Faith & Fashion by Ruthie Ridley

 

Ruthie and I are more excited about this collaboration than you’ll ever know…like, if 2017 wasn’t off to such a full throttle start, I maaaay not have been able to sleep last night for sheer first-day-of-school-feels. Good thing I’m living for my next sleep already, so that wasn’t a problem! :) Needless to say, I’m thrilled to have Ruthie share her heart full of faith and fashion on today’s post. We’re trading spaces, so head here to read my perspective!

Shop the post:

RUTHIE'S LOOK - Dress: Charlotte Russe | Boots: ASOS (30% off) | Bag: Marshall's

JESSICA'S LOOK - Sequin Top: ASOS | Shift Dress: similar here | Tights: ASOS | Over-the-knee Boots: Nordstrom Rack (60% off) | Lip Color: Tarte Moody

What is faith?! This Scripture sums it up so well for me and I have to remind myself of my core beliefs through this verse often: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) So many times in my life, I’ve had to rely on my faith to get me through difficult seasons, provide me hope even when I don’t have an answer. Countless times I’ve not seen the fruit of what I’m believing for or needing right away, but then I remember… “The evidence of things not seen.” God is faithful.

A person's belief system is built off of experience. My experience with God is this: He will always come through for me. It is almost NEVER the way I anticipate or expect, but He comes through in His way and in His timing. A Scripture that reminds me of this truth is this one: "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." (Isaiah 55:8) My relationship with God has become an issue of trust. Every day, every hour, and every season, I have to ask myself these questions honestly: "Do I believe that you are good? Do I believe that you are going to do what you say you will in your Word? Do I believe that you are faithful?" I have not mastered the art of zero fear, anxiety and restlessness, but I know that I am not looking back…I continue to choose Him even when I don't understand and I can't see two feet in front of me! Faith is a choice and a daily decision. It is what enlarges our hearts toward God and causes us to believe more and more.

On to a lighter topic, shall we?! Fashion. Fashion makes me happy…it brings me joy. I know that sounds totally crazy, but I get excited when I see a beautiful piece, gorgeous design, a nice print, cool shoes, outlandish tights and so on! Just about anything in the fashion world gets my wheels turning. I think what I love the most about fashion is that there are really no rules. What you think is cool is cool! What you don't think works doesn't have to work for you! Fashion has become a form of expression to me. I know that when I put something on, I am making a statement…I am saying something. Sometimes what I'm saying with what I wear is loud and sometimes it's quiet…but it’s a statement either way. You can make a statement in something as simple and as small as a pair of earrings or a lipstick shade, and the rest your outfit could be completely "plain."

Fashion is an art and it is a form of creativity that is always changing and evolving. It is a space where people can learn from one another and appreciate each other's tastes. I love that. Here are a few fashion bloggers that I look up to you quite a bit! You will notice that each of their styles are very different from one another but I still love their sense of style.

Happily Grey, www.happilygrey.com

Sincerely Jules, http://sincerelyjules.com

Amberfillerup, http://www.barefootblonde.com


The Pin from our Pinterest board that drove our inspiration for these looks: http://patterncurator.org

Thank you for letting me hang out in Jessica's space today! We had such a great time shooting these looks and planning it all out! We spent a few months on Pinterest adding pins to a board to get our creative juices flowing! Here you see the final product!

Stay tuned, because Jessica and I have one more really fun look coming next week that is all about the pantone colors for 2017! You do not want to miss this post! Until then, I would love to hear YOUR thoughts on faith and fashion!

Happy Monday and have an amazing week!

Ruthie

Happy 1st Birthday, jessicasheppard.com!

 

Insert streamers, jazz hands and all of the boomerangs, cause we’re celebrating jessicasheppard.com’s 1st birthday! Wow, what a whirlwind. Leading up to the New Year, I always love reviewing, remembering and recounting my steps. 2016 is especially significant since my baby blog is turning ONE. I don’t have giant gold foil balloons that spell the word “one,” but I do have one million steps and windblown hair, symbolizing my year (mmmkk), this Chicwish blazer and a $500 gift card (enter to win below).

