Tuesday, 14 October 2014

F.E.A.R

I do some of my best thinking while doing my hair and makeup in the mornings It’s when my day is at its quietest, and it’s just me, my God, and my makeup. A weird place for quiet time, but it works for me.

There have been so many mornings that I’ve woken up feeling ugly. Bare faced and curly haired, sometimes I just feel ugly. Those are the moments I hear whispers from the Still Small voice. He speaks and tells me that I’m beautiful. It’s the most astounding thing, and it’s just what I need to pull myself together and get on with my day.

On this specific morning, I was thinking about a friend of mine that I’ve been praying for. Personally, when I’m praying for someone that’s in a situation, I do my best (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to figure out why/how this situation arose. So many times we find ourselves in situations that we label an attack or that blame the devil for, but some of the time our situation is just the aftermath of bad decisions that we've made. As much as I pray for myself as well as others, my desire is to find the root of the issue, and pluck it so that it can never grow back.

Reflecting on my friend’s situation, I heard a whisper. It said “Fear. Fear is what holds us back.”



Just like that, my mind plummeted into my memory bank – to a time where I was in a bad (some would call toxic) relationship. I had started dating this person when I was in a very vulnerable place, and looking back now, he had taken full advantage of that.

At that time, I was a part time, unemployed student. I was trying to figure out a way to save money, and make money without being employed (lazy me). His suggestion? Sell my car (My year old Toyota Yaris), and he would be able to get me a better, second hand one for a good price. Then I could save the left over cash. So foolish me, I did what he suggested.

Every time we had an argument, he would use the car situation against me. After about 3 months of not having a car, and him breaking up and making up with me, I eventually left him. Turns out I got a terrible deal, because this was a car that was in quite an accident, and he had got someone to fix it up for me. As a result, the axle was badly bent, and was costing me a fortune to replace tyres (literally) every 3 months. I remember the first time I went to replace the tyres, and the man doing the job came running up to me asking where I had bought the car, he said that I was putting my life at risk by driving it, talk about a reality check.

I could easily blame the devil for this situation, and call it an attack. Accuse him of coming against God’s perfect plan for my life by setting me back like this, but the truth was, I had gotten myself into that situation. I had chosen to listen and sell my perfectly new, working car for a hazardous one.

I asked myself some really difficult questions after that relationship. Why didn’t I just let him go after the first time he broke up with me? I let him get away with a lot of intolerable things? Why?

I was scared. Scared of being alone. Scared of not being able to find anyone again. Scared that I was going to lose my car! I was gripped by fear at that time – not only about relationships, but life in general.

I’ve often said that courage is not putting up a strong front and sweeping your situation under the carpet. Courage is facing your situation head on and overcoming it, because the second it’s in the light and you face it head on, it no longer owns you.

I remember a time when I was gripped with fear, guilt and shame, and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. The load was too heavy to carry on my own. I was desperate for God to take this thing off of me! He wasn’t doing that though, I felt as though I was sitting in a corner in a fetal position, crying and desperate and He just sat back and watched me. So I decided that if He wasn’t going to take this thing away from me, I was going to give it to Him, and that’s just what I did, and I’ve never looked back since. See, I’ve realised that God will never force Himself on you. He will always be there, but will only come in if you invite Him to, He is a perfect gentleman.

Psalm 27:1 - The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?

There’s no room for fear when your life situation is in God’s hands, He knows best, and is working that terrible situation to turn around and work in your favour.

I asked a pastor friend of mine what his definition of fear is, and he said that it’s born and cultivated in the mind. He says that fear is a fruit of and is often born out of insecurities – and I agree. So often we hear about the good seeds that can be sown and the good harvest that comes out of that, but the reality is that there are bad seeds to be sown as well.

 Today, I’d like to encourage you to leave all of your fears and insecurities with God, and know that He’s got your back. It isn’t easy, but He will lighten your load, and life will get easier once you give Him the control.





Monday, 13 October 2014

Stage Line Make Up

I've always had an issue finding the correct colour foundation for my complexion. Even when mixing 2 colours, it just always seemed too dark. 

When I was approached by Heather to try this new line, I was excited to try an new product. Stage line is a line of make up used by professionals, and is produced in, and imported from Spain. 

