DressemberWeekendUpdate_In all our trials, born to be our Friend

Lyric of the Day: In all our trials, born to be our Friend- O Holy Night 

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Dressember Day 19

Dress: Free People

Scarf: Steve Madden

Sweater: Michael Kors

Coat: Jessica Simpson

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Dressember Day 20

Dress: Theory

Sweater: H&M

Boots: Michael Kors

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Dressember Day 21: The SNOW outside the Colorado Airport! 

Dress: Forever 21

Jacket: Anthracite by Muse

Scarf: Forever 21

Surprises from friends. Surprises for friends. A White Christmas. These three things defined my weekend and helped to color the already joyful season that I am sad is almost at an end! With so much joy and fun around, it is sobering to remember Dressember but in the back of my mind, the dignity of the people I am advocating for keeps me motivated and so thankful for those who have joined me in this challenge.

Speaking out about such a heart-breaking problem in our world today, during a time of year when everyone wants to essentially “forget their troubles” is not an easy thing. While it’s been fun picking out different dresses, blogging, and being supported financially and through prayer from you all; every time I’ve put on a dress this month, a piece of my heart breaks for those unable to forget their troubles, even for a season. When hearing one of my favorite Christmas songs sung more beautifully than I have ever heard it at a concert this weekend, I was reminded of the true reason Jesus was born. To be God with us. Save us from suffering for our sin in the next life and in this life: “In all our trials, born to be our Friend.” What an indescribable gift! As Jesus told His disciples “In this world, you will have trouble” but Jesus has come down in order to be by our side in these hard times so that we will never walk alone. This alone gives me hope and comfort for the problem of modern slavery in this world, and I pray you have the same hope in all the trials in your life. I hope you don’t forget the friendship you have in Christ. He is a friend who sticks closer than a Brother. He is never too busy, never too early, never too late. Let’s not forget to give Him the gift of our Hearts for His birthday, as we are busy seeing our loved ones and spending time: let’s keep close to our hearts this Comforting, Loving Friend who came to make all things new and never let us walk alone. If we don’t get anything else that we wanted for Christmas, we have His friendship, in which we have everything we could ever need.

Please consider and pray about donating and supporting this world-changing organization on my page through this link: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/checkout/donation?fcid=372170 

DressemberDays17&18_ The Hopes & Fears of All the Years, Are Met in Thee Tonight.

Lyric of the Day: The hopes & fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.- “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”

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Dressember Day 17

Dress: Free People

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Dressember Day 18

Dress: Mimi Chic

Vest: Love on a Hanger

Ankle Boots: Michael Kors

“Now when I think about my life, it’s all about happiness… I still remember that first day after the rescue operation, when I work up in my own home. It suddenly struck me that I am free, rescued from slavery in India”- Vasanthi, Rescued forced labor slave in India, saved through the work of the International Justice Mission.

Reading these words on the Christmas Card from International Justice Mission, and seeing Vasanthi’s picture encouraged me in this sometimes difficult process about the change that this challenge is making in the world, the change that you and I are a part of in knowing about this problem, and what we are doing to raise awareness. Awareness is what leads to activism. Activism leads to abolishing slavery in our world today.

Reading Vasanthi’s stories and the countless other stories from slaves that have been freed reminds me of the words of Jesus’ mother Mary in her song of delight after she was told that she is going to be the Mother of the Messiah. Although it was the time of greatest fear in her life (it was custom for a woman who was pregnant outside of the confines of marriage was punished by death); it was also the time of greatest joy and anticipation. Isn’t that the truth about all things in life? Everything wonderful starts out a little scary, doesn’t it? But we take comfort in the great truths that Mary sang, “For He has been mindful of my humble state”. What a reason to rejoice! The King of Heaven and Earth was mindful of the state of a young, teenager who was part of the most marginalized, looked down upon social groups in the world: young women. And He chose her to carry out the most important mission in the history of the world: the Birth of Jesus Christ. The beginning of mercy, grace and true freedom in the world. Are you in a time of great fear or great unknown? He is mindful of your state. Eyes & heart are fixed on you and He has engraved you on the palm of His hands. This is the truth that has changed the world from the first Christmas til today for You, Me, Vasanthi, the 135 million slaves in the world, the 79% of that number that are women. He is mindful of all of our fears, doubts, joys, hopes and despite the current state of the world, there is a reason to praise Him and know that He is Immanuel, God with Us. Whom shall we fear? May we have courage to be His hands & feet and show love to the “least of these”, just as He did.

