December 19, 2014

Photo Update // Vol. 6

I absolutely swoon over these photos every time I see them. Does that sound weird enough?? Not only are these photos just beautiful, but the family captured in the photos is so dear to my heart. When my sweet friend Rachel from Oh, Simple Thoughts texted me and asked if I could do a Christmas photo shoot of her family, my heart leaped for joy. I have been following Rachel's blog for quite a while now and when we met for a coffee date in the beginning of the year, she instantly became a wonderful real life friend and inspiration because of her strong love for the Lord, sweet marriage, and strength as she created her own shop Oh, Simple Joys.

During the day of the photo shoot, the weather was beautiful and out of nowhere, this rain shower came. I think I could have cried when I heard that rain hitting my roof because NO photographer wants to get hit with rain literally minutes before a photo shoot. Because Rachel, her husband Ben and their precious pup Piper live quite a distance from us, it wasn't a shoot to just reschedule. So we went on and hoped for the best. Luckily, we pulled in to the park area, the rain started to clear and this breathtaking sun started shining through the trees.
I cant say how many times I thanked Jesus for this one. He clearly answered our prayers.
Now for my favorites! FYI Blogger stinks at photo quality. 

Yall, how precious are they?
Thank you so much to one of the sweetest families for such a wonderful time!

December 17, 2014

Coffee Date // Vol. 7

The Christmas season.
A time of busyness, tight finances, joy and excitement.
As great as Christmas is, many people struggle during this season. We put these pressures on ourselves to be perfect, we have the pressure of performing while we welcome others in our home, we have the pressure of having the perfect home to host in and then there is the pressure of purchasing the best gifts for the ones that we love. All these things can be great but we are constantly fed with this idea of having to be just right in order for things to be good. This is where Christmas turns into a stressful holiday and rather than spreading generosity or joy, we spread frustrations and only focus on the ones around us.

Today is another Community Brew with two of my sweetest friends, Madison and Rachel. These ladies wanted to focus our last brew of the year on the idea of generosity surrounding this holiday season we have quickly approached.

Romans 15:1
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves."
 
Proverbs 11:24-25
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered."
 
Generosity: liberality in giving or willingness to give, kindness or magnanimity, amplitude and abundance
 
This is the time we all know as "the season of giving." Sure, we give gifts to family members and our sweetest friends, but a lot of times, that is the point where it is easy to stop. We often forget that there are others we don't even know who are in desperate need of a bit of generosity. I know in the past, I would only think about the ones I know and I would happily purchase gifts to see all my loved ones light up with joy. It would completely pass my mind to give to others who I have never met and probably will never meet. 
 
I have always been so incredibly blessed my parents who worked their hardest to give the absolute best and most presents they could. For years, my parents would stack and stack our den full of gifts for my brother, sister and I to melt to on Christmas morning. They have always blessed us more than we deserve and I will admit that I would become excited for Christmas because of the gifts and time spent with my close ones. I didn't go beyond my comfort zone and give to others I didn't know. Luckily this year the Lord has truly taken a hold of my heart. For once in my life, I can say that this season is only about giving. I have told Sean that I want absolutely nothing for Christmas and my parents to only purchase small things like cookbooks and candles. I come from a giving family so I know there will be something for me on Christmas but my wants and focus for this season have nothing to do with any gift. My wants are to give to others and literally focus on nothing but the love, generosity and goodness of Christ. His presence is enough to fulfill any earthly gift we could dream of.

When we think of generosity, there is this idea that we have to give and give all this money to whatever organization we know of. Truth is, generosity comes in all different shapes and sizes. Paying money towards someone's layaway, purchasing a Starbucks for the one behind you, giving to many organizations than putting loads of money into one, giving a homeless person a blanket and some hot chocolate or simply taking someone out to lunch and investing in time with them..I promise you, all generous things, whether big or small, will make someone's day. The fact that a stranger cares enough to help speaks volumes. Seriously, someone paid for my Starbucks the other day and I sat in my car and cried for a good five minutes. Heart on my sleeve yall.
As we start to transition into a new year, keep this feeling of generosity towards others. Don't let the season of giving just be for one month, give 12 months of love to the ones we pass by and stand next to in the store lines. 

Let us all remember to focus our attention not only on the presents, but on the presence of Christ and how generous he was to all of us.   

December 1, 2014

December Goals.

I feel like I say " I cant believe how fast the year is going by" in every monthly post but yall, we are in December. Can you believe it? We are finally in the most wonderful time of the year that is focused on the birth of our Lord and the joy that we can give to others. It feels wonderful to be back at blogging after spending time focusing on cherished time with family. Thanksgiving consisted of a home full of family and friends with food, food and more food. I was toting a full on pregnant looking belly at one point. The day before Thanksgiving, our Christmas decorations were put out and the Flowers' home is now decorated to the fullest. I feel like Christmas exploded in our home but hey, its just too perfect of a time to only have a few decorations.