When I started using this foundation, I had quite a rash on my chin, I was a bit worried that the new foundation may aggravate it a bit, but it didn't. Within 3 days of using this foundation consistently. the rash was gone! 

Stage line is not just a make up, it promises to keep your skin looking good, even when the make up is off, and that it did. I am really impressed with this product, and would recommended it to any make up fundi.




This foundation is my favourite of all the Stage Line products that I have. It is a long wearing foundation, and looks completely natural on my skin, not to mention that it smells so fresh. All I need is a pea sized pump of the foundation, and it's enough to brush all over my face, and creates a beautiful glow on my skin.


I'm a sucker for a good liquid liner, and this one is great. It goes and easily, and even though it is water resistant (not water proof), it isn't a hassle to wash off - easy on, easy off. 


Concealer is another favourite of mine. My previous one was a stick that got a bit dry an hour or 2 into my day and created cracks under my eyes. This stage line concealer is liquid, and slides on, and blends easily. I love it! 


Last on the list (for today :) ) is the Stage Line foundation powder, and it's just another great product. It matches the foundation so well, and keeps the make up in place for most of the day. 


If you'd like to know more about the Stage Line/Laurendor products, or would like to contact Heather about purchasing, you can check out the website here.

A huge thank you to Heather for trusting me with her products, I honestly do love it! 

Thanks for reading! 

- Arlene 




Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Red

I've always felt like red is such a loud colour. Red lipstick, red nail polish, red dress - it screams look at me, and people look, trust me.

This dress was a gift for my birthday, and as much as I love a good peplum, I felt a little out of my comfort zone when I wore this. It's quite short, and the sheer sleeves add an extra bit of sexy, which is what makes it feel a bit foreign to me.

That being said, this dress is really comfortable, and great for a cool Spring morning.

Dress: Gift. Shoes: Mr Price.



I've been using a new make up range recently, and it's pretty amazing! I'll be sharing more about that in my next post, until then, thanks for reading! Please leave your comments below.

- Arlene 

Monday, 6 October 2014

High Tea Attire

This weekend, we hosted a high tea to raise funds for a mission trip that my mother in law will be going on in the next few weeks.

It always amazes me how wild it can get when you put a bunch of ladies together, with just a few men around. Throw in a man with a 6 pack, and you can imagine the uproar and chanting of "Take it off! Take it off!"

Here's what I wore:

Dress: Mr Price. Clutch: Gift. Earrings: Lovisa. Shoes: Charles and Keith



Thank you to my husband for these pictures. 
Thank you for reading! I always enjoy reading your comments, please leave one below :)

- Arlene 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The God of Jacob

Today, I just wanted to share a simple lesson that I learnt from a message that wasn't about the lesson that I learnt.

I recently downloaded the Elevation church app on my phone, and I love the convenience of it, how I can sit and listen to a message any time and anywhere.

This week, I've been listening to a series of messages by Pastor Steven Furtick called death to selfie. Interesting title, but that's not what I want to share with you today. In this series, we're learning a lot about Jacob, his heart, and his walk with God.

Let's be honest - Jacob was shady. He was the trick of all tricksters, but what's amazing for me is, how God used this man even though his heart was so materialistic and self consumed. It made me think a bit, about his brother Esau. I mean, Esau wasn't a bad guy. He did what he had to do, hunted, provided for his family, he seems like a pretty stand up (and hairy) guy. But when I read this scripture, I realised why God used Jacob, and not him.



Genesis 25: 17


27  The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29  Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country,famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[d])
31  Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32  “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33  But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34  Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.

Esau was foolish enough to give up his birthright for a a bowl of lentil soup. For those of us who don't know what lentils are, it's those brown round things that you find in your breyani - hardly worth giving up an inheritance for.

Esau gave into his flesh - he made a permanent decision based on a temporary feeling. Foolish, yet so many of us do this, daily! We give into that chocolate because the craving has spoken, in spite of the fast that we committed to when we woke up that very same morning. We swear and shout at loved ones in the heat of the moment because of our temporary feelings.

