February 27, 2013

Only got 20 dollars in my pocket... (So I Went to the Thrift Shop)

I may be late to the action, but I just recently got addicted to that catchy song. Ya know, Thrift Shop. I swear I'm always one step behind.  So, sue me.

A little over two weeks ago, my mom, grandma, and I did some thrift shopping after my ACT. I got a few super cute things, this top being one of them!

Earrings // Target Necklace // Target Cardigan // Rue 21 Top // {My thrifted find!} Leggings // Forever 21 Boots // Forever 21

There's something about this outfit that just screams... "Spring is coming!" Even when you're outside in 10 degree weather posing next to nearly two feet of snow. Oh, Minnesota.

Linking up here...

pleated poppy

February 25, 2013

Love Is The Movement

I can't believe the weekend is over. Friday came and went in the blink of an eye and before I knew it, it was Saturday afternoon and I found myself at home again... Still smiling about all that God had done at the Renu girls retreat that I was blessed enough to attend this weekend.

This year's theme was "Love Is The Movement." Essentially, the messages were about how the mass majority of us constantly believe that love is a feeling when it is rather a movement - a sacrifice - that Jesus has given to us and that we are to pass on.

I can't even begin to describe how amazing it was to worship with 200 other girls...surrendering lives to God...some for the first time, others to be renewed. It gives me goosebumps again just thinking about the presence of God that night!

{photo credit // River of Life}
The retreat started around 5:00 p.m. on Friday. I volunteered to be a greeter and to my surprise, my camp counselor and dear friend, Leah, who I hadn't seen since August, was there to be my partner in doing so! We had a blast dancing around and saying hello as all the girls walked in! It was great catching up!

{photo credit // River of Life}
My heart was already full by the time all 200 of those ladies walked in the door. I just knew that God had something so big planned for the time we spent together worshiping Him. I truly don't believe my smile left my face at any point in time. :)

{photo credit // River of Life}
My girlfriends and I started off our night with a buttload of chocolate. Seriously, this retreat always has tons of sweets on sweets on sweets...and I can never, ever say no! Clearly.

{photo credit //River of Life}
It was a blast just being together, catching up, eating food that was incredibly bad for our bodies, and getting excited about what God was doing in each of our lives!

{photo credit // River of Life}
It doesn't get better than quality time, honest talks, and genuine laughs with some of your best girlfriends. It just doesn't!

After an AMAZINGLY heartfelt service that night, Amy, Becca, and I {these girls are my LIFE}, stayed up until 2:30 just talking, laughing, and quite possibly ripping out some dance moves. *cough* Okay, that was just me. *cough*

The next morning, we had a fancy breakfast together. After breakfast, Becca won some awesome jewelry and Amy was given some gorgeous glittery TOMS that she's been wanting for the past year and a half. I was literally bawling by the end of that session because I was so happy for my two girls!

We had another service that afternoon and then it was time to go home. I can't believe another year of Renu is over! My girlfriends and I attend this retreat every winter and have for the past 4 years. Each one continues to bring us closer together and teaches us to encourage eachother in new ways. Watching God work in our hearts never ceases to be absolutely incredible...

John 15:12-15~ “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends."

February 22, 2013

Being Reminded & Renewed

This time each year is always super special to me. It's always a season where God never fails to put my life into perspective.

Two years ago, I was officially "saved" at a girls retreat and though I've failed more times than I would care to admit since then, God has never stopped rocking my world from that day forward.

I can remember the exact dark, hopeless person I was two years ago. I was about three months into my health struggles, misdiagnosed a clinically depressed and on a medication that hurt my body more than it helped it.

I remember walking into service at the retreat on that Friday night and not caring. I remember joking around with the girls I was with and being confused at the girls who were raising their hands worshipping.

The following Saturday, when a lady (not much older than I am) shared her testimony about her lifelong fight with a chronic condition, I started to sob. I remember walking up to her and telling her that even though we didn't have the same disease, I felt what she was going through and I understood.

I remember her hugging me. I remember the exact words she prayed over me. I remember the verse she first told me to look up... Jeremiah 29:11. {"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you and future and a hope."}

From that day forward, I have been blessed with more than I could ever deserve. The youth group I found that day fits me... The friends/mentors I've met there keep me going. I could go on and on.

