Finding Hope In The Desert

☆ Special thanks to Zenni Optical for sponsoring this post! ☆

As you probably know, eyewear is one of my favorite accessories. Nothing can transform a look quite like adding the right pair of glasses. I wear prescriptions, so finding high quality, trendy and affordable RX lenses is a MUST.

And whenever I’m shooting outfits for my blog, I normally add the eyewear last as a finishing touch or optional accessory, but with these, my Zenni Optical eyewear actually inspired both of these desert chic looks!

I want the pink monochromatic look to draw attention to the utilitarian, stainless steel aviators. (Must note the scalloped edges on this tee (under $20) too! I love that little detail.) As for the cat eye shades (also available in reading glasses), they totally set the tone for this festival-inspired pom pom jacket (low in stock) and UFO vibes. Say no more.

Shop the look

Tee: Missguided | Jeans: ASOS | Glasses: Zenni Optical | Shoes: c/o Ivanka Trump

How To Find Hope In The Desert

1. Count your blessings

Make a list of what you’re grateful for. Once I remind myself of the overwhelming goodness that surrounds me, my heart takes a deep breath. Thankfulness resets my focus.

Remember: Your grumbles and complaints may be among your neighbor’s greatest desires. We so easily forget our miracles. Don’t let them become washed up memories, for they are Faithfulness in flesh and blood. They give us hope for the asking, faith for the knocking and belief for the seeking.

2. Put Courage In

“Encourage” simply means to put courage in. Hand out sincere compliments like candy. Challenge yourself to send one encouraging text to a friend per week! Set reminders on your phone to help.

If you think a kind thought about someone more than once, TELL THEM! We oftentimes don’t verbalize how amazing we think someone is (for whatever reason—maybe they already know, we don’t think they need to hear that from us, etc.). I personally believe we’d all feel 10000000% more hope-filled, inspired, loved, appreciated and encouraged if we took a moment to adopt the IN-courage concept! Pour courage into others, and you’ll find yourself encouraged.

3. Serve

Serving others redirects our focus and resets our hearts. Help at church, lead a small group, step up in your community. Take a mission trip or volunteer in your own backyard. The point is, help out and jump in. It’ll do your heart good.

Shop the look

Jacket: ASOS | Jeans: Old Navy | Booties: Marc Fisher | Glasses: Zenni Optical

4. Look up

Where is your head? Is it down in the trenches of your difficulty? Where are your thoughts? Hope can be found in the desert by setting our minds on things above, because God has a future and a plan for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Ask God to change your perspective to see how He sees your circumstances and the people around you. Seeing through His eyes should change the color, clarity and focus as much as me putting my pink shades on. Wow, what a change. "Wonder" from Hillsong United always reminds me of this! Check it out:

I see the world in light I see the world in wonder I see the world in life Bursting in living color I see the world your way And I'm walking in the light Turning wilderness to wonder

Colossians 3:2 – “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (NIV)

Psalm 121 – "I look up at the vast size of the mountains—from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. He holds you firmly in place; He will not let you fall. He who keeps you will never take His eyes off you and never drift off to sleep. What a relief! The One who watches over Israel never leaves for rest or sleep. The Eternal keeps you safe, so close to Him that His shadow is a cooling shade to you. Neither bright light of sun nor dim light of moon will harm you. The Eternal will keep you safe from all of life’s evils, from your first breath to the last breath you breathe, from this day and forever." (The VOICE)

5. Press On

Keep going. Don’t give up. This won’t last forever. Press through and press on.

Psalm 30:5 – “Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (NLT)

Isaiah 58:11 – “The Eternal One will never leave you; He will lead you in the way that you should go. When you feel dried up and worthless, God will nourish you and give you strength. And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended; you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.” (The VOICE)

Hebrews 12:1-2 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (NLT)

☆ Jessica Sheppard's blog and social media platforms contain affiliate links, which means a commission can be earned on your purchases. I only promote products and brands that I love...all opinions are my own. ☆

At Long Last: A Story of Love and Hope | $600 Nordstrom GIVEAWAY!


About 2.5 years ago, one of my best friends said, "Do you follow Erin Morris on Instagram? I feel like you'd love her." As I glanced through her feed, one of her most recent pictures caught my attention...her engagement proposal on the California coast. "Wow," I thought. I clicked over to her blog and caught up on her love story...she documented the whole process, even before she met her fiancé Daniel. I found myself in tears! Deeply moved by her vulnerability and openness, touched by our similarities and parallels, encouraged by a total stranger.

Since then, I too began blogging, which is how I eventually connected with Erin personally. I feel like I blab on about how much my virtual friendships mean to me, but it's LIFE. You'll soon see how much internet intersections have meant to Erin, too! :) We've not gotten to meet in person (yet), but I'm looking forward to that day.

Here's your turn to meet Erin for yourself, at least on my digital space. :) She's a writer and blogger at where she shares her passion for Jesus, fashion, travel, home, and her little family. She is a wife to Daniel, mama to Weston Joel, and has self-published two e-books and one print book. She loves coffee dates, tacos, and all things glam!

