“Just”…

I’m having a hard time letting go of this tree.  It’s dead.  But, I keep thinking…Maybe the Lord will resurrect it!  Maybe it will bud this year!  Oscar is ready to chop it down, but I don’t want him to. I don’t know why…I mean, it’s just a tree…

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When I was in High School, I worked at nice restaurant in town as a Hostess.  I remember the owner was standing near by while I was seating a couple & as they walked in, I asked, “Just two tonight?”, they said “Yes”, & I showed them to a table.  When I came back the owner said, “Please don’t ask that again.  You can say ‘Two tonight?’ or ‘One tonight?’.  But, do not say ‘Just…’ they are our guests, they aren’t just a number & you don’t know their story.”

I was thinking about this the other day when someone told me that “you don’t understand, you just have two kids”.  I thought of my former boss.  Because he was right.  It’s never “just“.

I looked up the definition of the adverb “just”…simply; only; no more than.

It made me think.  We never know.  But God knows.

I am not just a wife, just a mom, just a…the list could go on.  We are not just a family of four.

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For you, too.  You are not just anyone.  You are His.  Bought with a price.

{You are so much more than you know.}

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And maybe that’s why I feel like it’s not just a tree.  To me it’s a symbol of a season where everything seemed to be dying & I’m just trying to hang on to some hope that He will breathe new life into this season again.

But, He’s teaching me, sometimes, you have to let go, plant some new seeds, & have faith that in this new season, a fresh anointing will fall & new life will spring forth.

No, it’s not just a tree.  It’s never just

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Project: {Style} III

Project: {Style} – Because, as we grow & change, our style is always evolving.  I love fashion & beauty.  I think it is FUN.  I’m figuring out what I’m comfortable in, & I’m figuring out what makes me happy.  {*NOTE: I know that beauty & fashion, are not THE source of happiness.  Jesus is my sole source of Joy.  But, He made us to appreciate beauty.  To see Him in the beauty.  This is just a fun project in finding an outward expression of the joy I feel on the inside.}

Also: Yes, style is {FUN}.  But, let’s be honest, some days/weeks, it just feels like {work}.

That was me this week.  I haven’t been “feelin’ it”.  I wore a lot of work clothes, because, well, the last couple months I’ve been helping working for my Dad at his Pioneer Seed (corn, soybean, milo, etc.) warehouse.  And IT.IS.GLAMOROUS. 😉

Ha.  Well, it may not be {glamorous}, but it is {FUN}.  {FUN} because I get to work with my Dad (& sometimes, my Grandpa).  {FUN} because Zane & Alice get to spend time with their Great-Grandparents.  & {FUN} because it’s not all year. 😉

SO, in the realm of {keeping’ it real}, this is what I looked like, more days than not, this week…

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{T-Shirt: Pioneer Seed | Work Pants: Carhart | Shoes: Old}

Style is {FUN}, but don’t feel like you need to “have it all together” all of the time.

Style is the most {FUN} when it’s {REAL}.


And then today some {very special} shirts came in the mail.  They were part of a fundraiser for a fellow Noonday Ambassador & her family to raise funds to bring their little girl home from the Congo.  The shirts say “Your grace abounds in deepest waters.”

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{Shirt: Fundraiser | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Toms | Accessories: Noonday Collection}

Because when the waters are deep, it takes a lot of {faith}.  Because when the waters are deep, it’s {hard}.  Because when the waters are deep, {He shines the brightest}.

Such a {good} reminder.
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I leave you with this…this girl is {always} dancing.  {ALWAYS}.

Don’t forget to enjoy the moment.

Because sometimes I need to remember that, too.
{Don't forget to dance.}

{Don’t forget to dance.}

Will you join me in Project: {Style}?  Fashion should be {FUN}.  No matter what size or shape you are.

What do you feel comfortable in?

What do you find beautiful?

{YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!}

Until next time…

{Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday & Happiness at Mid Life for TBT Fashion.}

Project: {Style} II

Project: {Style} – Because, as we grow & change, our style is always evolving.  I love fashion & beauty.  I think it is FUN.  I’m figuring out what I’m comfortable in, & I’m figuring out what makes me happy.  {*NOTE: I know that beauty & fashion, are not THE source of happiness.  Jesus is my sole source of Joy.  But, He made us to appreciate beauty.  To see Him in the beauty.  This is just a fun project in finding an outward expression of the joy I feel on the inside.}

I dropped the ball this week.  My Mom, Zane (4yrs), Alice (3yrs), & myself, ventured to Texas to pick up Brave, the pony.  So, needless to say, I snapped a lot of photos of the great “Brave” adventure, but not a lot of out outfits…& I was mostly in leggings (best travel companion, ever.) & long, comfy tops.

