may your lips be healed (lipsense review + giveaway)

My friend Alissa is one of the sweetest people. I got to know her when we were in a church community group together for years and years. I watched her get married to the love of her life, and when I had (another!) baby she brought me my very first batch of Taco Soup and even gave me the recipe (we are forever and ever indebted). And then I'll never forget the time when she threw us a ladies' spa night at her house- how she bent down and washed my swollen, very pregnant feet. This girl has a servant's heart and loves people through and through. I just adore her. :)

So when she asked me about trying out LipSense lip color last month I knew it had to be the real deal, because not only is she sweet, she is a practical girl too. :) I knew from the start if she loved it enough to sell it, she really believed in it 100%.

I'd never heard of it before she told me, but LipSense is a two-step lip color that stays on all day long. Here's the starter kit, plus a moisturizing balm and soap Alissa gave me to review:

top to bottom: moisturizing balm, Cappucino color, clear gloss, Oops remover, soap
Since I mostly wear lip glosses and neutral/nude colors, she helped me choose a natural color called "Cappuccino" and it was exactly what I wanted!

real life: every time I try to take a picture with those boys they duck. Preteens. :D
She told me ahead of time that it might tingle a little and have more trouble staying all day if my lips were dry (it has cosmetic alcohol so that it stays bacteria-free). For some reason my lips have been cracking and peeling (and bleeding!) for years and years (!)- until I used the moisturizing balm she gave me and it changed everything. It look a couple of weeks of using it consistently, but it completely healed my lips!! I seriously had no idea what it felt like to have smooth lips without constant peeling (and bleeding)! I honestly cannot remember the last time that happened. It felt miraculous.


Once I used the moisturizing lip balm and my lips healed, the color stayed put magically and worked for hours (you reapply gloss as needed)!! It was super easy to use- shake---->3 short swipes of color ----> 1 swipe of gloss ----> done. I never even had to use the Oops remover she sent because I had such a light color. :) The moisturizing balm is sold separately, but if your lips need lots of help like mine, I'll say it is more than worthwhile to know what it's like to kiss your husband with soft lips again. :D 

I'll let Alissa tell you more about the in's and out's of it LipSense and how you can get your own! :D

WHAT IS IT?
-LipSense is a long wearing lip color that molecularly bonds to the lips.  It's worn with a permeable Shea Butter gloss that transfers through the color to hydrate the lips.  You get the benefits of a hydrating lip balm combined with all the benefits of a beautiful color. LipSense provides a mechanical shield from the sun, so you get the benefits of a sunscreen without all of the chemicals.  It's also lead free, and the color is wax free.  It's also gluten free and kosher!

-The color should last anywhere from 4-18 hours.

-LipSense is available in over 70 shades and 10 different glosses.  It's applied in 3 layers and topped with a gloss.  The layers can consist of one color, or a combination of any 3 shades for a completely custom look.  It's important to wear LipSense gloss with the color because other glosses will break down the color and they don't offer the same moisturizing benefits. 

-The starter kit costs $55 and consists of a Color, a Glossy Gloss, and an Ooops! Remover. Additional colors are $25, and additional glosses are $20. The tube of color should be equilivant to 4 tubes of regular lipstick, and it will last the average person around 5 months. The amazing lip balm that you love is $20, and mine has lasted me about 6 months so far. I still have a little bit left.

100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE…WHAT’S THE CATCH?
There’s always a catch, right?  Until now.  All of these products carry a 100% hassle free, money back guarantee.  I want for you to love these products as much as I do, so I am quick to recommend returns or exchanges if you have any issue or just don’t love the color.  I encourage people to return anything that they don’t love and rave about to others.  There is no paperwork for you to fill out or 1-800 numbers for you to call.  I do all of that.  You simply return the product to me and we will work out an exchange or refund.  It’s as easy as can be.

WHERE DO I GO TO PURCHASE THIS LIFE CHANGING LIP STUFF?
You can order directly from me (I try to keep most colors in stock), or you can order through the company.   If you joined my Facebook group Lasting Lips by Alissa, then you can simply send me a private message from there.  You can also text or call me at (903) 312-5896.

