Thinking Good Thoughts

Thinking Good Thoughts

Whew.

Hi, Friends!
It’s been a doozy of a weekend. Make that month. It’s been a doozy of a month in the Kolby household. Lots of sickness, less sleep, and a random extra sleeping partner, or two in our bed. It feels like we’re in the home stretch but apparently it’s supposed to get worse before better. All three are now on antibiotics, fighting off ear infections and Miss Charis has RSV.

Let’s pause for my pity party. {pause} Okay, now onward to health, breakthrough, and progress. I realized today during a quiet reprieve that I was feeling discouraged in just about every facet of my life. I wasn’t actively thinking of any specifics, but an overall negative feeling was permeating my mind. I felt like a lousy wife, mom, and housekeeper. Feelings of laziness crept in and defeating streams of consciousness began. Pretty much a downward spiral of negativity.

Spiral of Negativity

It took a little too long for me to recognize the pattern of lies, but once I did I was mad. Our day to day has been struggle enough without adding in all these lies about my character and worth. So, I quickly began thanking God for His many and obvious blessings. Shelter. Food. Clothing. A new media center that I love. Jeb being home and available. Then I began thinking more specifically about the ways I am excelling in each of the areas of attack. For instance, I had just purged my closet and have been doing a really good job of keeping clutter off our counters. (Small steps for us domestically-challenged!) Those are both practical steps forward. For cooking, I have been whipping up several varieties of from-scratch soups each week: vegetable, chicken, beef, and lentil soups. That’s progress. That’s feeding my family.

Moving Forward Joyfully

It was like a switch. My positive, “good” thoughts immediately improved my mood. I was free from the encumbrance of lies and was able to regain energy and the momentum to move forward joyfully. Good thoughts make for good emotions and even better behavior. This entire mind scenario lasted a minute at most. Probably closer to 30 seconds. We are constantly talking to ourselves (in our minds) and are always making quick connections and judgements, just make sure those thoughts are working for you and not against you.

 

Friday FAVES: Bracelets

For this round of ShelbieShue Friday Faves, I give you a roundup of bracelets. Most of these brands and organizations have a charitable arm (pun totally intended!) and give back to great causes. I enjoy highlighting brands who are making a difference and creating beauty all the while. I encourage you to click over and research these companies if you haven’t yet!

ShelbieShue Favorite bracelets that give back and employ or educate women.1. PARKER CLAYUpcycled Wrap Bracelet $48
I love this wrapped bracelet and the benefits of purchasing it! It comes in several hues and there are other accessories to match. Here’s more from their website: Parker Clay has partnered with Wonderfully Made to create this unique premium leather wrap bracelet made of genuine Ethiopian leather and up cycled artillery. What was intended for harm has been transformed into something of beauty. The metal ring and bead are made of bullets found in the Ethiopian countryside which are from former conflicts. This premium leather wrap bracelet is designed to adorn your wrist while adorning women with value in Ethiopia. Each bracelet sold covers the cost of providing prostitution prevention training to one woman. Prices begin at $18.

2. NOONDAY COLLECTIONMetric Cuff $20
I would stack this cuff with several others! The cut-out geo designs make this versatile cuff feel effortlessly modern. Noonday is a socially responsible business that uses fashion to create meaningful opportunities around the world. For this particular cuff, they partner with an artisan business in India that creates dignified jobs in a vulnerable community, empowering both men and women to provide for their families. Artisans create jewelry by hand, earning fair wages and enjoying a safe work environment. Prices begin at $12. 

3. & 4. THE SHINE PROJECTFeather Bracelet $14
I love the mission of this organization and the products! I have given several of these bracelets as gifts. You can personalize a few and they are perfect for stacking! Here’s more from their website: Wear Change. Ignite Hope. The Shine Project headquarters in downtown Phoenix and it’s a place where students come after school to hand make jewelry. They are involved in running everything from customer service, shipping, jewelry design, t-shirt design, new product design, sales, and events. The students who are given scholarships through the non- profit are then given jobs, so they can be mentored and guided every step of the way. Over 40 scholarships have been given since 2011, and 100% of donations given to the non-profit go directly to the students. Threads by The Shine Project currently employees 11 inner city students.

