Category: Lifestyle

Created on Purpose

Life isn’t about perfection. It’s about faith, family, community, gathering together, enjoying new experiences, and holding on tight to Jesus through the challenges and victories of life. Life is about running hard after our passions and dreams. It’s remembering that the Creator of heaven and earth created each of us from dust, on purpose and for a purpose. You and I have an opportunity to be a part of the story God is writing each and every day.

It can be a struggle to not lose sight of God’s over-arching purpose for our lives when we get bogged down by the routine and hard days of life. It’s easy to get distracted. To grow weary. To be pulled in far too many directions. Sometimes we just need to take a step back. Pause. Reevaluate. Prioritize.

It’s time to be intentional about pursuing God and His purpose for our lives.  A few things I try to remember are to:

Run in my own lane. We are all running the race of life, but we’re meant to run in our own lane      and not someone else’s lane. We need to focus on fulfilling the purpose God has set before us and finding contentment in our current season of life, whatever it may be.

Study, reflect, and pray. My day goes far better when I take even a few minutes to spend time reading Scripture and praying before heading out to work or whatever else my day my hold. I need time with Jesus to calibrate me and set my heart straight for anything that may lay ahead. I am so not a morning person, and it’s hard enough for me to get up, ready, and out of the door on time, but I’m challenging myself to start my day off right in the presence of God.

Celebrate others. I want to live confident in God’s purpose for me and be able to enjoy the amazing things God does in and through the people around me. I may be wishing and praying for a miracle or opportunity in my own life, but that doesn’t have to stop me from celebrating others seeing their dreams come true and prayers answered. Every miracle is worth celebrating. Let’s be a community of people who cheer each other on.

Know when to say no. Living life well is often about balance. We need to know when to say no. Remember the priorities you’ve set, consider your schedule, pray, and don’t be afraid to say no when appropriate.

Start where I am. I love to dream. I have lots of ideas that I would love the opportunity to pursue. But it can be so easy to say I don’t have enough time, money, talent, or whatever it may be. Those are all excuses and often keep us from ever pursuing the dreams we have. I’m reminded again and again to start right where I am on the dreams that are most important to me. I can do what I can right where I am and work towards my ideas, letting the dream unfold one little step at a time.

Kindness Matters

Have you ever dreamed of making a huge impact on the world? The best way we can make a difference is not through one big action. The deepest and most profound impact we can make is through daily acts of kindness.

A smile. A friendly greeting. Giving up a seat to someone else. Standing up for the underdog. Sharing a meal. Caring enough to stop and listen. One act of kindness can make all the difference in a friend, neighbor, or stranger’s life.

Kindness matters. Especially in a world where so much negativity swirls around. We can all use a little (or a lot!) of kindness to brighten up our days in the midst of the good, bad, and ugly. An act of kindness makes a big impact and can turn the tide of the day for us or someone else.

Let’s be intentional and spread a little kindness in the world around us by committing to one act of kindness each day. This doesn’t mean we limit ourselves to one kind act. But in the middle of a routine or extremely difficult day, it can be hard to extend some kindness. That’s where the intentionality comes in. We all need to look up and look out because it will do someone else a world of good to know that someone out there cares.

This is a challenge to you and me to spread kindness in this crazy world. Be creative. Do what you can where you are to make a difference in your corner of the world. Kindness begins with you and me.

Have a story of an act of kindness that’s impacted you? Share your story here. You just might see it featured.

 

New Year, New Commitments

This is the time of year where a lot of people make new year’s resolutions. And in a couple of weeks or months, the newness of the year wears off. Some of the resolutions made fall to the wayside.

My resolution, if you want to call it that, this year is to live one day at a time, one moment at a time. It’s about making daily and monthly commitments to live in abundant joy. Renewing habits. Setting new goals. Implementing steps to fulfilling dreams. I’m personally challenging myself this month to (1) exercise regularly, (2) extend at least one act of kindness a day, and (3) morning Bible study time.