If you order through the company, the website is Senegence.com, and you can enter my Distributor ID #188232.  This will allow me to be the person you deal with if you have any issues and need to exchange or return the product.  You will pay around $7.50 to ship it from the main website versus $3.00 shipping when you order directly from me.  If you order through the main website, please reach out to me and let me know so that I can provide you with proper application techniques. 

HOW DO I PICK A COLOR?
Gracious, there are a ton of choices!  Before I found LipSense I was wearing a $28 lip stain that came in three colors.  Two of them looked awful on me, so that made it very easy to decide which direction to go.  LipSense comes in over 70 colors, and all of them can be layered for a custom look.  It can be overwhelming to decide.  My Facebook group has pictures of each of the colors, and I’ve spent hours creating and organizing albums of different people wearing each of the colors.  I think it helps to see the same color on different people with different features and skin tones.  You can look there as a starting point, or you can send me a picture of your favorite color on you.  You can also send me the name of your favorite lipstick and I can look it up online.   I’ll help in any way that I can to make sure you get a color you love.  If you live in the East Texas area then we might be able to meet up so that you can see these great colors!  I love to introduce this product to people.   

ARE YOU GOING TO PRESSURE ME TO SIGN UP FOR ANYTHING?
Ugh.  Awkward.  Haven’t we all been there?  You want a great product and are perfectly willing to pay $55 for this life changing, magical lip color that you may be thinking probably won’t work for you but you can return it anyway if that’s the case.  Suddenly you find out that you can actually get this for $2.50 if you will just sign up today!  Enter enrollment fees and monthly minimums to meet.  All you wanted was something to help your poor lips to heal and look pretty!

That’s a long way of saying that no, I will not pressure you to sign up to sell LipSense. 

Here’s my stance on all of that:
SeneGence, the company that makes LipSense, is a multi level marketing company.  I personally struggle with how to handle this.  I think most of us have had friends who have invited us, either gracefully or forcefully, to “Join their team” and “Sign up under them.”  It can create such an awkward situation if you aren’t interested, and it can create distance depending on how they handle your lack of interest.  I NEVER want for my work with SeneGence to get in the way of my friendships, and I think because of that I tend to err on the side of caution and not talk about the business potential with this company.

One of the things I love most about SeneGence is that they have amazing products that work so well!  I paid retail prices for my starter kit and for my first four colors.  They were worth the cost. I’ve found that many multi level marketing companies make the prices so high that you have to “Join their team” in order to not feel ripped off, and then you are stuck meeting a monthly minimum when all you really wanted was a few items for a decent price.  I will tell you honestly that the SeneGence products are worth the retail price, and you never have to sign up for anything in order to get a great product for a great value.

That being said, if you LOVE these products and would like to be a distributor or get discounts of 20-50% for your personal items, then there are some great things happening at this company. The start up cost is minimal and the earning potential is uncapped.  If you find yourself telling your friends about this great new lip color you found, then you are already promoting it! Please let me know if any of this piques your interest and I will send some information.  No pressure.

Thank you so much for your interest, and if I can help you out in any way then please reach out to me.  I look forward to helping you have gorgeous lip color all day!

Sincerely,
Alissa Deason

Giveaway

Alissa has generously offered to give one of you guys a starter kit (one gloss, color, and remover) of your choice! :DDD I'm so thrilled for you- it's a $55 value and one kit should last you a long time!

To enter the giveaway, hop over to her public page Lasting Lips by Alissa to see what color you would pick (and if you want, join her page to get to know her sweet self and find out more!), then come back and leave me a comment with your favorite color below to enter to win! 