Please consider and pray about donating and supporting this world-changing organization on my page through this link: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/checkout/donation?fcid=372170 

DressemberDay16_Children Singing, all is Merry & Bright

Lyric of the day: “…Children Singing. All is merry & bright”- Here Comes Santa Claus

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Dressember Day 16

Dress: Kenzie

Necklace: Swarovski

One of the most beautiful gifts of this Christmas season is that for just a little while, we all get to be children again. We get to, like the song says “experience Christmas like a child”. Laying aside the worries of our day-to-day routines, and get caught in a magical moment of anticipation, joy, merriness and brightness. I think there is something we can all learn from children during this season and always. To, just for a few magical moments, sing instead of talk, dance instead of walk, play instead of work, make music instead of noise. This is what it means to experience Christmas like a child, to have childlike faith and innocence rekindled during this season is the best gift that we can give ourselves.

I hope you all have children in our lives to admire and learn from like I do. As I watch them grow and adapt to their environments, and celebrate this season, I can’t help but think about the approximately 150 million children around the world who do not get to experience Christmas like a child because they are part of the horrible epidemic of child slavery in our world today. Children who have had their innocence stolen from them, the magic of this season is nonexistent. I know it seems like an insurmountable number, but in the spirit of Christmas; we must trust and with childlike faith and unstoppable perseverance, fight for the pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father which is caring for orphans in their distress (James 1:27). It is not an easy truth to acknowledge in our world today, but we must. Without awareness, change cannot occur. And though it may feel like all we do is work and wait, we know that it is not in vain. Like the advent season reminds us, we never labor in vain. All of God’s promises are Yes in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Messiah has come to set all captives free, as they will be in Heaven. But He has placed us here on earth to be His light, His hands, His feet; freedom cannot just wait until Heaven. The issue of slavery in our world is not a social justice issue, it’s a spiritual issue. It’s not something to be on the fence about. It’s a reality and you are either fighting against it, or accepting it as a reality. And by accepting it, you are on the side of the perpetrators of slavery in this world. I will not accept this and I hope you don’t either. I pray for the day that all the children, sing together. When all is truly, merry & bright.

If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large”- William Wilberforce

If you would like to support me in this cause to raise money for the International Justice Mission, please follow the link:

https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=372170

Dressember Weekend Update_He comes to make His blessings flow

Lyric of the Day: “He comes to make His blessings flow”- Joy to the World

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Dressember Day 12:

Coat: Jessica Simpson

Wedge Boots: Ella Moss

Dress: Socialite

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Dressember Day 13:

Sweater: Calvin Klein

Dress: Eight- Sixty

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Dressember Day 14

Dress: Forever 21

Coat: Jessica Simpson

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Beanie: USC

Scarf: Homemade Santa Scarf

Boots: Steve Madden

Socks: CHRISTMAS PRESENTS! 🙂

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Dressember Day 15

Sweater: Papaya

Dress: Cielo

Boots: Steve Madden

This weekend was full of blessings. Blessings of Fellowship. Friends. Food. Family. When I heard this lyric during our Christmas service at church on sunday, I thought about the fact that we use the word blessing a lot in conversation (my instagram handle itself is “beablessing”) “I’m so blessed”. “Count your blessings”. I realize as I think about this weekend that a blessing is something we receive as much as something that we should share with others. The gift that keeps on giving. We can be a blessing and receive a blessing and give a blessing but what does it really mean? During Christmas, we draw our attention to things, people, experiences, recognize them as blessings and are particularly thankful for them. Isn’t that the magic of this season? Everything seems like a blessing during Christmas and the truth is that everything is a blessing, no matter what the season. Blessings aren’t just the gifts we open on Christmas morning. Or even the way that God provided for us to buy those gifts. They are also the hard things. Blessings are not just the positive experiences. but The true blessing of life is found in the two truths that these blessed lyrics in Joy to the World describe so beautifully: Jesus has come and because of this, the blessings in our life will never stop flowing. The advent season reminds us of this truth that everything is a blessing because now Jesus has arrived and He brings magic into every moment of life. And when we live like every moment is magic, life truly is a blessing and we are able to share our blessing of a life with others and give that gift to those who really need it. That’s the true reason He has come. That we may have life and live it to the fullest and we can only do that when the definition of a blessing is the way our lives positively affect others, not the things that positively affect our lives. “He comes to make the blessings flow.” If you would like to join me in giving and being a blessing to the millions of people, especially women in slavery, please support my Dressember campaign for the international Justice Mission here: https://support.dressemberfoundation.org/fundraise?fcid=372170

DressemberDays10&11: Your Beauty Green Will Teach Me

Lyric of the Day: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree! Your leaves are so unchanging

….Your beauty green will teach me
That hope and love will ever be
The way to joy and peace for me.

