Life Is Tough, But So Are You

This post contains affiliate links. I received the tee to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

I have a problem when life sends tough stuff my way. I tend to focus on the tough stuff and not on the way through it. I wallow. I worry. I complain. Life is tough, and I don’t like it.

I’m really thankful God is growing me in this area and doesn’t allow me to stay in that place for long. Life IS tough, but so am I. I didn’t always think this way. Strong and tough were not labels I would have always claimed. That has changed over the past fifteen years because I’ve been through moments that required strength I didn’t even know I had. Rather than focus on the fear, worry, or discouragement I felt in those tough moments, I choose to focus on the toughness inside of me that carried me through and brought me out a better person on the other side.

What are those tough moments in your life that uncovered your strength?

For me, three particular times of my life come to mind. These are all very positive events in my life, but they each required (or still require) all the toughness I could pull together.

  • Childbirth
  • Motherhood
  • Running a marathon

Childbirth and running a marathon tested my body beyond what I ever imagined, but they also maxed out my mental toughness. I have so much joy associated with the memories of giving birth to our boys and crossing that marathon finish line, but I also knew that I could do just about anything if I could make it through those exhausting feats.

Motherhood is a whole different kind of tough and this is where I needed (and still need) the biggest mental adjustment. It is also where I need the strength of God inside me most. Raising children is no joke, people, but it is some of the most important work I will do. My children will make mistakes, butt heads with me, and need the same lessons taught to them many times. We’re all sinners and life together is messy. When it gets tough, I need to not feel defeated or discouraged, but rather repeat to myself: “This is tough, but so are you.”

Now I have the shirt to remind me:

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When I don’t have the toughness I need, I know God is there to strengthen me and to surround me with family and friends that will hold me up and call out that strength. We need to be those people for each other.

I know so many people going through hard things – illnesses, divorce, natural disasters, job loss, etc. I wish I could give each of you a great big hug, pray with you, then remind you that you are just as tough as those circumstances. Let’s be done with despair and defeat and worry. I’m ready to embrace my toughness with a smile.

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The new “Life Is…” t-shirt line from Cents of Style captures all of life perfectly. Life is tough, but it is also beautiful, sweet, grand, and an adventure. However you see life or WANT to see life, one of shirts will speak to you!

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The “Life Is” collection launches today with a fabulous sale! Pick your favorite shirt and use the code LIFEIS1 at checkout to get it for just $15.95 with free shipping! That is a huge steal for these gorgeous, high quality tees.

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How do you see life? How do you want to embrace this life? Grab a shirt today to claim that vision!

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The Best of Fall Fashion!

This post contains affiliate links. I received the sweater to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

This time of year is a struggle for me. The calendar says fall starts this week and it is my FAVORITE SEASON EVER. The temperatures this week, however, are still screaming SUMMER. I really don’t like that at all. While I hide from these 90º days, I’m going to dream of sweaters and jeans and boots until they become a reality.

Thankfully, Cents of Style is there to indulge my love for fall fashion with the most amazing pieces to wear this season. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites from their new releases, but it only scratches the surface! Let’s start with these fabulous fall fashions:

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clockwise from top left

  1. Jessa Diamond Sweater Kimono – more details AND a sweet discount later in the post!
  2. Tobin Cut Out Ankle Bootie – I love this new take on the ankle boot this year. The cut-out detail gives it so much fun flair!
  3. Diana Geometric Cutout Dangle Earrings – Fall screams gold to me. I love the warmth of it paired with browns and reds and oranges. These make a statement – and kind of look like leaves!
  4. Rylan Crochet Peasant Tunic – I adore this color and tunics are my favorite. Paired with jeans, boots, and those gold earrings…ah, fall perfection.
  5. Nisha Wool Panama Hat – Everybody needs a great fall hat. Go with a brown one like this to complement the colors of autumn!
  6. Esther Wood and Gold Cuff Bracelet – More gold jewelry, I know, but doesn’t your arm deserve to get in on the fall fun? Love this bold, but simple cuff! And the wood accents are genius!
  7. Lexia Geometric Kimono – If you live in a place with a warmer fall, this lightweight kimono might be more appropriate. I just can’t get over the fun geometric pattern and fringe!
  8. Giovanna Glass Bead Necklace – Long tassel necklaces pair perfectly with long sweaters and skinny jeans. The camel color is very in this fall, so this necklace will match every outfit!