The comments will close Friday night, July 1, 2016 and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced Monday, July 4th! :D

Good luck, and may your lips be healed! :)

goals + planning crazy weeks

So last week was a bit challenging. :) We had sick kids (off and on) for 9 days, and thankfully it only hit the littles and not the bigs. Even with teaching my classes and getting out somewhat regularly, I was still feeling a little stir crazy after holding a fussy baby all day, all week long. :)

We managed to get a little done though- and by "we" I mean Rob worked on projects around the house while I sat and directed him from the sofa. :) One of our big projects included a few of these (!) (so exciting!!):


And believe it or not, (barring sickness!) it seems that the coming week might be even more crazy than the last. Luckily, our life isn't busy like this most of the time or I would probably be exhausted. :D I am attending a 3-day parent workshop for homeschooling, Friday is Ava's birthday, Rob has a big project to get done, and we're having family in for the July 4th weekend. I'm going to try not to go crazy with my expectations of what should be done, but I know with the Lord's help, what needs to be done will be possible. And of course it may or may not include what I have planned. :D

Here's my list so far:

// do //
finish projects we started last week: curtains, foyer, hardware
take children to the library
meal plan for the week, birthday, and entire guest weekend
grocery shop at Sam's
scrub guest bathrooms
mop downstairs + upstairs floors
catch up on all bedding laundry left from last week
prepare den + room for guests
reschedule guitar lessons (maybe?)
attend homeschool training conference: 3 full days
make a curriculum list (for what we need to buy at the training)
exercise + teach fitness classes (goal: 8k steps per day should be easy with this list)
clean the entire house by Friday (with kid help)
bake chocolate cake Thursday night
gather presents + prepare for birthday surprise
post a fun giveaway tomorrow :D

// read //
daily Bible reading
(going light on other reading for reasons listed above!)

// learn //
1 Peter 1:1-2 as a family

// be // 
happy- I tend to get grumpy when I have big deadlines and less sleep, but this week I would like to concentrate on being really happy as we get stuff done. :) This is the easy life, and I just need to remember that I am SO blessed to have the privilege to do all of these things this week!

And who couldn't be joyful with a beautiful Texas Monday morning like this, right? :)



What is your week looking like so far? :D

practical over perfect: magic soap

One of the areas where I'm trying to choose to be practical over perfect is home decor. I have a deep love for decorating that goes back to being a little girl with the JCPenney catalog, but if there's one thing I've noticed over the last 15 years of having my own home it's that no decor or style lasts forever.

That thing- the thing I just loved (2002: fruit patterns, sage green, and Waverly bedspreads, 2003: beige walls and ivy-topped cabinets, 2006: coffee-themed wallpaper border and reds, 2009: black cabinets and damask print, 2012: turquoise-painted everything and chevron, 2014: modern farmhouse and industrial furniture, 2016: mid-century golds and kilim rugs etc., etc., etc.) will soon be out of date and in the garage sale for a small percentage of what I paid for it. 

I don't want to live under that subtle pressure of having the newest or the prettiest thing that keeps me known for being with it. But of course I used to enjoy that feeling, so it's a battle with my flesh and my spirit to just give it up and stop caring altogether even though I don't really want it anymore. Confusing, much? I know.  I want my eyes to be above on Christ alone, even if I have to figure out decorating things like what to do with this mudroom, which counters to choose, and what to put on that empty wall. So here I am, in real life, kind of stuck in the middle of this and trying to navigate the heavenly-minded vs. earthly-minded waters.  But I'm so imperfect; so not the best at this. It feels hard to talk about it at all if I don't have it all figured out, but I'm telling you anyway.

Here is one of my latest practical over perfect revelations- our mudroom sink:


This was intended to someday be a pretty cold water fountain, but for now it's an IKEA sink that functions as both sink and warm fountain. :) It's great, and it's working for now, but the main struggle we have in every washing area is SOAP. We never have enough soap, it's all over everywhere, and the containers end up turned over and completely empty for guests. I really can't seem to buy enough to keep up with our constant soap needs. :D

But then I spotted this at Sam's Club the other day and thought...


Wait, that's a lot of soap in that refill... I could get a refillable dispenser for.. $6...NO. That's commercial- it's too embarrassing!!! NO.... but... it would work so well, no more messes all over the counter... maybe... it would be practical over perfect and I don't have to care what other people think, I have 6 kids and never have soap! Yes....I'm doing it! 