5. FOSSILOpen Flex Cuff $48
Fossil is one of my go-to stores for accessories and gifts. Beautiful products and great packaging. I have this bracelet in rose gold and pair it with a few of their other bangles. More from their website: Make a big statement with our most minimalist cuff. Polished steel is gorgeously curved to create a simple bracelet that works with any ensemble.

What’s missing from this list? Do you have a favorite Etsy shop owner who personalizes the best bangle? Please share your favorites in the comments. Or, are you itching to spend a leftover giftcard from Christmas? A little bauble that gives back may be the perfect thing! 😉

All the photos in this roundup are from each company or organization. Also, I do not receive any monetary compensation for sharing these products. I independently researched and found them beautiful and wanted to pass along the memo!

Quiet Love

Quiet Love

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What a picture. Quiet love. Safe. Secure. Established. Unmoving and withstanding. This may be my personality or culture, but I love an event and a spectacle. I love loud laughs, unencumbered gestures of affection, and even brash conversation. It feels real and passionate (cue every Rom-Com film reel). But this hyphenated Scripture points out the steadiness of a solid, comforting, and all-encompassing type of love. One that restores and lasts. I could use more of that!

Another picture comes to mind of God’s dealings with Elijah. Read 1Kings 19 for the full context. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

A gentle whisper. When my kiddos are out of line and acting out I tend to pull them close, up on my lap, and I will whisper. Softly, rhythmically, and quietly until they calm down enough to hear. It’s easy to visualize a parent tending to her babies, but we are also called children of God. He desires to meet with us, to envelop us in His love, and to calm our fears. “For nothing is impossible with God.” Won’t you allow Him to quiet you, to still your insides, and free you from worry, any traces of anxiety, and all those jumbled busy feelings. He is able. He is willing. And His grace and love are boundless.

 

Day Designer

Day Designer

It’s only fitting that the first installment of ShelbieShue FRIDAY FAVES should be a calendar and planner. As a strong systems and structure person, I can’t say enough about the Day Designer or its founder, Whitney English. I’ve been following Whitney’s brand for years and have had every new product she releases. It’s that good. She knows her paper, has a simplistic and chic design aesthetic, and the functionality is unmatched. Her extensive knowledge in goal-planning and vision casting through to implementation is fantastic. I’m sure you can tell that I’m a huge fan of all things Day Designer. Last fall she partnered with BlueSky to have a more reasonable and accessible collection at Target. I’ve had those too! Her latest endeavor is a new format, the A5 planner and binder system with loose-leaf inserts. I was purposefully online for its debut and can’t wait to have them in hand.

frifaves_daydesigner3If you’re a planner nerd like me, weigh in on what works best for you. Are you an all tech planner person, with all your devices synched or do you need pen and paper to get all your thoughts and plans out? I’m a bit of both, but always gravitate to PAPER when I’m feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Sometimes you just need to write things out for it to make sense!

Day Designer website // Photo from the Day Designer website

Toddler Shenanigans

Toddler Shenanigans

EVERYDAY JOYS

I truly believe my one year old pulling every clean towel within reach out of the linen closet is a joy. It’s not something I’d encourage her to do, but I look upon this scene with a smile. Full disclosure – there wasn’t even a sigh or a head-shake involved. PROGRESS, Friends. I’m learning, maturing, and getting better at this “go with flow” that is parenting thing. The surprising fact is that it literally took her 30 seconds to accomplish these shenanigans. Since I’m feeling really honest here, I’m going to let you in on another little tidbit. My floors are clean. This bathroom floor my daughter is all over, is actually clean. That isn’t a given, folks. But, on this day they were “clean.” I use the quotes, because my form of “clean” differs from most!

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My word for 2016 is RELEASE. Release control (exhibit A, up top), release anger, release the illusion of perfection. And also, be released into more: more fullness, more of God’s presence and joy. There’s still so much to think about in terms of release, and I’m sure it will be a year-long process, but I’m excited to see where it leads. Have you done this before? Jeb and I started praying and thinking about a yearly theme a few years back and I’ve only realized this past fall that it is a whole “thing!” If it’s a new concept, you are basically prayerfully considering a direction of focus for your upcoming year. We use it as a filter, of sorts, for opportunities and commitments. What’s your word for 2016? Or, your top goal/resolution? Share in the comments so we can rally together, move forward, and celebrate the victories!