Now back to that diamond sweater kimono…

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THIS is the reason I want the temps to cool down. I want to wrap myself up in sweaters that feel like blankets and not sweat to death!

A sweater kimono is a layering piece to take everywhere with you this fall. I’m picturing a hayrack ride or bonfire…pardon my daydreaming, but I just want to go there right now! The key to pulling off this look with a heavier piece on top is to keep the pants nice and sleek. I would opt for skinny jeans or leggings with boots to complete the fall look!

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You have to get your hands on this sweater kimono, so we’re offering you a deal! Use the code KIMONOHOME at checkout to get the Jessa Diamond Sweater Kimono for only $17.95, including free shipping!

The sweater kimono is available in four great colors (navy is sold out – bummer) that will make any fall outfit pop AND keep you nice and snug. The black is stunning, the gray makes a subtle statement, and the burgundy is bold and beautiful!

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I needed a brown sweater to round out my fall wardrobe and this one is it. I’m picturing it layered over burnt orange, plum, and, of course, lots of cream or white. So many options, and it has the cutest wood buttons on the sides to create sleeves!

Go grab your sweater kimono for just $17.95 with code KIMONOHOME before they sell out!

Which color did you choose? What are your fall fashion favorites from Cents of Style?

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The Boot & Scarf Combo Sale is Better Than Ever!

This post contains affiliate links.

This is my very favorite sale from Cents of Style every year, but I think this year is the best yet!

On this fourth anniversary of Fashion Friday, Cents of Style is celebrating by offering the boot and scarf combo with the pieces every woman needs this fall: ankle boots and a blanket scarf! When you use the code FOURYEAR, you’ll get the boots AND scarf for only $29.95 with free shipping! CRAZY GOOD DEAL!

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I wasn’t sure how I felt about ankle boots for a long time, but last year, I fell in love with them.

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Skinny jeans, wide leg jeans, even a dress pairs perfectly with ankle boots! The ankle boots in this sale come in four great colors: black, tan, taupe, and burgundy.

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After you’ve picked out your favorite ankle boot, just pick out your favorite of the six blanket scarves offered in this deal, enter the code FOURYEAR at checkout, and you’ll get everything for $29.95 shipped! I ADORE my Cents of Style blanket scarves!

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I am just dying over these fabulous combos for fall:

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I really need to pick quickly, and you should, too, because this deal always sells out FAST! You can use the code FOURYEAR to get the ankle boot/blanket scarf for only $29.95 shipped through Sunday, September 18th!

Grab your combo, then tell me what you picked in the comments!

 

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The Ethically-Made Tunic

I am an Elegantees ambassador. I received this tunic at a discounted price and receive a commission when you purchase with my discount code at no extra cost to you!

Tunics are a wardrobe staple for me. I can pair them with leggings, skinny pants, or jeans. A tunic can be dressed up or down easily with the right accessories and shoes. And tunics are oh-so-comfy!

Yes, I love tunics, but I’ve discovered one stands above the rest for an important reason: it is ethically-made and provides meaningful employment for women rescued from sex trafficking in Nepal!

Elegantees is a favorite shop of mine because of their mission AND gorgeous designs. Elegantees designs are what I would consider “basics with a flair.” Their tops and dresses can be worn so many ways. I was so excited when they asked me to share one of their latest designs which just launched today!

Ethically-Made Tunic

The Madeline is a fabulous dropped shoulder, a-line tunic. It is both comfortable and classic. The navy will transition so well into all the fall outfits I have planned, particularly with boots and skinny pants!

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One of my favorite things about the Madeline is the length. Some “tunics” these days are not quite long enough to cover my behind, but the Madeline does so quite well. I am 5’6″ and wearing an XS, so I think you’ll be quite happy with the length no matter your size!

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It may seem weird to be excited about this, but the Madeline tunic is also MACHINE WASHABLE! As a busy mom, I do not do well with “hand-wash only” items. I just can’t do it. I need pieces I can wear and wash and wear over and over again!

