d join the club again today because I have a fabulous new top to share with you all. It’s super comfy, flowy and cute AND it’s less than $20. It’s from Happy Chic Boutique – I love this shop! Nearly everything is under $30 and she has such cute clothing and accessories to choose from. You can find the top here and my necklace here at Papelline.

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{bracelets: here & here, rings: here, here and here}

bracelet-saleToday only, all bracelets are 15% off with the code friday15 – so the bracelets start at less than $20. Perfect for creating your bangle stack or starting your Christmas shopping. 

{one coupon code per transaction, not valid on previous purchases.
code valid on any bracelet in the bracelets category, expires at midnight on 10/10/14)

I’m sure I’ve written this in a blog post before, but I love the Old Testament part of the Bible.  I’m watching out for lightning as I write this (wink!), but I think it might be my favorite.  I mean, I don’t get way into or much out of all those lists in Numbers and all that crazy law in Leviticus, but you guys!, the STORIES!  Who doesn’t love a really good story?  And you can’t make up ones like these…

Beyond just the entertainment value, however, there are some seriously deep and cut-to-the-bone lessons in there, and it seems like just about every time I read one of them, God is holding up a mirror and showing me how I’m like a certain character in the that story.  And,… yikes, you know?

claris blocksSo I was reading the story of the tower of Babel (Genesis 11).  The one about the people are building this huge, tall tower to reach up to God in heaven, thinking they can be as high and mighty as God is.  God frustrates their plans and makes them all speak different languages, so they can’t understand each other and the work can’t continue.  They all scatter all over the earth (like He had told them to begin with), and then, The End.  God’s purpose is accomplished – people are scattered, new languages are born, the tower is left unfinished, people relearn their place in Creation.

At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. (Gen. 11.1)

The people of the earth after the Flood put their heads together and decided to build a city and a tower so they could become famous and all stay together.  I’ve always been taught from this story that we need reminded we are not as great as God, we shouldn’t try to become Him, and that people who can’t understand each other really have a hard time working together.  Growing up on the mission field, and then becoming a translator, I get that lesson.  But I’m a firm believer that every story or lesson in the Bible is relevant for me today, where I am right this second.  For you, too – and maybe you’re not a former missionary, who is now a translator.

I started thinking about the miscommunication I still deal with every day.  Sometimes my kids don’t listen.  Or they don’t seem to understand what I’m saying.  I got my feelings hurt because of something a friend posted on Facebook.  I ended up in a fight with my husband because I shot off at the mouth and said something better left unsaid.  It’s not as if we aren’t all speaking the same actual language to one another.  We ARE speaking the same language, and still misunderstand each other, still have a hard time working and living together.

And I realized, we’re all still building our own kingdoms too.  Still making our own plans, going about our own business, pretending like we aren’t disobeying what God clearly told us to do.  Our problems in communication ultimately come from us trying to accomplish our own plans, meet our own needs, satisfy our own wants, and make our own lives convenient.  Now there’s not a whole lot I can do about you and your kingdom-building, nor you about me and mine.

Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages.  Then they won’t be able to understand each other.

But God can.  So next time you’re talking to your friend kindly about something and somehow you end up on the outs with her, ask yourself, ‘Whose kingdom was I building in that conversation?’  Ask the same question the next time a seemingly innocuous request to your spouse turns into a full-blown argument.  You might have to dig a little bit.  I know I did.  But when I really looked at what was at the root of my words – me, me, me, me – it was easier to see that I was laying a foundation for my own city and tower, not God’s.

sharing daddy's breakfast

My telling my kids to pick up their toys and ultimately ending up frustrated was, if I’m honest, really about ME just obsessing about a clean house.

That sarcastic comment on Facebook was really about wanting to be seen as funny.

If you find ourselves in verbal scrapes with others often, instead of saying, ‘oh, that’s just how people are, there’ll always be arguments and conflict with other people,’ we should see if we’re in obedience to God, and if we’re about His kingdom or ours.

Isaiah 46:10 says this, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’   From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.  What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.

But, wait.  Before we get the idea that He’s just up there in Heaven lording it over us, moving us around like pawns to win his game, let’s read on a little…  What’s His purpose?  What does He have planned?  Nothing less than saving us.  Saving us from building a huge tower for nothing.  Bring us to Heaven with Him.  Exactly what we wanted.

I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed.  I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel.

I’m Amber Pierre, mother of 3 (ages 3, 2 and 1) and expecting baby #4.  I love to sew, but I’m not that great at it, and I love to cook, and no one has had food poisoning yet, which is totally how I determine that I’m a fantastic cook.  I am home with my kids, and work part-time as a translator from home.  Sometimes the lines of my “work” get blurry, and I wonder if one more load of laundry is going to make any kind of eternal impact.  After doing some Bible reading, I’ve realized that it’s my attitude about doing the laundry (or whatever) that matters…

photo-7This was my second year attending the Influence Conference and I was so excited to go and to learn what my influence can be in various aspects of my life (but focusing on my online influence). I was not disappointed this year – there were sessions, classes & workshops focused around using our online presence for good. There were many classes in which I cried, there were three amazing worship times where we cried out to God, there was a members-only session by Lara Casey that broke down walls and so many other good things. While my head is swimming and my heart is full of good things that now I need to implement, I can’t share it all. I didn’t even have time to take pictures during the conference. There is just too much good that happened in 48 hours. But I will share snippets that I will be taking with me in the days to come:

His Spirit lives in me, so it pushes out all of that try-hard and look-at-me. (Hayley Morgan)

Fear is the fuel in Satan’s getaway car. (Whitney English)

Just because it’s not published, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. (Life Panel, can’t remember who said it)

Don’t value the comfort that comes with sameness. (Jessica Honegger)

Do more of what fires you up. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things when they are surrendered. (Lara Casey)

There’s a lot of people doing what you do, so be appreciative of those who choose you. (Lindsay Sherbondy)

Fear, guilt & shame motivate temporarily, but the love of God motivates forever. (Ellen Parker)

Comparison is the thief of community. (Carrie McQuaid)

God loves HIS Kingdom. He hates MY kingdom. He loves when I build HIS kingdom. (Jess Connolly)

Seriously, so much good stuff! If you were there, what was your favorite quote from the weekend?

Influence-SWAGThanks to the wonderful sponsors that gave gifts & info in the SWAG bags and helped fund the conference:
Necklace from Simply Put Handmade Jewelry | Mug from Crystal Faye | KeyFob from Better Life Bags
Scripture Magnet from Chamels Creations | Pencil from DotProducts.org | Earrings from ViBella
Print from B Paperie | Card from Love By Design | Card from Rainy Day Colors | WiFi from David Kind
Journal from Patton Prints | Eight Twenty Eight book from B&H Publishing | Yoga Decal from Holy Yoga
Exploring Grace Together sample book from Crossway | Devotional from the Influence Core Team
Bag from Lisa LeonardGrace for Moms | She Does Justice | Mocha Club | Naptime Diaries Shop | ThriveMoms

If I have forgotten any swag bag sponsor please let me know! I want everyone to get recognition for their generosity in helping to fill 300 bags to bless the attendees. Thank you again to all of the sponsors who provided swag or funds to help put on the Influence Conference!