 

Heart Songs

What makes your heart sing? Woman encouragement, motherhood

Happy Monday! It’s the first full week of 2016 and I was thinking we should focus a bit on what makes us click. You know, the things that light a fire in your belly and make you feel alive. So, Friends – what makes your heart sing? I’d so love to know. Is it baking or knitting or teaching? Do you garner life and energy from your weekly volunteer session at the library or by refreshing others? It may be a whole slew of things or it could be a precious few that invigorate you to your core.

Do you know these things? Have you verbalized them before? Are you actively doing them? For me, I gain so much energy and joy from meeting with and talking to other women. I need people. If my days and weeks aren’t filled with deep connections and a meaningful conversation I find myself dragging. My mood suffers and my outlook turns bleaker. Conversely, when I’m baking solo or steal away to design, write, and create I’m all fueled up for what’s next.

Being able to name the things that I’m both gifted in and glean joy from were critical in figuring out how to invest my time and energy in this next season. It’s not enough to just do things because I can do them. Our time is so precious and if I’m going to give time away from my home the opportunity needs to meet certain criteria.

Will you join the conversation and share what makes your heart sing? The beauty is all the differences and gifts. We all need each other, don’t you agree? Let’s celebrate one another in unity by loving our individuality.

Happy New Year!

January, Happy new year.

Happy New Year, Friends! I hope you are excited for the fresh start and new beginnings and a continuation of all the good routines and habits from last year. Isn’t this such a great quote from Woodrow Wilson? Who doesn’t want to live more amply, with greater vision, a fine spirit of hope?? “You are here to enrich the world…” There’s some good stuff in these lines. And, it’s just the encouragement I need to jumpstart the new year with a focus on others.

As I’m typing, there are all sorts of fireworks going off and I’m praying that our babies sleep through it all! More to come on my yearly theme, goals, and resolutions. But, how did you spend your New Year’s Eve? My sister is bringing in the New Year with a bang and a check off her bucket list — watching the ball drop in NYC!! I’m so thrilled for her and have been living vicariously through her Instagram feed! Share your yearly traditions, or newly established habits in the comments, I’d love to hear!

 

Painting Nature

Painting Nature

Since the temperatures have been hovering in the low 80s for most of the week despite it being mid-December, Fall has officially arrived to Houston! As we welcome this new season and the changing and falling leaves, we had a little fun in the backyard. I sent the boys on a scavenger hunt for leaves as I gathered a few {simple} paint supplies. I’m sure you can tell by now, that I’m not afraid of a little mess, albeit mud, dirt, paint, or other typical fun, messy kid-stuff! So, I didn’t prep our space or put down any protective mats, but you totally could. Use a cut up trash bag for a tarp or better yet, a disposable plastic table cloth would be great!

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I like saying yes to our kids as often as possible, especially when it comes to outdoors fun or imaginative play. There are plenty of times and reasons to say no, but I was feeling especially generous this particular day and we went for it. Paint all the things! As a final step, we did leaf impressions in a “field journal.” Everything is so much more fun when it has an interesting name! This step was mainly to get all the goopy excess paint off the leaves and my porch so it would have a chance of drying!

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Need a fun and inexpensive craft for the upcoming holiday break? Paint something. Anything. Paper, canvas, leaves, bark, rocks, sticks… Who knew it could be so much fun to paint nature? Plus, I’m sure you already have all the supplies you’ll need. One last thought, aren’t Owen’s chubby hands the cutest thing ever? He’s about to turn into a little boy right before our eyes, so I’m treasuring the last of his chubby cheeks and dimpled hands!

7MORE

7MORE

sevenmore1Our sweet friends, Josh and Debs Walker have a heart to serve Houston. They love people so well and have a deep seeded desire to see transformation and wholeness in the lives of all they know and love. 7MORE is one of their ministries and outlets for serving our city, and more importantly, the people of our city. Each week they, along with others, greet ex-offenders coming off the bus from prison into reality. It is strikingly apparent those who are ex-offenders, because they are usually wearing ill-fitting clothes and carrying around a red mesh sack with their belongings.