Anyway, I was thinking no better time to take you back to my roots! Since you've only known me for one year (some of you less, some of you more?), I'm cliff-noting my 26 years with you, because we have a lot of catching up to do. Wearing my heart on my Chicwish sleeve in 3, 2, 1...

With each season of my life, I’ve seemed to discover new creative expressions and over time, I’ve developed a little collection…it’s like a jewelry box inside of me. It’s probably blush pink on the outside with a ballerina on the inside. She twirls as the tinker toy music plays in the background. It’s filled with the things I love doing and the ways I love expressing myself…the things that keep my ballerina spinning. Each piece of jewelry is an individual, unique expression of the multifaceted work I put my hands to…each one represents a different part of my personality, my abilities, my character…my flair. But cumulatively, that jewelry collection is the expression of my life. (Have I lost anyone yet?)

I tend to wonder, has each jewel always been there?...just hiding away waiting for the perfect moment to reveal itself? Or was I actually given one piece of jewelry to start with?...and the jewels somehow multiplied? That’s far too deep a subject for now, but it’s a wonder worth wondering, that’s for sure.

Anyway, to square one.

My dad has been in the Christian music industry for nearly 40 years now, so I grew up surrounded by music. I started traveling with my parents at six weeks old and grew up taking classical piano lessons. 5-year-old Jessica highly resisted practicing, while 26-year-old Jessica owes her parents her salary for not letting her quit.

Grandma Verna (Dad’s mom) was a cook, painter and seamstress. I seem to have her artistry in my blood (except I’m not too sure about the cooking part—time will tell). My parents used to have a trunk full of her fabric scraps upstairs in our loft. I would dig through the textures and patterns, safety pin, chip bag buckle, bow tie, knot and ultimately makeshift pieces of fabric together to create my look (I seriously need to find the pictures). I’d add glittery blue eyeshadow, shiny pink lipgloss and clear mascara for the full effect. Next, I’d line several beach towels out in a row at the bottom of our staircase to create a runway, get the boombox ready for action and head down the steps for the fashion show. (I guess you could say not much has changed since then.)

Fast forward to the teen years…I started playing piano at Gateway Church at age 14, developed an interest in photography through middle school, began shooting professionally in high school, graduated as a homeschooler (shout out to the cool kids club), attended Christ For The Nations Institute, discovered a love for designing jewelry (which turned into a fundraiser for a summer mission trip at CFNI), majored in art at Dallas Baptist University (which is where I discovered my love for drawing, painting and mixed media)—all the while continued to play piano at church, which is where I now serve full time as an Associate Worship Pastor at Gateway Church—the music director/pianist at our Southlake campus. I travel with various music artists, take lifestyle/portrait photographs (see a bit of my portfolio here), and when I’m not playing music or taking pictures, I’m pictured in front of the camera as a blogger (happy one year, blogosphere). So over time, my platform has grown through the variety of these creative expressions and my blog is where they all come together as one expression.

So as you can gather, faith is the foundation of my life, music is the rhythm, travel is the routine and fashion is the personality. Pictures are the gift by which I capture my life and the blog is the vehicle by which I share it.

Instead of living from a step-by-step life plan that I’ve tediously estimated and humanly calculated, I dream outlandish dreams, surrender my days to God and am obedient to what He’s asked me to do…that’s it. Everyone craves thrill and adventure, but many don’t seem to realize living a life for God is truly the riskiest life you could ever dare to live. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know today…and I do my best not to worry about tomorrow. God has always been faithful to me and I confidently stand on the fact that He’ll continue to do so. All I can do is be faithful in return with what’s in my hands…today.

With each decision I make to honor God, He seems to light up the next step at just the right time…never late, never early…one day at a time, one step at a time (I seriously wish sometimes He gave me more heads up). I picture the Dance Dance Revolution arcade game…my life is less like a dance floor and more like a path, but it looks like Dance Dance Revolution squares. A neon light illuminates the next square, and I step on it—and again—a neon light illuminates the next square, and I step on it.

This life is a story God is writing and this is where I open the pages of my God story…the blog. This is-out-of-control surrender. This is a risk worth taking. This is adventure at its finest. This is a fun chapter for us to enjoy together. And so we dance. This path is LIT.

