Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Page 2 of 53

Hope Deferred

There are a lot of really great reasons to have hope.
  • By focusing on the possible positive outcomes, you take your mind off the negative possibilities, relieving yourself of that worry and anxiety.
  • The expression “hope floats” demonstrates hope’s ability to keep us “buoyed” – our spirits are high when we are looking forward to something good.
  • Hope motivates us to action. When you’re believing in a positive outcome, you take steps toward making that happen. Just like a pregnant woman prepares her nursery in happy anticipation of her child’s arrival, hope enables us to take measures to prepare ourselves for the good things coming down the pike.

I think the main reason most of us don’t actively hope is fear. When you have been hurt or disappointed so many times, you want to “guard your heart”, as the Bible says. Only, I don’t think “guarding your heart” means exactly what we’ve often interpreted it to mean. I don’t think it means do whatever you can to keep pain out. Rather, it means surrounding yourself with those things that give life to your spirit, with people who encourage you, with Scripture that speaks truth, and with faith, hope, and love. In doing so, you will protect your heart – not from pain ever getting to it, but from being crushed under the weight of that pain.

But, I get that fear.

I have been very disappointed in one particular area over and over again, and that’s the area where I struggle to have hope. When I go shopping, I have no trouble hoping that I will find some cute clothes; my experience has taught me that is likely to happen. I also find it easy to hope that when I go out in downtown Nashville, I will hear good music and talk to interesting people. I’ve learned to have a confident expectation of that result.

But, what about those areas where I haven’t had good results? Where I have been rejected or overlooked or turned away time and again? Those areas that actually really matter to me, deep down? What about those hopes for each of us of getting married, or having a child, or being matched for an adoption, or getting a promotion, or passing the licensure exam, or fill in the blank… How do I have hope when everything seems to indicate I really should keep my expectations low?

Those are the times when hope is absolutely the hardest. But, those are also the times when we must have hope. We must fight for it, for all the reasons mentioned above, and so many more.

If a situation is certain, there is no reason to have hope. At that point, you’re essentially just stating a fact. Yes, I have hope every night that when I go to sleep, my bed won’t collapse; however, that’s never happened, and I know the wood in my bed is sturdy and assembled well. So, I’m really just assured of fact at that point.

I mentioned yesterday that there was one more definition of hope according to Merriam-Webster. Technically, I guess it’s a definition for the expression, “hope against hope”, but it says, “to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment”. Similarly, Romans 8:24-25 says, “…[H]ope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

We can’t wait until things look like they’re going in our favor to have hope. We must have hope now and confidently expect God to move on our behalf.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Many of you are probably familiar with this proverb. I’ve heard it a million times and always thought it meant that hope unfulfilled makes the heart sick. And, I think it does. But, I also think that it refers to putting off hope. By trying to protect ourselves from pain by delaying having hope, we’re doing the exact opposite. We’re depriving ourselves of the peace and joy that comes from anticipating that God will move in our lives. We’re giving room to anxiety and worry and becoming pessimistic. And we are limiting the joy we can experience when something good does happen as a culmination of our hopes and dreams.

I think putting off hope also can create self-fulfilling prophecies. Earlier I mentioned how hope motivates us to action. The converse, though, is that if we don’t have hope, we are motivated to inaction. How many great things never happen because we’re too afraid they might not work out? By failing to act, we create the very scenario we were afraid of in the first place. You’re afraid the boss might find you too forward if you mention taking on more responsibility, so you stay silent; he assumes you aren’t interested in a promotion, and you get passed over. You’re afraid you might not be successful in that career, so you don’t pursue licensure and stay in a dead end job you don’t love. You think long-distance relationships seldom work, so you break up before you have a chance to try.

However, hope actually minimizes disappointments.