Last year, I was nominated to be apart of the fashion show they put on at the retreat each year. Even though it was something completely out of my comfort zone, I agreed. And because of that, I watched God bless me in a zillion ways {YET AGAIN} - because through that fashion show, I met my best friend Elissa.

Even though she now lives in Moldova, her heart for the Lord blesses me daily and our friendship continues to grow.

The fashion show gave a sense of boldness that can come from no one else but God... And honestly, that boldness makes me who I am today. Without it, I would not be "Kenz."

God has changed my life, my heart, and my all the past two years.

There has always been something "about" this retreat. This week specifically, I haven't been able to get it off of my heart because I KNOW how powerful it can be and I cannot even begin to imagine how many more girls God will fill, renew, and BLESS because of their faithfulness.

Tonight, another retreat begins. Girls lives will be changed forever and God will be present in that place. My heart, once again, will be RENEWED and refreshed. I will once again be reminded why I made the decision to live for Him two years ago, and I will be reminded of just how much He's brought me through in that time...

... multiple misdiagnoses.
... 6 kidney stones.
... insomnia.
... restless leg syndrome.
... the loss of my Grandpa's.
... the loss of an Aunt I was truly close with.
... the changing of multiple friendships.

... The list goes on and the answer is always the same. HE sees me through. Currently, He's walking with me and fighting my battle with juvenile arthritis on the days I absolutely cannot... Even on the days I CAN, He doesn't leave my side.

I'm excited to watch lives be transformed this weekend and I'm beyond honored to get to play a role of leadership in such an amazing, life-changing retreat.

February 20, 2013

Kiss My Sass

Oh, yesterday was rough, tough, and just plain mean. I woke up in a "kicking assets and taking names" kinda mood, but throughout the day, my spirit got a little battered because of the pain and swelling that set in. 

My friend Becca actually looked at me in our college history class and frantically asked, "WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR HANDS?"  Work was throwing me for a loop, too, because not a darn thing was going right the way I wanted it to. As soon as I got home and my head hit the pillow, I was out for the count. Everything hurt and I just needed sleep. Not only to get away from how I was feeling, but just to clear my mind and be able to start anew when I woke up.

I'm so glad I made that decision despite the homework I was supposed to finish. It may be due this afternoon, but I'm letting it go and counting it as a win on my behalf. It's hard for me to make that sacrifice, but I'm finally seeing that it was worth it. Realistically, that homework is still here this morning and I have plenty of time to get it finished. It's not something I need to worry myself sick over or lose sleep thinking about.

When I woke up this morning, I was so happy to be feeling better and a verse that one of my best friends passed onto me a few years ago was in my heart. She says it reminds her of me and that means the world to hear...that compliment alone makes the verse 10x more motivating to me!

Proverbs 17:22~ A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Today's a brand new day. God's mercies are fresh. I was blessed enough to wake up this morning. That's enough for me...for this day. As always, I'm just going to take it one moment at a time; taking baby steps when I need to and flat out belly rolling/army crawling when I'm desperate.

The truth is, I'm doing an amazing job in therapy. I'm working hard, enduring the pain, and I'm pushing myself more than ever. Most importantly, I'm SMILING through it...even when there's tears in my eyes! I'm proud. I'm not done here. The fight is not over just because yesterday was tough. Today is a new day...and juvenile arthritis can kiss my sass. :)

February 18, 2013

PSAT's, ACT's, and Patience

Back in November, one of my church mentors and best friends asked me if I'd ever thought about the idea of PSEO. I shrugged when she asked because it really wasn't something that had crossed my mind before.

Basically, PSEO (Post Secondary Education Option) is offered to students in their senior year of high school who are motivated, independent, and are looking for something "more." Basically, it's the opportunity to being taking college classes a year early.

I started to seriously consider the idea of PSEO last fall because I'd found a private Christian college about an hour away from home that I fell in love with. Bethel University. I gave the whole thing a lot of thought...having to move away from the people I've been around my whole life a year early, missing out on all the fun senior privledges at school...etc., etc...

But when I started praying about it, none of those things mattered to me anymore. Not in the slightest way. I just began to feel like this opportunity could be one that God had been preparing me for...for a long time. Things beginning to fall into place.