I bit the bullet, mounted those babies with their adhesive tape, and haven't looked back. :D We love these things!! Hideous and all, they work and the soap is cheap and there's a ton of it. 2600 applications per container to be exact. :)


So now you've seen something I consider kind of ugly but necessary and extremely useful in my house. I figure if I get over the "embarrassing" hump by posting things like this, this whole practical over perfect thing will get easier and easier. :D 

(And hey, I have plenty more of these to work on! :P)

What's something you consider to be practical over perfect at your house? Post it on IG or Facebook and tag me (@bhomemaking or FB @Biblical Homemaking) with #practicaloverperfect if you have one to share, I would LOVE to see it!! :D 

goodbye to-do lists (for now)

Our Father's Day weekend started out strong (and in manly fashion!) with this giant stuffed garlic chicken veggie pizza:


Our traditional family movie night:


And this secret message Rob had to decode to find out what the kids wanted to give him:


And then on Sunday we had so much fun surprising him with a fun Father's Day video we made...


But then to-do lists and all kinds of things get thrown out the window when you have sick little baby at home on Monday.


Zaner had the same tummy problem over the weekend, but it was random and spread out and confusing. This little lady got it full strength for the first time. Poor sweet thing doesn't know what to do with these terrible new feelings. :( 


Toddlers and crawlers require more effort than usual when they're not sick, but this summer these little people are really keeping us on our toes. :)


Soon enough though they will be medium-sized people like these:


And I'll be wondering where the time went and how I ever got anything done at all with this many little people to care for. :)

favorite eats: old loves + trying new things

I'm not sure if you heard about the great Blue Bell debacle we had here in the South last summer, but I'll sum it up for you: we, like the rest of Texas, couldn't buy ice cream for 8+ months. Devastating, I know.

You'll have to taste it to believe it, but there is just no store-bought ice cream worth eating other than Blue Bell. You can't ever go wrong when you pair Homemade Vanilla with warm berry crisp (from this cookbook):


One item on our summer bucket list was to make coke floats with it:


All that sugar may be offensive in one post, so here, quickly avert your eyes to something slightly healthier-- spaghetti squash with homemade meat sauce:


And this is my new favorite combo- roasted cauliflower with buffalo sauce:


I'm so about the spicy foods right now. Again, the non-pregnant, less-nursing hormones right now make me feel like myself when it comes to food. :D I'm digging all kinds of tangy hot flavors, so when I saw these babies at the store I couldn't resist trying them for $2:


They were so yum I ate them for breakfast. I'm not even joking. :D (They are long gone now but my mouth is watering thinking about it!)

And oh, what is it about salty food? When Rob and I went to IKEA last week we stopped and ate at little Greek place that had great reviews. (We're learning to fully trust Trip Advisor and Zomato- they are always right!!)

We tried spanakopita for the first time, and all I can say is WOW:


And for the first time ever I had a chicken gyro plate with tzatziki dip and salad:


I'm not sure what that meat had in it but eating it all together was delicious. I would do that all over again. I feel inspired by all the Greek recipes I just found, so it may be sooner than later! ;)

Gyros? Yes or no? 
I was a maybe before last weekend, now I'm all 100% yes. 

Sriracha? Yes or no?
I surprisingly don't like the sauce itself much, but with lime and a pretzel cracker it was so good. :D

Blue Bell? Yes or no?
Just joking... that wasn't actually a question. ;)
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my new favorite homemaking hack: the bulldozer

You may remember my great love for homemaking shortcuts.... :D Well, ever since we moved to the new house I've been trying to get a handle on keeping the floors clean. We've come to see that a bigger kitchen means more to maintain, and now we find ourselves spending 30-45 minutes cleaning up after each meal with a great deal of this time spent sweeping the floor.



But with our concrete floors, the wheels scratch and leave scuffs everywhere. It was back to sweeping again, so this time last year we bought a broom for everyone:


If only that made cleaning faster! ;) It did speed it up of course, but now each kid gets to stand around holding their own broom instead of arguing about who's supposed to sweep. :P

One day I had an idea-since our floors are smooth concrete:


Why not use a push broom??