When you purchase a 7More t-shirt, you are providing clothes and a new bag for one person. But, what’s more is you are providing dignity and a new start as they embark on life outside the prison walls.

Give dignity and hope for a new start

From the 7MORE website: There is an old story that tells of Jesus being asked how many times we should forgive – the law at the time was that you forgive no more than seven times – Jesus shocked everyone by saying forgiveness shouldn’t be counted – forgive seven more times – forgive seventy times seven times. 7MORE is about giving another chance.

If you’d like to purchase a shirt, please click here or visit the 7MORE website.

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Adoption as Sons

“So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” Galatians 4:7

Our thinking dictates our mood. Our self-talk dictates our emotions and our behavior. Think about it – if you find yourself smiling for no apparent reason, chances are a funny thought or fond memory flashed through your mind. Your thought caused action. Likewise, self-deprecating thoughts and doubts, and flashes of past failures, can put us in a tailspin of defeat and apathy.

I can remember having a heated conversation in a church parking lot over the profound truth of our identity in Christ. It sounds deep and significant. I was 17 and definitely didn’t have all the theology or right words or an outline, but I did have a SPARK and the TRUTH of God within me. Now you know I am a confrontational person, but I didn’t start this “fight” or even look for it. In fact, it blindsided me. I was still in high school and this person was the father of a peer.

So much of that conversation is a blur, but I can distinctly remember the flash of heat on my cheeks and the fire in my belly and the disbelief that this man could have such a vastly different opinion of who we are as believers. Lots of shifty ground in a span of seconds. At one point, I heard my raised voice and I was saying, “After salvation, in light of Jesus, I AM A SAINT. I AM HOLY. God sees me through the person of Jesus and I am not a sinner riddled in shame anymore.”

We ended the exchange favorably, but it was the first time I realized that being in church, and loving Jesus doesn’t equate similar beliefs and core teachings. Eye opening to say the least. But this one thing, that our sins are washed white as snow is the heart of my faith. (See Isaiah 1:18 and beloved hymn Jesus Paid it All).

Royalty. Heirs. Favored ones. As a believer of Jesus you are adopted into the family. You are co-heirs with Christ and share in His authority. What a privilege! Do you see yourself this way? As holy, blameless, and free from shame? Clothed in royal robes and fully equipped to accomplish every good work?

As odd as it may sound, this has never been a difficult concept for me to grasp. Because I believe in Jesus and trust His work on the cross – His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead three days later – He was the fulfillment. The ultimate sacrifice and my sins both past and future have all been removed. His grace covers my sin and I have been washed by the powerful and redemptive blood of Jesus. In God the Father’s eyes I am clean. Spotless.

These points are critical. It defines everything else about me. How I view myself in light of Jesus impacts every other thought. I have been set free and am a child of God. Yes, I still struggle. Yes, I still sin. But I am not a sinner. I am not a struggling, desperate, forgotten, or misplaced child. I don’t need to whine, act out, flail my arms, or perform religious duties to earn the ear of God or the grace of God. God is a loving Father. He delights in me. I have been fearfully and wonderfully made.

We are all one in Jesus, belonging to Him through faith. Pure. Holy. A royal priesthood. Chosen. Set apart. If I truly believe these truths it will flow into every part of my thinking, my speaking, and my acting.

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Another version says He will rejoice over you with “shouts of joy!” I love the imagery of this. God is near. He is present. He is always moving, working, speaking. He is on the throne. Jesus is at His right hand and is interceding on our behalf. Holy Spirit lives within us, empowering, and comforting, and teaching, and convicting us. We have all we need for life and godliness.

Loves, this is a game-changer. How do you view Father God? Is it hard to think of yourself in this way? It’s time we begin to think and speak out our identity as royalty because you are a child of the King of Kings.

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I make much of simple, everyday joys. Finding the incredible in the ordinary. Viewing life and motherhood through the lens of joy, seeing profound beauty, and gaining peace throughout the mundane. ShelbieShue is an affectionate childhood nickname and I still answer to the call.

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