The Madeline tunic also comes in beech (olive green) and marsala (soft rose/pink). I am seriously considering adding both to my fall wardrobe because I LOVE THIS TUNIC.

Elegantees has so many great fall pieces in their line right now – you MUST get to shopping. I even have a discount for you – use “homewiththeboys” to get 10% off your entire order! Please let me know if you have questions about sizing, etc. I’m happy to help because I am happy, regular Elegantees customer! It’s pretty amazing to know the clothes you love to wear are also employing women who have been freed from the sex trade. When you get your first piece with this tag, you’ll know how I feel:

Elegantees Tag

Which Elegantees items will you be adding to your wardrobe?

What are your favorite ways to wear tunics?

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It’s a Sister Thing

This post contains affiliate links.

My sister and I have not lived in the same place during our adult years. Despite the miles between us, we are closer than ever. Marriage and motherhood have given my sister and I so much to bond over. She is a wonderful aunt to our boys, and her two daughters and my three boys just adore each other! We only live less than three hours apart, so I’m thankful we get to see each other in person several times a year. And phone calls are a must, when we can find a few minutes of quiet!

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Now we’re adding another bonding experience. This fall, my sister and I will do something we’ve never done before: take a sisters-only trip! The trip is about sister time and being able to chat for hours without kids interrupting us (YAY!), but it’s also about another shared interest: running!

Sisters First Half

My sister ran my first 5K with me and I had the fun privilege of running with her for her first half marathon last fall. Next up is our sisters trip to run another half marathon together! We’ll also get some fun shopping and relaxing time before and after the race and I CANNOT WAIT!

Sis, if you’re reading this, I am super thankful for you and for the way our relationship has grown better and better over the years. I have a little present for you to celebrate our trip and our friendship. (I just borrowed it for a few minutes for this photo shoot, but it’s all yours!)

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I like to wear reminders of the things that are important to me and I like to give gifts that do the same. This rose gold “Sister” necklace is both meaningful and fashionable – does it get any better?! I know it will look perfect on my gorgeous sister!

Sister Necklace

Cents of Style has so many great necklaces to celebrate the things important to us in their Tribe collection and they are just $11.99 each with free shipping when you use the code TRIBE4 at checkout! Just look at all the amazing choices in this collection:

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At this price, I think I need go order a few more for myself (since the sister one is for my sister!) and as gifts!

What Tribe necklace will you be ordering during this sale? Don’t forget to use the code TRIBE4 and order before this sale ends!

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A “Be Brave” Update & Sale!

I received the featured product to review from Cents of Style. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

It’s been two months since I first wrote these words…

I feel just about everything except brave today.

I felt brave seven months ago when I decided I would train for my first marathon the following spring.

I felt brave when I filled out my registration for the Fargo Marathon and sent it in.

I felt brave as I started my marathon training plan in February with my eyes set on conquering my next running goal.

I even felt brave as I finished my 20-miler a month ago, the longest run I would do during my marathon training.

Today, the day before my first marathon, those brave feelings escape me, so I’m writing this now to remind myself of the brave moments that led me to this one.

I’m also writing this to remember that I am not brave on my own. I am brave because my God looks at me and says, “You can be brave because I am with You.”…

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I’m wearing my Be Brave shirt from Cents of Style today as we drive north to Fargo for my first marathon. It is just the encouragement I need running through my head as the time to run (a REALLY long way) draws closer. Be brave – embrace it with me (and maybe pray for an extra does of it for me?!) today!

Just a few days later, I completed my first marathon and it was incredible. You can read all about the race here, but you should know that running those 26.2 miles made me feel like I could do just about anything. Two months later and I’m still feeling that bravery. I even signed up for my second marathon!

Do you need a reminder to be brave? Or be still? Or be kind or bold or true?

Be Series tees

The whole line of “Be Series” tees from Cents of Style is on sale today only for just $15.95 each + free shipping with the code BRAVE1 at checkout!

Pick your word and grab your tee during this great sale – I know you will be inspired wearing your reminder!

Which of these words do you want to BE?

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At Home in the Good Life

I received this necklace for review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

I grew up in South Dakota. The same city and state my whole childhood. I loved “my” state.