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{Brave is the little pony in the middle…}

Here is one I took though…

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{Shirt: Old Navy | Pants: Gap | Sandals: Birkenstocks | Accessories: Noonday Collection}

 This is a super easy outfit.  I finally found a Chambray shirt that I connect with.  Old Navy for the win!  Whenever I have the chance, I order the Tall size, because it’s often longer, & I like that.

ALSO!  The Silk Road Clutch {made with love in Afghanistan} that I’m holding is 30% off this week!!  Along with the (yellow) Bengal Necklace {made with love in India} & Jaipur Earrings {made with love in India} that I’m wearing as well!  Everything at Noonday Collection is {handmade with love} by our amazing Artisan Partners.

Isn’t the hand embroidery on this clutch stunning?

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{You can shop this sale at stephaniemontes.noondaycollection.com}

Will you join me in Project: {Style}?  Fashion should be {FUN}.  No matter what size or shape you are.

What do you feel comfortable in?

What do you find beautiful?

{YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!}

Until next time…

{Linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday}

This is us now…

Not sure why, maybe it’s because I need an outlet, a place to put a “voice” to some of the crazy that has been keeping me up at night…but at any rate. Here I am. I’m back. And I’ve changed. Thank you Lord, I’ve changed, and I am still changing. Thank you, again, Lord.

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This is us now.  Well, within the last year.  We’ve changed a lot.  We’ve grown.  We’ve been tested.  We’ve mourned.  We’ve celebrated.  We’ve been refined.  We are still being refined.  We are learning to be real disciples…not just the scholarly type.  You may be offended by {or not agree with} what I type.  And I’m ok with that.  This is a record of a journey.  A beautiful journey.  I’m “setting up stones”, or recording stories, to remember where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going.  I’m expecting to grow more.  I’m expecting to be challenged more.  So here is where we are, and here is where we’ve been the last few years…

These past couple of years have been years of growth for our family. We welcomed sweet, spunky, all-around amazing, Alice to our fam on April 19, 2012.  She blesses my socks off daily.  Zane has been an awesome “big brother” to her, and I’ve seen him grow in awesome ways as well since her arrival on earth.  They are a JOY.  Yes, we have hard moments.  Yes, we have hard days.  Yes, we aren’t perfect.  Yes, I have more crazy moments than sane most days. Yes, I know some of our parenting methods are “different”. YES, we do read the Bible.  YES, we do pray for our kids, constantly.  YES, we live daily in the grace and mercy of our Savior.  Bless.  We are so blessed.

We found out in July of 2013 that we were expecting sweet babe #3. And on August 22nd of 2013, our sweet babe when to be with Jesus. Miscarriage is a precarious event. People do not really know how to act. But some people, some people DO know how to act. Some know how to pray (not just say they will, but actually take the time to pray, right then and there. That matters, folks. That matters a. lot.) and how to be there.  A baby is a baby no matter how small.  We prayed and we mourned and we knew God was sovereignly in control of our tiny lives.

Then, in February of 2014, we found out we were expecting sweet babe #4. (#4 because, again, all babies count. No matter what “age”.) And on March 13th of 2014 our sweet babe #4 went to be with Jesus. March was a tough month. March 2nd was our sweet babe #3’s “due” date. And some sweet friends also said “see you soon” to their sweet girl. The Lord is gracious. And oh so close the the broken hearted.  Thank you, Jesus.  Let me never forget these moments.

I am so grateful to friends who can have a babe whenever they will, and have a house full. Blessed. I know it’s a lot of work, blessed work. And I pray for you and the warriors you are raising.  But I am REALLY grateful for the sweet friends who have experienced loss, and who are brave to talk about it, and share in others’ grief. And pray, even when it brings up memories of hurt and loss, pray because you’ve been there.  Thank you. Thank for being there, and thank you for teaching me how to be brave. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being a safe place for me to grow and be real.

So here we go…