November was full of some crazy events and a lot of busyness with school. I definitely didn't soak it all in as much as I had hoped but that just means December will be loved to the fullest.

November Goals:
1. Start knitting Something I didnt get to just yet so this will carry over into December! 
2. Complete another cross-stitch to post. Another favorite hobby that I wasn't able to get to
3. Finish The Best Yes I wasnt able to finish just yet but I have to admit, I love reading this book very slowly
4. Start getting things together for Operation Christmas Child box.
5. Help with my first giveaway
6. Enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving
7. Find a good static reducing hair product
8. Journal all throughout November on what I am thankful for I am horrible
9. Become serious about meal planning
10. Create at least three of my DIYs on Pinterest
11. Start getting all the Christmas decorations together
12. Purchase a Christmas tree Ours from last year worked perfectly fine!

December Goals:
1. Begin the advent calender created by Kate and Kuby
2. Continue to read the bible deeper than before 
(If you are looking for a study bible, I highly highly recommend a Life Application Study Bible. It explains verse by verse and is the most deep reading of a bible that I have ever seen. Plus it is at an awesome price right now!)
3. Book my first wedding shoot
4. Invest in deeper relationships with sweet friends
5. Make photography business plans
6. Make other project business plans coming soon!
7. Purchase my first Young Living Essential Oils kit
8. Start knitting again
9. Clean my closet and donate clothes 
10. Give to others
11. Attend a Christmas play
12. Have a date night to our local zoo lights
13. Take a trip to look at Christmas lights
14. Finish or get close to finishing The Best Yes
15. Have a wonderful Christmas

Now, I have to take a moment to stop and talk about my new blog design thanks to my precious friend Rachel from Oh, Simple Thoughts. She has created this beautiful design and she literally took everything I had in mind to create this space. Her work is flawless and she is so wonderful to work with. If you are looking for a new design, I would highly recommend her! There are still things that are coming together (a new welcome page, etc) but the comments you all have made have been so uplifting! This place finally feels like home :)

December, you are already the most wonderful time of the year, but I am so excited for a fresh month, time spent with family, new adventures with friends, the sweet time with my husband and the focus on how marvelous the Lord continues to be. I am so thankful that you are here.

November 21, 2014

Better Life Bags // Giveaway.

Happy Friday sweet readers!
This week has been a bit slow here at Sincerely, Lo.
Finals are coming and I have have a list of assignments and projects to finish. The end of school semesters are literally the worse.
Can I get an amen?
Luckily Christmas break is right around the corner which means the semester will be DONE and Christmas shopping will begin! 

To bring a bit of joy on the beginning of a crazy weekend, I have teamed up with some of my blog friends to help you win in an incredible giveaway! With Christmas quickly approaching, this little giveaway is just perfect for a gift (or even a gift for your hard working self!)
Stripes and leather are two things that are guarantee to make me swoon. When you combine them into a bag created by a small handmade business who loves Jesus, it makes the swooning go overboard. All of the bags by Better Life Bags are very well made and guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face.
The best part about it? You can even design your own Better Life Bag online and pick your own fabrics and everything! SO neat!
In order to spread some Christmas cheer your way, I have teamed up with these sweet ladies to give one lucky winner a $100 gift certificate to use towards one of these gorgeous bags!
All entries will be verified so play fair! And enter to win below! :)

November 14, 2014

Christmas Tree Inspiration.

Currently it is 25 degrees here in my hometown. With it becoming winter before Thanksgiving even hits, it makes it much harder to hold back crazy Christmas lady coming out in me. A couple of days ago I went through our closet that is overflowing with seasonal decorations. Like a giddy ten year old girl, I pulled out all my Christmas boxes and decor. Because Sean likes to let Thanksgiving have its time to shine, my boxes are sitting in my den just waiting until November 28th. 
This year, I really wanted to make Christmas reflect my personality throughout our home. Last year was our first Christmas together as a married couple so I was just ecstatic and decorated with every color under the rainbow. So this year, I want to make guests walk into our home and feel this overwhelming feeling of coziness and like they are in their own home and I want them to see us through our decorations.
Where do you go to get that inspiration? Pinterest of course :)

When describing my home, I would say that is has a lot of southern, rustic and modern charm. So when thinking of our Christmas tree this year, I wanted just that. Southern, rustic and modern.  
Yesterday I went to our huge local park and filled the back of my car with pine cones, branches and large wood chunks, seriously my back patio looks like a tree completely exploded. These trees are so inspiring with all the burlap, golds, browns and the branches + pine cones will add such a rustic look. 