I found this soft surface one at Lowe's- the bristles are dense enough to pick up small debris and super soft so it won't scratch:


It's called the "bulldozer" for a good reason- it works really fast and covers twice as much as a regular broom! The only downside is that we don't have a full-sized bulldozer dustpan yet (I think they might make them?). :D


Even without the matching dustpan, I'm really happy with this ginormous broom! It's one of those things that just works and makes you so happy. :D

Oh, the homemaking hacks you'll try when you have six small people living with you. :D 

How do you keep the floors clean with lots of littles?

What's a crazy homemaking hack that's been working for you?

it's finally back + menus & goals this week

So we found the toaster deal at Costco, my favorite warehouse store ever. :D

We bought the executive membership a couple of years ago, and it didn't benefit us enough so they refunded us the loss toward a new year. I was ridiculously happy to get to grocery shop there for $6.47! Oh, I missed this so:


We live a good two hours away from the nearest store, so Rob told me to stock up on everything that we can't buy at Sam's Club. I had no problems with that. :D

Here's our cart after we finished (this is what $450 looks like in mostly lettuce, veggies, and carbs):


We stocked up on spinach, apple chips, figs, Larabars, unsweetened applesauce, old-fashioned oats, fat-free refried beans, and salmon.


And I earned a pretty good step count after running, IKEA and Costco in the same day (though we only went to part of IKEA to pick up a specific item so less than usual there):


I'm amazed at how long it takes to get to 15k steps in a day! I realized when I started keeping track of my movement that I don't move nearly as much or as far as I think I do. :)

I accomplished most of my goals last week, but a couple fell by the wayside so I'm repeating those again. Here are my menus and do, read, learn, and be goals for this week:

menus:
monday: dinner date (this was fun)
tuesday:  grilled chicken salad or dinner out depending on Rob's schedule :P
wednesday: crockpot cilantro chicken tacos + rice 
thursday: beans, leftover rice + homemade salsa
friday: pizza
saturday: meat + baked potatoes + veggies
sunday: leftovers or breakfast food like French toast

goals:

// do //
teach fitness classes 
get 10k+ steps 4-5 times this week
walk with the kids 2-3 times (it's getting so hot and humid here!)
work on closet project upstairs
catch up on weekend laundry + put away
look for pantry shelving
clean house for family dinner
order Father's Day gifts + remind the kids
order 2 house items we've been saving for
plant new bushes in flowerbed (mulch is done, and I found two nice bushes at the nursery)
do 1 fun summer activity with the kids: try Indian food

// read //
Keeping a Quiet Heart* by Elisabeth Elliot (3-4 chapters- I lost the book! Must find.)
Daily Bible reading (Colossians)

// learn //
spend two more hours studying for new fitness certification
study Hinduism 

// be // 
hospitable - invite our next-door neighbors over for dinner this week. I have been nervous to do this because our house isn't perfect, or completely finished, but I need to get over that fear. :) I have at least a year plus of hosting dinners to catch up on! :P


What's on your list this week?


Do you ever have a hard time being hospitable if your house isn't in the state you like it? How do you overcome that?

weekend life in pics

Summer is looking a little different around here thanks to summer school, but we're still finding time to squeeze in a few fun things every now and then. :D

The older boys had fun shooting their bows in the backyard. Being the country girl I used to be, I tried to show them all how it's done and missed nearly every shot but scored plenty of forearm bruises. I guess I'm a little more city and a lot less country these days. :D


In light of that disaster, I decided to stick to shooting just the camera from now on. :D This baby crawler is tough enough to capture:


Thankfully, the older girls were a little more oblivious to the camera when cookie dough was involved:



Oh chocolate chip cookies- with a 1/4 cup more of flour and twice as many chocolate chips: irresistibly yum.

But then, tiny muscular spidermans are kinda irresistible too... :D


We had a momentous large-family occasion this weekend: we bought a 4-slice toaster!! We haven't had a toaster since we were first married (a decade ago now...ahem), and the kids never used one so we surprised them with it.