To use my earlier scenarios, I don’t lose hope if I shop and find nothing. I’m bummed, of course, because I like new clothes. But, I have the confident and happy expectation that the next time I shop, I’ll find something. If I go downtown and the band sounds terrible and no one talks to me, I might wish I’d stayed home and watched a movie instead, but I don’t assume I’ll never hear good music or meet interesting people again. And I certainly don’t think something is wrong with me. I just assume it was an off night and have hope that the next time I go, it will be better.

Disappointments always come. It’s a part of life, especially since while we know that God’s plans are best, we don’t always know what those best plans are. But, if we have hope, we can bounce back quicker from that disappointment. We can take things in stride, knowing that something else good is around the corner. God’s Word promises that since even human fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, our Heavenly Father does even more. It also says that the righteous have never been forsaken or God’s children had to beg for bread (Ps. 37:25).

So, while we may not have, as M-W says, “any basis for expecting fulfillment” in our particular situation, we do have basis to expect God to do good things in our lives because that’s who He is, and He has before. Just like David knew God could equip him to kill Goliath because he’d killed the lion and the bear, so we can look back on our experiences and see the many ways God has worked in our lives, even in ways we didn’t anticipate or in circumstances that seemed, well, hopeless. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if He came through before, He will come through again – sometimes in the exact ways we’re hoping, sometimes in ways that exceed what we hoped for, and sometimes in ways that are completely different than what we imagined. But, He always comes through.

Where have you been deferring hope in your life? Have you put it off because you’re afraid of the disappointment? Think through the worst case scenario, and imagine what it will be like if you do have hope versus if you don’t. If the end result is going to be the same, won’t it be better to go into it hopeful, and then emerge still hopeful? And maybe, in the process, we will find what we were hoping for all along. But, as the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace said, EVEN IF we do not, we are able to still praise God because He is good, and so are His ways in our lives.

(Thank you to Joyce Meyer and her book, Get Your Hopes Up!, for inspiration on several of these points.)

(Part 2 of a 3-part series)

Get Your Hopes Up!

These three things remain: faith, hope, and love.

A couple months ago, a friend mentioned to me that she didn’t want me to get my hopes up about a particular situation. I knew what she meant – she didn’t want me to be disappointed, and theoretically, if you keep your expectations low, if/when something doesn’t work out, you’re less disappointed because you weren’t expecting much, anyway.

But, at the time, it made me really mad. For one thing, I thought it assumed that things weren’t going to work out. But, regardless, what’s wrong with being hopeful, I thought? Even if I were disappointed, was it better to go through life not hoping? If it didn’t work out, I was going to be disappointed, anyway. Wouldn’t it be better to make the waiting period pleasant by being optimistic?

Thus began my study of hope.

As I started thinking about it, I couldn’t remember having ever heard a sermon preached on hope. Sure, it’s often used as a synonym for faith or trust or belief. But, if the Bible lists it with faith and love as being one of the three most important things, I thought it deserved its own exploration.

Well, what would a Bible study be without a definition of the word? So, according to Merriam-Webster, hope is to cherish a desire with anticipation. It is to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment; to expect with confidence. (There’s one other definition, but I’ll come back to it later.)

These dictionary definitions coincide with an article by J. Hampton Keathley III on Bible.org (I don’t know who he is, but I believe in giving proper credit). According to this article, hope in Scripture is “a strong and confident expectation.” Joyce Meyer calls it the “happy and confident anticipation of good” (from her book, Get Your Hopes Up!).

Bible studies also include statistics. Like, in the King James Version, the word “hope” appears 130 times. That’s a lot for a word that is generally treated as slightly above wishful thinking.

But, what exactly am I supposed to hope for? Or in? Does the Bible only mean we are to hope in Jesus and for salvation and eternal life in heaven?

I don’t think so.

Of course, we are to hope in God; He is the source of all that is good, and the reason we can hope. But, I don’t think God only wants us to have an other-worldly hope. I think hope is very relevant to our daily, earthly lives, and as I began to study, I became more convinced of this.

Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of people who hoped for things on earth – many in the face of impossible odds. Joseph in the Old Testament surely hoped he would get out of prison, even though his best opportunity, when the cupbearer was released, came and went and he was seemingly forgotten. Hannah hoped for a child, despite years of being barren, and her hope led her to beg God so passionately, the priest thought she was drunk. In the New Testament, Simeon hoped that God’s promise that he would see the Messiah before he died would actually happen.

My favorite example of hoping for God’s intervention on earth is Shaddrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace. Their hope was that God would spare their lives and rescue them – against all odds. But, they go on to say, EVEN IF He does not, we will still praise Him (my paraphrase).

While all of these people based their hope in God, they were also hoping for their current circumstances to turn out in a certain way. Their hope was that they would, as Psalm 27:13 says, see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

So, what are you hoping for in the land of the living? Over the next couple of days, I’m going to talk more about what I’ve learned about hope, but I want to encourage you now to keep your hopes up, after all. Believe that God is working on your behalf. He loves you, He wants the best for you, and He is faithful. Name those things that you are hoping for – those things that you might be afraid to even mention because they are so dear to your heart (I mean, name them to yourself, although I certainly welcome anything you’d like to share). And let’s work together to find hope in our circumstances, because of God’s goodness.

(Part 1 of a 3-part series)

Take Me out to the Ballgame

I was out of town last week which always puts me way behind in my blog writing. But, y’all, I was in Utah for work and it was GORGEOUS! I wouldn’t last living there: cold and outdoorsy. But, it was so pretty!

Also, ALL THE TULIPS!!!!

I wanted to cry every time I stepped outside, it was all so beautiful. Seriously.

Anyway, prior to that trip, I went on a date. It was the Saturday before Easter – you know, the Sunday where I needed to leave my house by 7:15 to be at church for 5 hours – so, I probably shouldn’t have gone out. But, how do you resist an invitation to a baseball game? It’s my favorite kind of date!

Except for the clothes…casual clothes are REALLY hard for me. Well, I should say, casual clothes when you want to impress someone are really hard for me. I don’t like wearing flats on dates; I’m short enough as it is. I also prefer to wear rompers or dresses for warm-weather dates. But, obviously, at a baseball game, I can’t look like I’m trying too hard (although, as I was soon to learn, at Nashville baseball games, no one watches the games. I could have worn a romper with wedges and been quite at home with many of the other girls who just walked around the stadium and hung out at the trendy bar past left field.)

So, I settled on this: casual shorts, a t-shirt (but at least a cute one with a ballet back), and floral flats because it’s too early for straight up sandals. Maybe not my best date outfit, but it worked and got me out the door (I was, naturally, running late. I blame it on the casual clothes).

What would you wear to a baseball game – either, normally, or on a date? I feel like my answers to that question would be different depending on the circumstances; maybe yours are, too. Give me some ideas for next time, please!!

Sunday Best

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter, y’all! I hope everyone had a beautiful Sunday celebrating one of my most favorite holidays.

This Easter weekend was a little rough for me, but what better holiday to have a rough weekend before than Easter? It is so full of joy, and hope, and expectation. And brunch and pretty dresses! No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s pretty hard not to have your spirits lifted on Easter.

And, it DID NOT RAIN in Nashville for Easter. This is remarkable for two reasons: 1) it rains all the time here. 2) Rain was forecasted all day. You never know the miracles that will occur on this blessed day.

I’m posting this picture with my friend Hannah because although it’s a little grainy for some reason, it was taken much earlier in the day and is therefore a much better picture of me than the official outfit picture below. So, keep this one in your mind, and then proceed with caution and a forgiving eye.

I debated off-the-shoulder for church. Is that appropriate? I still don’t know. But, I figured since it wasn’t a LOW off-the-shoulder, I had my hair down, and most of the time I was wearing a choir robe, I could get away with it. Judge if you must. But, I know you can’t/won’t judge me for the florals – or at least, you shouldn’t, because I gave a very clear disclaimer that I am obsessed!