I started by looking into the idea and e-mailed the admissions director there to ask a few questions. He was so enthusiastic and helpful. Soon after that, the standardized testing began. Oh boy.

First, I took the PSAT, which is a pre-SAT. I did well, and my writing score? It was exceptional. I scored the best in my class and my score was 93% higher than the average score of everyone who took the test. Obviously, I was proud and stoked out of my mind...until...I found out that Bethel doesn't look at writing scores. Nope. They don't even take a glance.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't just about lose all hope in that moment...I hate to say it, but I sorta gave up entirely, because after my writing score was taken out, my score was just average. When I applied, I wanted to be serious. I wanted the score that I wrote on that application to be more than average.

I just let it go and stopped worrying about it until it was almost the end of January and the admissions director e-mailed me to encourage me to take the ACT and see how it went.

I thought about it...prayed about it...and (pretty pessimistically) decided to go for it. And when I went to register? The price was hiked up for late registration. WHAT GIVES. I've been blessed, though, with two AMAZING parents who care and genuinely want me to succeed, so after a talk with them, we had a solution.

"If this is something you really want... We can do it."

I took the test a quick two weeks later and despite my nerves, I think I did really well. Now, it's just a waiting game. I should know my test score by next Monday! Oh, Lord, give me patience...

And most of all, have Your way.

February 16, 2013

Bought with a Price

I was talking to one of my new friends last night. We got on the subject of dating somehow and he ended up asking me, "Have you had a lot of boyfriends?" I'll be completely honest, I busted out laughing. My response was, "Do I LOOK like I've had a lot of boyfriends?" My thoughts after that? "Dude, you don't know how complicated I am. No boy would put up with this craziness voluntarily."

I asked him why he thought that, but he wouldn't tell me. Imagine that. Oh, boys, boys, boys. When I laid down to sleep, I kept thinking about it. What did that really mean? Am I supposed to have a history of boyfriends?

So, naturally, I began to pray about it. I asked God what that meant and why I was feeling so distracted about a seemingly simple question. He put this verse in my heart:

Proverbs 4:23~ "Above all else, guard your heart, for it determines the course of your life."

It made me feel like I'm doing something right. Without a doubt. Even though that clarity alone would have been enough to put my overthinking to rest, God gave me MORE. Something BIGGER, something BETTER. Another verse that spoke straight to my heart...

1 Corinthians 7:23~ "You were bought at a price, so do not become enslaved by the world."

That's all too fitting considering how trapped I feel by the world sometimes and what everyone else is doing. This was a good reality check to me... Straight from the One who knows me better than I know myself. It made me really ask myself, "Why haven't I had a boyfriend?"

My answer to that question wasn't a notorious teenage girl answer, either. (i.e. I'm not pretty enough, I'm not worth it, no one will love me because of my arthritis...) Instead, I realized that I haven't had a boyfriend because of these two reasons:

1.) I have a list. I have a list of things I want in a future husband. A list that defines who I want to be the father of my children one day...and I know that God will bring me someone that is exceedingly more than anyone I could ever imagine.

2.) I'm not going to settle for anything less. God has created me in HIS image and likeness and He believes that I am worthy of a king. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who thinks the absolute world of me.

Psalm 139:14~ "I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows that full well."

I truly believe that your self-worth is as valuable as you make it. It comes from a belief that you ARE worthy. That you DO matter. I know I've been bought with a price and I'm not going to settle for anything even close to less than that. God has something, and rather, SOMEONE so special for me...and I just know that person is worth waiting for.

The most beautiful part of it all is what God has said about my future...

Jeremiah 29:11~ "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future."

I'm more than content with that. I want nothing else than for God to have His way in my life fully and completely.  He has it planned out so much better than I could ever dream up on my own.

February 15, 2013

Coffee Date Vlog!

I just found out about Alissa's "coffee date" vlog link up today and now you're going to have to listen to this so called Minnesotan "accent" every Friday, y'all. ;-)

Plus, I just like to vlog. Vlogging's my favorite. 

Enjoy your Friday and have the most wonderful weekend! :-)

** P.S. Did you enter my Target giftcard GIVEAWAY yet?

February 14, 2013

Target Giftcard Giveaway!