After years of heating their bread in the microwave, they were completely enamored with it. :D (it also has a defrost option- perfect for us since we eat frozen bread all the time.) I love it so far.


After debating for months on the cost vs. whether we needed one, we finally found a great deal this weekend on one at....let's just say...one of my top 10 favorite places. 

I will have to tell you more about it tomorrow! :D


Mamas- how often do you use a toaster?
Now that the kids make their own breakfast, I am more than willing to provide them with whatever tools are necessary. :)

Can you shoot a bow?
My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are killer with a bow and arrow. (pun intended!) I'm not even sure how they admitted me into the family with my skills... :P

City or country?? 
I love living in the country, but want to be near a city for groceries and dining out.

Ivy Elisabeth: 10 months

Our little Ivy-loo is 10 months already. That's practically a year old! I am in shock at how quickly 10 months can go by when you're not pregnant. :)

Having a big family is so surprising in so many ways. I was the teenager who even told a lady (who had 12 kids) that I didn't want kids at all because I was too selfish. Heh. I want to pat that cute 19-year-old girl on the head. She was right, but thankfully God had other plans for her life in order to make her less selfish. :D

All that to say- having more and more kiddos is one of the most incredible blessings in life. The world tells you the more kids you have the more miserable you'll be, but like most things the world says, the actual truth is quite the opposite: the more kids you have, the more blessings and the more sweetness and joy you get to experience. This little lady, number six, has stolen my heart (again):


I was in love from the moment they gave her to me, and the Lord has reminded me of how precious the BABY is, and just how much it overcomes how hard the pregnancy is. He used her to remind me of the preciousness of sweet little babies and how I have just a few short years left of being able to experience this kind of blessing. :)

We call her Ivy-Loo- loo which has nothing to do with her middle name, but has to do completely with how cute she is:


Everyone, from the oldest to the youngest loves this little munchkin:


And her daddy is no exception, of course:



She's cruising around these days- she picks up on things very quickly. I found her around the corner doing this already (!):


And she's usually our backup alarm now that she sleeps in her own bed:

 

This little lady just fits right in with our crew. :)


Things I want to remember about her at 10 months:

She:
  • weighs about 19 lbs.
  • has all kinds of nicknames- Ivy-Woo, Sister, Ivy-Woomba (you can guess why), little lady
  • loves, loves, loves raw veggies and salad
  • can eat her weight in beans and rice :P
  • nurses often, but isn't crazy about it- she even went on a 1.5 day complete strike and tried to break my heart
  • loves to put things in her mouth and carry them around (hilarious, maybe she will have an offhand sense of humor? so funny)
  • grunts and picks herself up in your arms when she wants something :)
  • started standing on her own
  • can say bye and wave at the same time
  • loves to do whatever her siblings are doing
  • can ride in the jogging stroller for hours without complaint
  • sleeps through the night since 8.5 months
  • is entertained by holding books
  • makes lots of baby talk and squeals to get what she wants
  • gives big open mouth kisses :)
  • is pretty easy going
I love this stage and kind of wish I could keep her like this forever. :)


choosing later over now and practical over perfect


Building a new house is awesome, but I have to tell you: it's extremely overwhelming if you're a perfectionist.

On one hand, you get to plan everything; on the other hand, you have to plan everything.

Getting to decide all the details is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. What if you choose the wrong thing? What if this style is going out of date before you get it installed? (it will be). ahhh. It won't be perfect. Sigh. Maybe we can re-do it someday.

It's a little bit paralyzing- if you care. And I do, more than I wish to admit.

So this year, I decided I don't want to care anymore. I'm tired of putting my hope in the things of the world like that.

I have so many more important things to do in this life than to spend my time and money and effort to be in style. It's embarrassing to admit how much I've cared to be admired, approved of, and loved by the appearances I give to man.