I usually love to look out in the congregation at church on Easter and see all the pretty colors, but I sort of forgot this year. Plus, I did notice a lot of white being represented. Even my own dress is more neutral than the usual bright yellow or coral I tend to be drawn to for Easter.

So, since I didn’t pay attention to people’s outfits at church, show me yours! Did you buy something new specific for the occasion, or recycle an old faithful?

Whatever you wore, I hope it was a beautiful day.

Two-fer Tuesday: Jailhouse Stripes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a twofer Tuesday, but no time like the present!

I really like these jailhouse stripes (or maybe more accurately, train conductor – they’re probably too narrow for jailhouse). Regardless, I think these highwaisted, cropped striped jeans are the best.

However, I wasn’t sure about them when I bought them, because in the artificial light of the dressing room, they really played with your eyes. I mean, in general, I try to wear clothes that don’t make people want to look the other way.

In the natural light, though, they seem to be okay, so I think I’m good. Except the camera doesn’t love them, either…you might have to zoom in pretty close to get an accurate look. Oh well.

In this first look, I’m combining another one of my favorite spring trends – off-the-shoulder – with my cute pants and some flats that actually hurt my feet more than most of the heels I own, but they’re so cute and universally functional, that I keep them. I ran some errands on Saturday in this outfit, then popped on some black heels for dinner with a friend that night.

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention my pink lipstick; as much as I enjoyed the dark berrys and browns this winter, I’m seriously so happy bright is back in season!

Next up is another casual outfit (I did wear it to work, but in hindsight, it might have been TOO casual). Anyway, a simple soft turquoise tee (you’ll have to take my word for it being that color, I guess), with a black scarf (I don’t have a cat; that’s all just my hair…) and some silver accents to complete the look. Easy, but still put together. Scarves are helpful in that way.
So there you have it – the return of Twofer Tuesday, thanks to my new favorite cropped jeans.

Which of these looks would you rather wear? And what’s the verdict on these stripes – delightful or dizzying? Let’s talk!

Spring Forward!

Spring is finally here in Nashville, and there was no rain this weekend – you wouldn’t believe the impact this good weather had on my mood! I’ve never thought I had seasonal depression, but I’m starting to think I might have a little bit of it, because honestly, I felt SO MUCH BETTER in the sun this weekend.

Also, I have a lot of cute new clothes to wear in said sunshine, which definitely doesn’t hurt.

That smile is because of the glare on my face – sunshine!!!

Really, my favorite thing about this outfit is the back of my shirt. Apparently, “ballet backs” are in now, and I like it! I bought this top in 2 colors, because why not?

Cute, right? It’s just enough to take an otherwise standard t-shirt and turn into something unique and fresh.

Springtime also brings bright lipstick again. Hot pink, I’ve missed you so!

What fashion/makeup trends are you most excited about this spring?

Who’s That Girl?

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would without a doubt be Carrie Underwood. Or Kate Middleton. But probably Carrie Underwood.

If I could be any fictional character, though, it would be Jessica Day. If you watch New Girl, you know the greatness that is Jess. Sure, she can can be “quirky”, but she’s also very smart, kind, loyal, and dedicated – and just so gosh darn adorable.

Also, more than one person has said I remind them of her, so that could possibly be swaying my opinion.

I really love Jess’ style. I probably dress more like her than anyone else on TV – she’s one of the few characters that I feel like I could walk into her closet and feel right at home.

So, when I recently wore an outfit that was more Jess than probably anything I’ve ever worn before, I couldn’t help but pop on my glasses (even though I was already wearing my contacts), just to complete the look.


Seriously, have you ever seen a more Jess outfit? Bright colors, cutesy printed dress, a bow, and cardigan. All that’s missing is the bangs.

Do you have any TV characters (or real life people, for that matter) whose style you resemble – or would like to? Let’s talk!