When it came time to choose a college, however, I needed to spread my wings a little. I didn’t fly too far, just to neighboring Nebraska, where I found my place as a Husker. Lincoln was just supposed to be my college home, but it became much more.

In Lincoln, I found a personal relationship with Jesus. My faith changed and grew and made me a new person in Christ starting my freshman year of college.

In Lincoln, I met my husband. We were both in the Cornhusker Marching Band. He proposed to me in the Sunken Gardens. We got married in Lincoln and made it through some major challenges together in those first few years.

In Lincoln, we bought our first home. Just two months before our first child was born, we found a cute little place to call our own. We moved in record time with the largest moving crew of friends ever just one month before Big J made his arrival.

In Lincoln, all three of our children were born. Three handsome boys joined our family in the span of six years. Each boy was dedicated to the Lord at our church in Lincoln.

We no longer live in Lincoln, but we have found our place here in Nebraska. It truly is the Good Life. While South Dakota will always be my birth state, Nebraska is home.

When I saw the new state necklace design from Cents of Style, featuring the state name and the coordinates of that state’s capitol, I knew immediately it would be a treasure for me.

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Lincoln is the capitol of Nebraska and holds a very special place in my heart, for all the reasons listed above and more.

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I was hesitant to leave Lincoln at first, but we love our new hometown and I can’t imagine living anywhere else but Nebraska. I still love Lincoln and I can hold it and all its wonderful memories close with this beautiful double-bar necklace.

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This new state necklace design- with state name and capitol coordinates – AND the original Cents of Style state necklace are just $11.99 each with free shipping this weekend with the code NEWSTATE at checkout!

Tell me about the state that has captured your heart! Which state necklace will you order and why?

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American Dreamers + a Free Tee for You!

I received this tank for review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve written a few times on here about the American dream. It is a concept which makes me both a little bit uncomfortable and a little bit hopeful all at the same time. I suppose it has to do with the perspective with which you view the phrase “American dream.”

It started out all hopeful so many years ago – people coming to the United States to freely pursue their dreams. Most of these people just dreamed of providing for their families. Some had bigger dreams. All associated the American dream with hope, joy, freedom.

Somewhere along the way, the American dream became something to chase. Instead of holding on to our own hopes or pursuing our own dreams, we started to compete and compare. This is the world we live in right now.

The American dream has drove many of us to despair, but I want to be a different kind of American dreamer.

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Hope. Faith. Generosity. This is my dream.

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I don’t want to earn more money to get ahead. I want to bless others out of God’s abundance.

I don’t want to cram my calendar full with things that make me look “good.” I want to leave time and space in my schedule to love others well.

I want to care more about people than stuff, more about service than recognition, more about Kingdom than earthly treasures.

The typical American dream floating around out there leaves me with anxiety and pressure, but the dream God has placed in my American heart fills me with joy and freedom. That’s what the American dream was all about in the first place, right?

American Dreamer Tee Square

This American Dreamer tee from Cents of Style has me all fired up about living out this dream again and I love getting to share a sale on it today! It is the perfect tee to wear for the Fourth of July and spark some discussion about living out a new American dream.

Today only, get this tee FREE when you make a $30 more purchase from Cents of Style! How fun! The Fashion Friday collection is FULL of great pieces to share your American pride, so buy $30 worth from that collection (or anywhere else on the site) and get your American Dreamer tee FREE! The tee comes in navy v-neck or white crewneck! Did I mention shipping is always free, too?!

Just place a Cents of Style order of $30 or more today and the American Dreamer tee is yours for free!

The FREE shirt will be offered with a pop-up upon checkout with any purchase that is $30 or more. This offer is not valid with any other coupon code or promotion. Limit one shirt per order/customer.

Now, please tell me about YOUR American dream!

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Three Ways to Wear Your Cowboy Boots This Summer!

I received complimentary product to review from Tecovas Boots. I was not compensated in any other way for this post, and all opinions are 100% my own.

It’s the Boy Mom/Girl Mom Style Challenge! Shannon – mom to four girls – and I – mom to three boys – will be posting a style challenge twice a month and we want you to join in!

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Each #BMGMStyle challenge will have a theme. You just need to post a pic on Instagram following that theme and use the hashtag #BMGMStyle to be a part of the challenge! Shannon and I will pick our favorites to feature each week and one participant per month will win a giveaway from the month’s featured companies!