Now that we're all well acquainted, I asked Erin to share a bit of her story in honor of Valentine's Day! (I'm also giving away a $600 Nordstrom gift card with a few of my blogger friends below, so be sure to enter to win at the end of this post.)

Welcome to "once upon a time..."

Erin: I always dreamed of a special kind of love. A special kind of man. The “real deal.” That “can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach for the stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff.” Obsessed, can’t get enough, can’t live without him, best friends and soul mates, adventure-all-your-life-and-die-together-holding-hands like ‘The Notebook.’  A real man. Real. Who opens doors, really compliments your hair, notices every detail, brings you “just because” flowers, writes you cards and letters even though writing isn’t really his thing, and cherishes you. Just you. No one else. Who never makes you question it. Who shows up, is all there (in every way), who treasures. A gentleman. A good, good husband. A God-written love story. I’ve always been a dreamer, a hopeless romantic at heart. When I was a young teen, I said, “I want one man, one man only, and I want You, God, to pick ‘him’ out.”

And so, I began to pray. Aaaaand, wait. I didn’t want just any love. I wanted “it.” And I was willing to wait for “it.” The years rolled on. High school, college, my twenties started to play out. My best girlfriends began meeting their Prince Charming, walked down the aisle at their fairytale wedding, announced their baby news….and I was truly oh so happy for them. But I…still alone. I spent the years of waiting pursuing the Lord, my dreams, friendships, writing a blog full of my heart, my passions like fashion, traveling, and investing in my family and ministry. Looking back, some of the happiest and most fulfilling times of my life!

I loved being able to focus on my dreams and goals, friendships, and fabulous life! But, as those “waiting years” played out, I wondered where “he” was. Loneliness was my friend, at times. Doubt sometimes crept in. I missed “him” but I hadn’t met “him.” At some points, in darker seasons of life at that time, I wondered if I was maybe crazy for not wanting to settle for anything less than fireworks. Were my standards too high? Was I unrealistic? No. I knew my heart was right. I knew my “matching heart” was out there somewhere. And so, I continued to wait and pray. To hope. To dream.

"It is astonishing how short a time it takes for very wonderful things to happen." - Frances Burnett

And then, it all changed. Overnight. On December 29th, 2013, the love of my life would waltz into my life and sweep me off my feet, in a way I could have never imagined! 1,364 miles apart – he, on the east coast, and I, on the west. Because I’d shared my waiting journey on my blog and Instagram, a sweet blog mama friend of mine tagged me in a comment of an Instagram photo: a photo of three young men, posted by their mom, who jokingly shared the picture and captioned it with their single statuses, her desire for them to get married someday, and their ages and names! It was a joking and fun attempt to “match up” her boys. Many women commented, including a mutual friend of ours who was a blogger I’d known and trusted for a while! She tagged me in the photo, writing that I should meet the eldest of the single men, Daniel. His mom wrote to me. I rolled my eyes and continued with my constant blogger chant: “I will not meet my future husband on the Internet!” But, I replied. I was careful, he was kind. We commented back and forth on Instagram. Then, he asked for me email address and we wrote back and forth. It was all very “You’ve Got Mail” of us! Then, he asked for my phone number. And then, after weeks of talking – states apart – he told me, “I’m coming out to California to meet you.” He traveled from Maryland to Los Angeles, his viola (he’s a musician!) on his back, and we met “in person” for the first time at LAX airport. He stayed in my family’s guest room and I showed him all over Southern California’s best. It was nothing short of magical. Oh, that week getting to know him…. He was everything I’d hoped for, and more. And the rest? Is history. We fell in love, got engaged, got married, and we now have the most delightful little angel, our real life love, seven month old Weston Joel.

Prayers upon prayers, dreams and hopes were answered in the culmination of my love story. God remembered. He answered. In His perfect time. We aren’t perfect, but falling in love with your kindred spirit is bliss. He waited for me, too. And so many specific dreams came to life as we fell in love. It was…..sparks. Dreamy. Splendid. And has only grown.

Ladies in waiting, oh sisters. You are worth the wait. He is worth the wait. The love of a lifetime? It’s worth waiting for. Don’t give up hope, even when it feels like everyone else is moving on and you’re still standing alone. I can still taste the ache of waiting…I remember it, and always will. There are good, strong men out there who will woo and win and fight for and romance you. Know that. Do not settle for anything less. Even though, at times, I was mocked, questioned, misunderstood, or even pitied for it. Now…. Oh how worth the wait. Never in my life had I met a young man with such strength of character. Falling in love with him, becoming one, and starting a family has been the joy of my life. You are oh so loved, and are worthy of all the good things and love in this world. Don’t settle for anything less! The dreams and prayers will be answered. Sometimes in ways we would not plan or expect, but in ways that are oh so much better. All in good time. And it is so worth waiting for.

Read more of Erin's story in “At Long Last: A Story of Love and Hope” HERE!

I have teamed up with a great group of bloggers to give someone a $600 giftcard to Nordstrom. To enter simply complete the steps in the Rafflecopter below. Each item you complete is a separate entry so complete them all for your best chances of winning. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on 2/13 and the winner will be notified via the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

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Much love and a "happy ever after,"