I’m going to take it moment by moment. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Year by year.

A failure today is not a reason to quit the commitment. I remind myself to keep fighting for the change I want to see in my life. Don’t give up.

What are you committing to do today? This month? This year?

8 Tips to Building a Capsule Wardrobe

I recently took the leap into opening my own pop-up shop and online boutique, Amanda Suzanne by Shop Stevie. So thoughts of fashion are swirling around in my head more than ever. Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking at some of the pieces I currently have in stock and thinking about how to build a capsule wardrobe. It’s time to share eight of my tips to building a capsule wardrobe, which is all about simplicity and putting together a good base of mix-and-match wardrobe staples.

1. Choose items that work for you and your lifestyle. Think about what fits your day-to-day activities.

2. Simplify. Get rid of duplicates. Own five black tees? Keep your favorite and donate the rest. Give away anything that doesn’t fit or you haven’t worn in a certain length of time (i.e. six months or a year).

3. Start by working with what you have. Don’t immediately run out to buy new items. Look at what you already own that you love, fits, and works for your lifestyle needs.

4. Mix-and-match. Worried that you’ll get tired of wearing the same clothes? Change up how you pair items together to give outfits a fresh look and style.

5. Consider the colors. A capsule wardrobe is about building a wardrobe around key pieces of clothing that work well together. Neutrals are great for these essential items, but don’t be afraid to mix in pops of color and pattern with tops, skirts, and accessories.

6. Select versatile clothing. Avoid those items that can only be worn “if and only if…”

7. Change it up depending on the season. There are lots of items I wear year-round, with more or less layering depending on whether it’s summer or winter. But there are also pieces that I only wear in certain seasons. Shorts are a staple in the summer but not necessary in our Oklahoma winter (although the weather can change in an instant!).

8. Complete your wardrobe. Pick out pieces that you love, flatter you, fit into your everyday life, and coordinate well with the rest of your wardrobe. I love to find pieces that I can dress up or down.

Shop some of my favorite wardrobe essentials at amandasuzanne.stevierep.com:

10 Things About Me

Hey everyone! I want you to get to know me a little more, so I asked myself a few icebreaker questions. I hope you enjoy learning more about me, and I would love to hear your answers to some of these questions so we can get to know each other a bit.

Q. If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

A. Tacos, definitely tacos. And hopefully the tacos come with a side of guacamole, queso, and chips.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about the summer?

A. sunshine and long days of sunlight

Q. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go, and why?

A. My answer can change daily, because I pretty much want to go anywhere I’ve never been before. I like to travel and would love the opportunity to travel to far more places than I’ve been, both in the United States and around the world. The top two places currently on my wish list are Israel and Mauritius. Israel because of the history, culture, and seeing the Bible come to life even more. And I would like to do the standard “float in the Dead Sea” thing. Mauritius is on my wish list because it’s a place I’ve never been, I have friends with family roots in Mauritius, and it’s a beautiful island. I can get my beach time, sunshine, and relaxation.

Continue reading “10 Things About Me”

Decisions, Decisions

“My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.”

~ Theodore Hesburgh

 

We’ve all been there. Door after door. Choice after choice. Decisions, decisions. We have multiple opportunities before us. We have a decision to make. And this is no small decision; it’s a big decision, at least in the moment. What job to take. Where to live. Who to hire. Where to go to college. On and on it goes. We are constantly faced with decisions, many of which can affect the trajectory of our lives. It can be overwhelming at times, wondering if we are making the right choice. Decision-making doesn’t have to be stressful; it can be a peaceful process. So how do we have peace instead of stress? Continue reading “Decisions, Decisions”

My Reading List

I love to read. It’s a way I rest, relax, and recharge [read more about 3 Ways to Recharge]. I mostly read fiction books, and I’ll share more of my favorite fiction books in a future reading list, but today is a mix of books that are on my reading list. I’ve recently read some of them, one I’m currently reading, and the others are on my “to-read” list.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith – This is a fiction book and is the first book in the series of the same name. The stories are set in Botswana with Mma Ramotswe as the main character. Mma Ramotswe sets up a detective agency and sets out on an adventure of investigation. There’s humor and life written all through the series. I haven’t read all the books in the series (there are currently 17 books…eek!), but they’re all on my list to read.

And Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick – I stumbled across this book through one of the podcasts [episode #133] on The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. I so enjoyed listening to Jamie’s interview of the author, Kate Merrick, and am inspired by her joy in Christ despite the deep suffering she has experienced. I just started the book, and it’s already encouraging me to live boldly, faithfully, and joyfully…even in the face of suffering and overwhelming pain.

Continue reading “My Reading List”

3 Ways to Recharge

We live in a fast paced world. Our decisions and life often keep us busy…too busy. If we don’t take time to recharge, the result may be…

                …less than exceptional work.

                …broken friendships.

                …burn out.

                …isolation.

                …exhaustion.

We can stretch ourselves too thin if we’re not careful. So we need to find ways to recharge. It might be 10 minutes by yourself. An extra drive around the block to gain a couple more minutes of quiet time. Turning off the TV. Running. Playing the piano.

The recharging methods can vary for each of us based on our personalities, gifts, interests, and season of life. Some of us get rejuvenated by spending time with other people. Others of us crave time alone and need that time to recharge. Today I’m going to share three of my current ways of recharging, relaxing, and recuperating.

Reading a book.

I love to curl up with a good book. I usually prefer to read fiction books, especially historical fiction, because a great story helps me unwind and relax. Occasionally I will pull out a memoir or inspirational book.

If you have a book recommendation, shoot it my way!

Continue reading “3 Ways to Recharge”

My Favorite Skin Care

I have battled with acne since I was a teenager. I kept hoping I would grow out of out, but it’s still a struggle for me from time to time. Over the years I have tried various skin care brands, many of which are geared towards problem skin. Some didn’t work at all for me, while other brands worked for a time. I often thought I had finally found a brand that worked and would buy more when I ran out, only to find out that it no longer worked for my skin. So I kept searching for what worked best for me and my skin.

A few years ago, lots of people seemed to get into the “crunchy” kick. They were going all natural and had all kinds of homemade remedies, tips, and tricks. I started exploring the more natural route of skin care. I came across recommendations and rave reviews of using coconut oil, so I decided to give it a try.

Coconut oil seemed to work well for so many people, but it was an absolute disaster for my skin! It exacerbated the problem instead of resolving it. The search continued.

Continue reading “My Favorite Skin Care”

A Few of My Favorite Shops

It’s Friday! Well, actually, it is Saturday, and I am a little late with my Friday Favorites. Even though I’m a day late sharing a few of my favorites, I am so excited to share a few of my favorite local shops with you! I love to shop small and support local businesses in my community and surrounding areas. If you’re ever in the southwestern part of Oklahoma, stop in and check these places out!

[Credit: The Hayloft Boutique]

The Hayloft Boutique is a locally owned clothing store. It’s owned by two sisters, and they have some fabulous tees, clothes, and more! Check them out at 1811 NW Cache Road in Lawton, Oklahoma. For those of you who aren’t local, you can shop online at www.thehayloftok.com.

Two Scrambled Eggs

[Credit: Two Scrambled Eggs]

Two Scrambled Eggs may sound like a little cafe or a great place to eat some yummy breakfast. Sorry to disappoint you if you’re hungry, or just really love eating breakfast, but Two Scrambled Eggs is a clothing boutique in Marlow, Oklahoma. They have cute, trendy clothing at reasonable prices. You can find them at 218 W. Main Street in Marlow, Oklahoma. Follow them on Instagram: @2scrambledeggs.

Continue reading “A Few of My Favorite Shops”