A Rose is a Rose

I maybe should have given this disclaimer long ago, but if you all aren’t into florals, you should probably stop following my blog right now. Because I’m obsessed.

Roses seem to be really in right now. I’m not sure if this is the Beauty and the Beast influence, or just a natural evolution of patterns, but I’m into it.

This LOFT top is perfect. The fit and pattern are professionally acceptable, but it’s a sweatshirt. Like, literally. Comfort is not usually high on my list of priorities for clothing, but when I can wear something cute, trendy, and COMFY, I’m all in.
Also, I love these green Old Navy pants. But, it’s no secret that I love Old Navy, and I’ve declared green my color of the year (or Pantone did…not important).

 

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags

Have I ever told you how much I hate thrift stores? Like I HATE them. There are several reasons for this:

  1. They smell bad. Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason. All thrift stores smell the same and it’s gross and I feel like I need a shower after.
  2. I’m not much of one for the hunt. When I shop, I head straight to the clearance section – there are either things I like there or not, and I move on. At thrift stores you have to sort through all the trash to MAYBE find one thing you like. It’s too much work. (On a related note, I refuse to eat wings or ribs or fried chicken for the same reason – too much work.)
  3. I don’t think the prices are actually that great. When I can buy new things for the same price or less (as I regularly do), I would rather. Of course, there is that chance you might find a high end label that is new/barely used for a steal – but, for my opinions on that, see #2.

However, because I do have a limited budget, sometimes I just have to hold my nose and go into thrift stores. This happened recently because I’m looking for a specific piece of furniture and just can’t bring myself to pay several hundred dollars for something I have to assemble on my own. And new, already-assembled furniture is out of my price range at this point. So…hey, Good Will!

Naturally, I did not find what I was looking for, but on the way out, I noticed a sequin dress on the mannequin by the front door. So, of course, I got sucked in by something sparkly. I’m glad, though, because $6 for a sequin dress is a good price, even by my standards

Since I was already hooked, I just gave in and started browsing. Most was nothing I’d be interested in, but I did find the pants below, which are destined to become a new favorite.
Light blue, silk, floral pants with multiple colors in the pattern  to mix and match, and a super comfortable drawstring waist that’s also not frumpy looking? Sign me up.
These pants are actually not my best thrift store find – one time I got a Louis Vuitton garment bag (which, I’ve never used, but I own!) for $10.25. But, I like them a lot.

What’s your best thrift store/yard sale find? Do you like the thrill of the hunt, or are you more of an efficient shopper like me?

A Dress for All Ages

Before I dive into this post featuring a BRAND NEW DRESS!!!, let me give a couple disclaimers:

  1. I still don’t know how to take pretty pictures. Even if I have a fancy camera. I just need to embrace it.
  2. I rarely enhance my photos, other than to adjust the exposure, etc. But, I for sure used an editor to make my legs look not quite as neon. You’re welcome.
  3. I don’t think this dress is quite as short in real life and when I’m not bunching it up on my hip. I say that only because my parents recently talked to me about “dressing my age” (feel free to roll your eyes…believe me, I did much more than that), and now they’re in my head.

With those things out of the way, I love this new dress.

It was one of my Old Navy finds, and although it’s about to go out of season, I’ll wear it another time or two before I save it for next fall. Burgundy/wine/maroon, etc. was for sure my color this winter, and I’m sincerely lacking in fall/winter dresses, so this is a perfect addition.

I’m wearing sunglasses in this picture because I thought I looked cool and they matched. But also because I cried most of my eye makeup off in church and took this right after, so, there you go.
Have you started switching to your spring clothes yet? As you can tell from the leaves and trees behind me, spring hasn’t permanently come to Nashville yet, but it’s sure trying! And as much as I like this little dress, I will not be sad to put it away for a few months, if it means warmer weather!

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2018 Tastefully Trendy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