Shop the Post:

Double Breasted Longline Blazer in Beige: c/o Chicwish (under $60) | Pants: Hudson Jeans | Booties: Sam Edelman (similar here) | Crossbody: Old Navy (similar here) | Hand Charm: Kendra Scott c/o Rocksbox (read more about Rocksbox here)

I love this blazer more than I ever would've imagined having seen it only online! Throw a black tee on, add blazer and GO! Perfect modern, minimalistic feel (complete with shoulder pads), but I added the floral chiffon underneath to keep the romantic eclectic vibe alive.


Happy 1st Birthday, jessicasheppard.com, and here's to many more. I'm excited as I continue taking the steps I know to take...one day at a time. Thanks for riding shotgun on this wild ride with me! I'm celebrating because of you. To show you my love, enter to win a $500 gift card to Lululemon! It'll be the best party favor ever to one special reader. :)

Now…it’s time for a fabulous giveaway! I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to give YOU a chance to win: a $500 Lululemon Gift Card, just in time for the first of the year!

Simply enter below by completing the rafflecopter. You’ll receive one entry per completion. This giveaway is open internationally and runs until 12/28. Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!

$500 Lululemon Gift Card a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mint Condition Transition | FAITH + FASHION

I've been thinking a lot lately about transition and how uncomfortable it can be to move from one season of life to the next. Whether it's high school to college, job to new job, single to married, married to new mom, city to another city—or if you’re paused (or seemingly stuck) somewhere in between—it can feel like a rather ungraceful process of moving through life's chapters.

If you're very familiar with Dallas weather, you'll understand the struggle: just when you think fall has arrived, don’t go pumpkin spice latte CRA, cause you might need A/C the next day. Needless to say, our region has an awkward way of moving from season to season. Many years feel as though we experience no fall at all. I’ve surprisingly enjoyed some light jacket weather this time around, but even still…fall is halfway gone and we’re continuing to hit (almost) 90° weather.

I've typically thought about the word “transition” as it relates to life’s big changes. But meanwhile in the fashion world, I see the word “transition” in a style context on a daily basis. Whether it’s a great “transitional piece,” or a versatile “transitional look,” it’s an item of clothing that serves as an aid to shift your wardrobe from one season to the next with comfort and ease.

Wow, that must be nice! What if we had that for our life transitions? Because let’s be honest…while some big life changes feel as natural as turning a crispy page in a book, others take several chapters of space, dragging on and on before any progress or advancement seems to arrive. So…are there transitional pieces suited for life's seasons? What can I “put on” to help carry me from one season to the next? (Continued below...)

Put on a teachable spirit.

Learn what you need to learn from your current season and circumstances so you can continue moving forward. I know I don’t want to be the cause of any extra delays in my life!

Put on contentment.

Don’t miss out on today looking for tomorrow. “The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived—not always looked forward to as though the ‘real’ living were around the corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.” – Elisabeth Elliot

Put on gratitude.

Watch your grumbles carefully, for they could be among your neighbor's greatest desires. I’ve often observed conversations where one friend is complaining about being up all night with her baby, while the other friend has experienced multiple miscarriages …she’d love to be up all night with a baby. Perspective is everything and a thankful heart is key!

Put on adaptability.

If you’re a planner, life might getcha real good! :) There are some things that simply cannot be anticipated (what a bummer, right?). It might look different than you expected. It might come at an odd time. But not to worry…God is never early and He’s never late. His timing is always perfect even when we don’t understand.

Put on a smile.

Enjoy the ride! :)


Top: ASOS | Pants: Old Navy | Boots: similar here | Watch: Daniel Wellington (use my code SHEPPARD for 15% off your purchase) | Lip Color: Sephora + Buxom


Similar over-the-knee looks:

If you’re not currently experiencing a transition in life, maybe you just came out of one or are headed into one. I’ve included some Scriptures below that I find particularly encouraging when I’m in a season of transition. Leave me a comment and tell me what you find helpful through a time of change, uncertainty, or waiting! I'd love to hear what you think.

Happy transitioning! – said no one ever. :)

Much love,

Jess


“If God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:30-34


“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” – Psalm 37:3-4


“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13


“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” – Romans 12:15


“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25


"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7


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