It's Thursday, party people! I only have a 3 day week, so I'm in a fantablulous mood and can't seem to wipe this smile off my face since it's technically Friday. :) Love that. January was an awesome month for this lovely little blog of mine and I really wanted to do something special this month in honor of that!

First off, I want to give a little run down of three AMAZING ladies. I may be partial, but I honestly feel as if I have the most wonderful sponsors in all of blog land. It means the world to me that they WANT to be associated with me and my blog. They believe in me and this little space. They motivate me to keep writing. I love and appreciate that more than words will ever, ever say.

First off, Laura... One of the first ladies I met in blog land and one of the most genuine ladies out there. She blogs about her son Ethan and little Gabe on the way! She has killer style, her nails always look fab, and her faith inspires me everyday!

Logan and I just found eachother's blogs recently and we instantly hit it off! She is such a sweetheart and always has something kind and motivating to say to me. She hosts her own blog hop on Monday's and I always love to hear what she's reading!

Shelly and I also just "met" recently! Her blog has easily become one of my top and favorite reads because of her honesty and ability to be transparent. Her kiddos are absolutely ADORABLE! We have a lot of the same interests, too!

And, so, what better way than to show OUR love to OUR readers than by a Valentine's Day giveaway, right?! :)

Brought to you by...

And just so you know, Target's clearance is fan freakin' TASTIC right now, so you NEED to win! Here's proof of my inner-hoarder cleaning off the racks there last night... ;)

Anyhow, if you're ready to rock like we are...get yourself a entering! GOOD LUCK! :)

February 11, 2013

Sometimes It Pays To Be A Minnesnowtan

I didn't have class today... I got called off work... And the family I nanny for didn't need me.

Woah. Hold the phone. Shut the front door. 

I was just about to doze off again around 8 a.m. when I decided that it'd be better to be productive! Ya know... Laundry, dishes, blog posts that have been in my drafts for weeks, pictures for some new fashion posts...

So, I got my assets up and at em'. 

Best. Decision. Ever.

My sweet friend Amy came over and snapped pictures of me rocking some cute new outfits I put together from the thrifting I did this past weekend and I FINALLY got pictures of me sporting my favorite color... Mustard. ;-) FYI - I'm doing that post because a bunch of people have been getting to my blog by Googling that?! I've never even mentioned it, but it's a grand idea. Funny how that works, eh? :-)

Amy also stuck around and took some fun pictures of my boy, Striker and I! We just got 11 more inches of snow this past weekend, so he was all white and clean. :-) Plus, I feel like snow makes everything prettier in Minnesota!

Today, I also found out that I've qualified for a prom giveaway! I'm super excited but I need YOUR votes in order to win! If you'd like to help a girl out, please VOTE HERE!

Basically, I'm chilling on the couch in my PJ's right now just soaking up this day of freedom and spending some time on my blog and my growing Facebook page! I've got lots of material for fashion posts and I even have a giveaway with my awesome sponsors coming this week! Target giftcard, anybody? Hollaaaaa!

Other than that, I plan to whip up some spaghetti tonight and indulge in my guilty pleasure that is The Bachelor. ;) Sometimes it pays to be a Minnesnowtan!

February 06, 2013

Stop & Smell The Roses Vlog - February

Since it's a free country and I do what I want, I'm also linking up with one of my long-time blogging besties... Mandy @ House of Rose for her vlogging link up Stop and Smell the Roses where we talk about something that we are thankful for or something we are smiling about!

We used to do it weekly {so I'm still using the old button} but it's now changed! The new schedule is the first Wednesday of every month - so there's plenty of time for you to film and there is no more room for excuses as to why you don't! ;-)

It's super easy and so much fun! All you have to do is...

"1. Film a short vlog {2 minutes is ideal} talking about something that you are thankful for or anything that is making you smile {could even be a product your loving}.
2. Link up your vlog to the Stop & Smell the Roses vlog link up
3. Please include a text link back to this post {I’ll have a new button you can grab soon}.
4. Party hop! Visit the other vlogs and leave some comment love!
Can’t wait to see y’all!"
SO easy peasy. :-) You can even watch mine and witness my bad hair day firsthand before you film yours. ;-)

Life is good on my end! What's making you smile?