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Dressember Day #10

Dress: Forever 21

Coat: Jessica Simpson

Boots: Michael Kors

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Dressember Day #11

Sweatshirt: Disney

Dress: Steve Madden

Elf Socks: Wherever my secret santa got them 😉

Change is an interesting thing. It’s something we fight for and fight against. It’s something no one goes through life without experiencing. I love how nature reflects our lives. The seasons change, and so do we. As the earth changes, it teaches us lessons. The falling leaves helps us let go of dead things and in life, and the Evergreen leaves that never change teach us that although there are things we must let go of, there are things we also must hold onto. These things are hope, love, joy, peace.

There is so much in the world that needs to change, especially the epidemic of modern slavery facing our world today. But the only way to change the terrors facing our world, is to bravely hold onto the virtues of hope, love, peace and joy as if our lives depended on it. Because they do. The lives of the estimated 35 million people in slavery today depend on us holding onto hope in the face of despair caused by this heartbreaking injustice in our world. To believe that we can, and we are making a difference. This is a problem we would like to have let go of like trees let go of dead leaves in the fall, but here in winter, we welcome this season of waiting and hoping and working towards spring, with hope that remains green like the leaves on a Christmas tree in the face of the fiercest winter, that true freedom can and will become a reality for everyone in our world today and in generations to come.

DressemberDay9_Blue Christmas

Lyric of the Day: You’ll be doing alright, with your Christmas of white but I’ll have a blue, blue, blue, blue Christmas. 

As Sung by the King of Rock, Elvis Presley in honor of re-wearing the dress I wore when I visited the historic RCA Studio B, where he recorded much of his work.

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Dressember Day 9

Dress:Like Mynded

Jacket: Kenneth Cole

Necklace: From a boutique in New Hampshire– a preserved mustard seed and a pendant that says “Faith of a mustard Seed”

Ankle Boots: Boutique9

As Christmas fast-approaches and we get caught up in the business that the season brings, trying to find just the right present or attend just the right amount of Christmas events, we have to remember that not everyone’s Christmas is White this year. There are many who will be experiencing pain and suffering beyond what we can imagine. To us, a blue Christmas is just a concept in a song. To the estimated 35 million slaves in our world, a blue Christmas is their reality.

In her book, Radically Ordinary, Marquita Burke-DeJesus said in her writings about working with child slaves in Cambodia, “I cannot fail these girls by diverting my eyes from the invisible residue of slavery that clings to them like a shadow.”

This quote, and book, is so convicting for me. Participating in this challenge is such a small act of faith that I stepped out in and although this cause is close to my heart and constantly in the back of my mind and in my prayers. But modern-day slavery is not my every day reality and it is something that I can easily forget about in the next decade, or year, or even month. So how do we remind ourselves of others’ suffering when it feels like we can’t do anything about it from such a distance? By not diverting our eyes because their pain is too uncomfortable for us. By never allowing our advocacy efforts to be silenced or put on the back burner, or invalidated. It’s fighting for the cause, each and every day. When I view the pain that this season brings millions of people, it’s not so hard to have a blue Christmas. In fact, we all should be having a blue christmas this year. We all must have a certain part of our hearts break in order to produce effective change in the problem of slavery throughout our world. Their experiences will not leave them, our passion for this cause should never leave us.

“Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me.”- William Wilberforce.

DressemberDay8__Oh Christmas Lights, Keep Shining On

Lyric of the Day: Oh Christmas Lights, Keep Shining On

By Coldplay

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Dressember Day 8:

Dress: Xhiliration by Target

Jacket: Blanc Noire

Boots: Steve Madden

Wake up and smell the poinsettias! 🙂 My Dressember picture today features my two favorite things about Christmas: Lights & poinsettias. As tradition goes, we put on Christmas Lights as a symbol of Jesus, coming into our world as the ultimate Light in the darkness.

There is also an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettia’s and Christmas come together, it goes like this:

There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up.
‘Pepita’, he said “I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy.”

Pepita didn’t know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena’, or ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ.

Reading the history of these Christmas traditions brings so much perspective and meaning to the different aspects of our celebrations. As we join together in the movement to eradicate slavery in the world and bring light to very dark places in our world, we must be reminded of the words that Eleanor Roosevelt once said “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. We can waste so much time focusing on the problem, cursing the darkness, wondering why such evil exists in the world. But wouldn’t the time be better spent lighting the candle, spreading awareness, rehabilitating those in need and effecting positive change? We may be like Pepita and not have much to bring. But God can use our seeds and grow them into beautiful flowers that reflect His love and sacrifice throughout the world.

This Christmas, I pray that we will discover the light within our hearts and never “hide it under a bushel”, as the well-known children’s song goes. We all can do something. We all have a light, we all have a seed. May your light shine in the dark places of the world this season as you help others and may God grow the seed you bring and bring beauty to its surroundings.