But even with this knowledge, it's completely a daily struggle for me to want to be anything less than what the world tells me is beautiful. I struggle with my clothing, house, hair styles, cars, workout clothes, makeup, EVERYTHING. Satan tells us being frumpy and out of touch makes you look like a fool, but we know that God uses what is foolish to shame the wise of this world. (1 Cor. 1:27)

I don't want to love the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life anymore. It's exhausting. There is never rest- never anywhere to stop- because once I get the "thing" I so wanted, there's something else to want that's better and that "thing" I finally got is suddenly "old" and will now define me as out-of-style. Even though it's practically brand new.

I once had a dream (the real kind, when you're sleeping) where I stumbled upon an airport hangar that was a huge storage facility. In it were rows and rows of those huge gaylord cardboard boxes (pallet-sized, as tall as me) full of stuff that looked like it was from Goodwill. I started searching through them to see what was inside, and box after box after huge box was full of things I'd bought and thrown away in my lifetime.

Piece after piece of clothing, purse after purse, shoe after shoe- I recognized them all.

And I was so ashamed.

Then I woke up and realized the dream was actually true.

Since I was young I have spent my life collecting things I wanted and then throwing them away when I was tired of them. Goodwill exists because I love stuff, and they want to make me feel better about throwing it away when I find something new I want. In reality, I would be mortified to see it all in one place.

bags of stuff on the way out in 2013

What is wrong with me?? It's sickening.

You know what it is?

My heart covets.

I am an idolater. I worship myself. I am seeking to fulfill the lust of my eyes and the lust of my flesh and feel the pride of life.

Faced with the thought, half of me wants to run away and keep buying anything I want while saying "all is grace" and the other half wants to muscle it up and say I'll never buy anything again. But neither option gets to my heart.

Why do I long to "fit in" so very badly? Why do I put my hope in temporary pleasures rather than in Christ?

Because I'm setting myself up as god. I am serving the master of self over the Master of the universe.

Is the answer to stop buying all the things? It's not the buying and selling and giving away that is my main problem.  Maybe my issue is that I need to care less about what the world thinks and more about what the Lord thinks.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, He promises me. (Prov. 9:10)

If I diligently seek Him, He will reward me (Hebrews 11:6). He will give me the wisdom I ask for, without reproaching me for asking. (James 1:5).

And He has provided an answer for me in His Word. What does the Bible say about this problem I have?

It says asceticism won't stop my coveting heart. Colossians 2:

20If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— 21“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22(referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

But what do I do if restricting myself won't work? What does Paul say next? Colossians 3:
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is youra life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:b sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
Seek things that are above, where Christ is- stop putting my mind on earthly things. Put this coveting idolatry to death in me- it is no light thing to God. It is the very reason the wrath of God is coming!

So what might this look like in real life for me?

Practically: maybe I should stop studying people who love the world. Blogs that make me want the newest thing aren't helping me put earthliness to death in me, but studying the Word and filling my heart and mind with good things makes me long to know and see Christ.

Practically: maybe I should ask the Lord for wisdom first when I want to buy something.

Practically: maybe I should use the things I already have over buying something else so I can fit in with the latest trends, and find used clothing that might be perfectly fine but less stylish over new clothing if I need something.

Practically: maybe I should consider the usability of an item over its style. Can I keep and use this for years? (Did I really need that pair of bright coral cargo pants that went out of style the next year? No.)

Practically: where am I wasting the money the Lord gives me? I want to ask for wisdom to be practical over seeking to appear perfect so that I can use the money He's given us wisely.

Buying and looking for things of beauty in my home and life may not be wrong in itself, but I can swiftly take it to sin level in my heart by making myself my ultimate goal.

But if God is my goal, I stop caring so much.

Oh friend, I want to choose Jesus over the world.

I want to choose heavenly things over earthly things.

I want to choose the later over the now.

So even though they might not be pretty, or meet the Instagram standard, in Christ I do not have to be afraid of less-than-beautiful things that are useful. :) In Christ, I do not need to fear not being approved of by others. He came so that I can have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10), and know that my life does not consist in the abundance of my possessions. (Luke 12:15)

Because of Him, I can choose #practicaloverperfect.