What is your Christmas tree inspiration for this holiday season?


November 10, 2014

Advent Devotional // Giveaway.

"chestnuts roasting on an open fire"
Yes, I'm singing it already.
Can anyone believe we are already ten days in November and just short weeks from Christmas?
This year has been going so fast but now we are rapidly approaching the most wonderful time of the year.
Literally
Am I one of those annoying people who brings in Christmas too early? Perhaps. But this is my theory, Christmas is too wonderful of a time to only celebrate for 25 days. Dont get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving with family and friends but something about Christmas just makes the days so brighter and our hearts leap with joy.
 
So, to bring in the Christmas spirit, today I have teamed up with the lovely Jenni from Frankly My Dear and some other incredible blog friends. To kick off this week and the upcoming holiday season, we are all coming together to make this season mean something extra special.
Advent is a special time of year & it begins in three short weeks. To celebrate we are giving away one Naptime Diaries Advent Devotional + Calendar. The devotion is a 25 day interactive workbook that walks through hope, love, joy, peace, & purity leading up to the Christmas holiday. In addition, the calendar prints that accompany the devotion will bring cheer ANY time of year.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In order to participate, all you have to do is enter in each category above.
The giveaway ends on Friday night so be sure to enter quickly :) 

November 7, 2014

Fall Photos in a Cotton Field.

A couple of weeks ago, Sean and I won a contest from the lovely Mandy Lea Photography. Basically, the contest was to comment on posts and share her page information on Facebook. Afterwards, your name was entered into a random shuffler. I was incredibly amazed that Sean and I won this contest. First off, I am never one who wins anything. I could be in a contest with myself and somehow someone else would win. But seriously, this was a huge blessing for me. I had wanted photos for our first year of marriage and with photographers only raising their prices in our hometown, it was something I was having to save and save for.
Seriously, were talking $ 350 just for a basic package...

I absolutely loved shooting with Mandy. She is so cheerful, fun and she turns the shoots into a wonderful time. She did everythig so perfectly and she shot natural photos which I LOVE. I ordered three 18x20 canvases on Groupon last night and I cant decide on which three to pick (recommendations appreciated) Mandy is also doing our Christmas card photoshoot in a couple of weeks which I cannot wait for
(if you would still like a card, email me at laflowers91@aol.com)
Oh, and please ignore my squint eyes yall. Seriously, I dont know why I can never keep my eyes wide open for photos. But we always get a pretty good laugh at it :)

 Nothing warms my heart quite like looking back at sweet moments captured by photography. One of the reasons I love doing it so much is because I can capture these memories for others. Even if its a quick shoot in a hayfield or a goofy shoot dancing in the streets, its remembering a special time in life with the ones who are loved the most.
 
Mandy, thank you again for capturing our sweet moments with your incedible talent :)

November 5, 2014

Stitch Fix // Vol. 1

Let me start out by saying how much I love Stitch Fix.
If you have never heard of this little site, go now!
Basically, you fill out a style profile and they send you clothes (when you want them to be sent) according to your style profile.
You come home, find a box on your door and you know it is about to be a happy mail day.
Try on the pieces. The ones you love are to keep and the ones that are not so loved will simply be sent back...with no shipping charge! You can also send your stylist specific notes on a "theme" to pack. This is great if you have a wedding or photoshoot coming!
It is such a blast to me because others are picking out things I normally wouldnt pick for myself.
 This first piece was a precious heart blouse that was loved immediately. Who says you only need to wear hearts for Valentines Day?
 The second piece was this green cardigan. I am almost certain that this is the most comfortable cardigan I have ever worn. It was so soft and warm, but I hated the color. I love green but I wasnt 100% for this green. I hope that makes sense. So this little sweet cardigan had to go back.
 Of course, I had to take a photo with my little guy, Boots.
 Now this dress. I loved the pattern but yall, it made me look so stinking awkward. My shoulders looked massive and it simply wasnt flattering on me. But again, the pattern was precious. This piece was returned.
 The fourth piece was a pair of boyfriend jeans (which are always so comfortable!)
Unfortunately, they were really long and had to be rolled. Since it is getting closer to winter, I dont want pants I will have to roll because I will turn into an icecube (no exaggeration)
 I actually went back to my style profile and requested that jeans not be sent only because 99% of the time, I have to find super short legged jeans in order for them to not drag across the ground.
Short legs for the win.
The last piece was this adorable blouse. It was definitely my style and it was such a comfortable material that could be worn year- round.

Stitch Fix definitely didnt dissapoint. I am so excited for my next box because I have left my stylist a note to send Christmas/warm colors for our Christmas card photoshoot!
P.S. Would you like a Christmas card from the Flowers family?

Which pieces would you keep? Have a Stitch Fix? I would love to see your reviews!