Thank you to Darren August for these pics.
The difference between Jacob and Esau was, that Jacob was so desperate for hope, for a touch from God, and God met him there, in his time of desperation, in his nowhere. - That's the kind of people that God uses to perform His will - the kind that, no matter how messed up, conceited or hopeless you may be, you are hungry for Him. He uses those that are willing to be used.

In Matthew 22: 32, Jesus says reminds the people of what God has said. "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob". He didn't mention Esau though, interesting.

Top: Woolworths. Pants: picked up at clothing swop. Shoes: Mr Price. Specs: Michael Kors.
Today I'd like to encourage you to avail yourself to Him today. Tell Him that you're ready, willing and able to be used to make His will come to pass, not the will of your own, failing flesh.

I'd also like to encourage you to download the Elevation church app if you do have a smart phone, there are some rich teachings there, just waiting to impact your life.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I love hearing from you, please leave a comment!

- Arlene

Friday, 5 September 2014

5 things we did while dating

This past April, Darren and I celebrated a whole year of marriage. It went by so quickly. I remember being on honeymoon, and Darren and I discussing a few of the things that we’d like to get started on once we got back home, that’s the thing about a plan that comes from God, when it’s His will, there will always be something(s) that will come against it.

To be quite honest, we had a tough first year because of the “road blocks” that we came across, and still continue to show up every so often, but we got through it, we always get through it. Looking back now, Darren and I were really blessed to have gone through this time without being at each other’s necks, if anything, this time brought us closer.

When we were planning our wedding, we felt what was the most important thing was to plan more for our marriage, and we did. We did silly 10 page quizzes, read a few books and did a premarital counselling course with some amazing people. I am the first of my circle of friends to get married, and often I feel as though they look at Darren and I and think that things are easy because I got “the last of the good ones.” As much as my husband is amazing, he’s just man like any other, and he has his bad days just like everyone else.

I am by no means an expert on marriage, but I do think that Darren and I were good at dating (if that makes any sense). I thought it would be a good idea to point out a few good habits to develop while dating – this is what worked for us:



 No hanky panky:
I had a friend that asked me how I got Darren to propose to me after 13 months, it was so funny to hear that, because I had never felt like I purposefully did anything to get him to propose, but in my heart, I knew why he didn’t wait a whole 6 years to ask me to be his wife.

When we started dating, we made the decision to not have sex before we got married – we wanted to honour God. I know that lots of people are of the opinion that the law of fornication is in the old testament, and that we’re all under the covenant of the new testament, but I do believe that even though we are redeemed from the curse of the law, that the law is basically a standard for us to measure our lives up to. Just because it says “thou shalt not murder” in the old testament, it doesn’t mean that I can go out killing people, even though I know that God will forgive me, there are always consequences to our actions. If you kill someone, you’re most likely to end up spending some good time in jail, and it’s the same with sex.

When you’re intimate with someone, there are doors that will open, and all kinds of spiritual ties will walk through, into your life and it’s just not worth it. Count the cost, and honour God, there is a huge blessing that lies behind the door labelled “God”. It’s worth waiting for, and anyone that thinks that you are worth it will wait with you. If you aren’t a virgin, make a decision and start waiting from today.

Boundaries:
We set boundaries, and did our best to never cross them. I lived alone, and wasn’t really accountable to anyone, so when Darren did visit, it would mostly be during the day, and if the visit did go on into the evening, he wouldn’t stay too late. Boundaries are a must when the deal of no hanky panky has been made.

Boundaries aren’t only for the physical though, there may be boundaries about not speaking about a past experience because it’s not a nice feeling for the other person, or the boundary of “I don’t want to speak right now because I’m angry”, or in my case “I need to speak now because I’m angry!”. The thing about those kind of boundaries though, is that you have to know yourself well enough to know what boundaries to set – but don’t be too hard on yourself, there’s a lot of things that we have to go through first to know that it’s a boundary that needs to be set.

    Be vulnerable:
I used to be the kind of girl that wouldn’t allow myself to be vulnerable because I wasn’t any bodies wife yet, but the truth is, how could he know that I could be his wife, if I didn’t allow myself to be vulnerable with him? I wasn’t about to throw on an apron and be barefooted in the kitchen, or available in the bedroom, but I had to make myself emotionally available, so that he could see my heart, and I could see his. We had to know each other’s hearts and dreams if we were sure that we were ready to sign up for forever.