Are you ready for #BMGMStyle Challenge #4?

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My love for cowboy boots began only a few short years ago, but it grew very quickly. Now, even as a “city girl,” they are a must-have item in my closet. I will never, ever be without a great pair of cowboy boots ever again.

The very best classic cowboy boots I’ve ever seen come from Tecovas. You’ve seen the shorter style – the Penny – around here often and they still wind up on my feet all the time. Today, I’m sharing my love for the Jamie, a classic western boot that has stolen my heart.

Here’s the deal: boots get a lots of love in the fall and winter, but they don’t have to go away when the summer sun comes out to play! I’ve found my cowboy boots to be the perfect pair of footwear for every single season, including summer. I’ve got a few ideas of how to wear them for all your fun in the sun!

with a shorter skirt or dress

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This is the perfect summer option to keep you cool while LOOKING cool in your boots! I paired my Tecovas Jamie boots with a dress for a trip to Nashville earlier this spring and it was just right for the warm weather. You could just as easily pull off this look with a sundress or a skirt and tank top. So many options!

with a midi or maxi dress

Tecovas Boots Dress

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I already shared this look with you on a previous #BMGMStyle Challenge, but I just love it so much! Because of their versatility, cowboy boots can be worn with a longer dress – show as much of them or as little as you want! Midi dresses, like this one, are very popular and I love how the classic cowboy boot pairs with them.

with distressed skinny jeans

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Boots + skinny jeans is one of my favorite looks of all time. We can make it work for summer with a flowy, sleeveless top and distressed skinnies to keep you cool!

Tecovas Jeans Look 2

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All of my reasons for loving Tecovas boots still apply: handmade with excellence, classic details, and an affordable price! Can we also just talk about the gorgeous color of this pair?! The Jamie in Desert Calf is my dream boot.

Check out Shannon’s styling of cowboy boots for summer over at The Simple Moms today and then, because we love you, enter to win a $100 Tecovas gift card to get some amazing boots for yourself!

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The One Way I Know How to Be Brave Today

I received the featured product to review from Cents of Style. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

I feel just about everything except brave today.

I felt brave seven months ago when I decided I would train for my first marathon the following spring.

I felt brave when I filled out my registration for the Fargo Marathon and sent it in.

I felt brave as I started my marathon training plan in February with my eyes set on conquering my next running goal.

I even felt brave as I finished my 20-miler a month ago, the longest run I would do during my marathon training.

Today, the day before my first marathon, those brave feelings escape me, so I’m writing this now to remind myself of the brave moments that led me to this one.

I’m also writing this to remember that I am not brave on my own. I am brave because my God looks at me and says, “You can be brave because I am with You.”

Be Brave 2

We’ve taught our boys since they were little to approach life and the things God calls us to with faith and bravery. Joshua 1:9 is a key verse we refer back to often:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

This is a lovely promise, but it’s not just that. This is a command. A command WITH a promise: be strong, be courageous, be brave BECAUSE the Lord my God is always with me. 

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The feelings of bravery will come and go a million times before I cross the starting line and every step of the 26.2 miles, but God is not that wishy-washy. Unlike my feelings, He is steady and true. He will never leave me or forsake me and that is the source of my bravery today, tomorrow, and every day of my life here on earth. Standing in this truth is the one way I know how to be brave today.

I’m wearing my Be Brave shirt from Cents of Style today as we drive north to Fargo for my first marathon. It is just the encouragement I need running through my head as the time to run (a REALLY long way) draws closer. Be brave – embrace it with me (and maybe pray for an extra does of it for me?!) today!

What do you need the push to “BE” today? Cents of Style has an amazing Be Series with messages for each of us: be brave, be still, be true, be kind, be bold.

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This beautiful collection of shirts, hats, and jewelry from the Be Series is 50% off with the code BEYOU today! You also get free shipping! Choose your word and grab your favorite styles before they are gone!

One last thing: I’m running this marathon tomorrow in support of The Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya. I need less than $100 to reach my fundraising goal, so every little bit helps! Would you consider making a donation of any amount to help us hit $262 before the race starts? Thank you so much!

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