One thing that I had learnt and have now experienced in our marriage is that I am not only under my own vision, but also the vision that God has given Darren. I know that if I had married a man that wasn’t running with a vision that was given to him by God, I would have over taken him and played that role myself, firstly because I can be slightly (ok very) over powering, but also because I believe that that’s how women are wired – if you won’t do it for me, I can do it for myself, without your help. But that’s not of God, and we need to be careful not to overpower our men. When you’re choosing the man that you’d like to spend your life with, ask yourself: is he led by the Spirit of God, is he submitted to God? And are you willing to marry him the way that he is as you know him right now? If you aren’t, you may be wasting your time, as well as his.

   Stay accountable:
I firmly believe that we all need to stay accountable to someone. For me, it wasn’t easy because my parents weren’t around when Darren and I were dating, and I never had anyone to tell me right from wrong. We are fortunate that his parents were around and his mom would always check up on him when it got a little too late and he still wasn’t home – that SMS or phone call was enough to sober us both up and get him out the house by 8 o clock, it made it just a little easier for us to not over step any boundaries.

I have a friend that once told me, that a week before her wedding, she started taking her belongings to the place that her and her husband would be sharing once they were married, but her dad was sort of outraged that this was happening, and told her that she would only move her stuff once they were married. As drastic as that may sound, many times these kinds of actions are needed to protect you from temptation. Also, this father was sending a message to the future husband – this woman is precious, and would not be treated like cheap plastic when she is in fact precious gold. To this day her husband treats her as though she were more precious than gold.

     Stay sober:
I get it, we all need that one on one time to get to know each other a little better, and that’s ok. However I do believe that going out with a group of friends is a great way to get to know each other as well, and a great way of checking out the person’s character.

Going out with friends could be a fun way of staying within your boundaries and getting to know your person and how they interact with others. Often times its easier to keep a mask on when there aren’t many people around, but if you have a good friend that’s connected to the Spirit, they may be able to see what you are not able to see in this person, if you are dating with the intent to get married, you aren’t looking to spend your time with someone who’s playing games. It’s easy to get drunk in love, but stay sober and alert.


These are the things that I had learnt while my husband and I were dating, and they worked well for us, we were by no means perfect, but we did our best to stick to the commitments that we made. I hope that this helps you too. 

I'd love to hear from you, did you enjoy this post? Leave a comment below :) 

- Arlene 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The modest blogs

I've been looking for a good, Christian fashion blog for a while now, and let me tell you, they're scarce. I've come across a few that say that they're Christian, but don't mention much about God or anything like that.

The ones that I have found are categorized as "Modest Blogs". I stopped and thought for a minute, what does modest mean really? Having a look at the modest blogs on the net, modest includes short wedges, wooden clogs, make up less faces and loose fitting pants.


I believe that a woman could be modest and modern at the same time. You don't need to cover every inch of your body to dress modestly, but there is a line that needs to be drawn, there should always be much left to the imagination.

I believe in understated sexy, and individualism. I know that God created me, and no one knows me quite as well as He does. He knows my love for clothes and shoes, and He knows how I feel when I think that I look good.

Jacket: Identity. Neck piece: Lovisa. Peplum and skirt: Mr Price. Bag: Gift. Shoes: Melissa.

He knows that I'm more obsessed with Him than I'd ever be over a pair of shoes or cupboard full of great pieces or even a perfect selfie. That being said, He made me the way that I am, He gave me a creative mind that thinks of some of the outfits you find up here (others I may steal from Pintrest or another blogger :) ), and I am unashamed of the desires that I have to dress up and feel good, and you shouldn't either - He knows your heart, He did make it, after all.





A huge thank you to Nastassja for these beautiful pictures.
I'll leave you with this - dress for yourself. Don't dress for anyone else's approval or attention, and before you step out of the house, take a moment to think about how you're representing your Daddy by walking out looking the way you do, you know, your Daddy up There. Whether it's walking out in those slippers and rollers, or that skirt that might just show a little too much when you walk, take a moment to think about how you're representing Him.

Thank you for reading, I love hearing from you! I hope you've enjoyed this post.

- Arlene