"And He will make it gold."

“And He will use your brokenness. He will make it gold and it will be worth it.”

I have never felt more shattered than I have in these last weeks. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that is exaggerating my humanness more than usual, but whatever it is, it feels like a sharp knife making a home in the middle of my back.

My friend, Kaitlin, said these words quoted at the top to me today as I truly allowed all of my glass pieces fall to the ground; when I finally let my brokenness break. 

The truth is, I have lost myself. Somewhere over the last month or so, the core of who I am ran far away, out of my being, and has yet to return. I've searched for her, high and low, between the cracks, in the darkness of shadows. I'm beginning to give up hope -- thinking she may never come back. The worst of it is, what caused it all is completely unknown to me. All I'm thinking is, "If I just knew, I would find her so fast and bring her back even faster." The thought crossed my mind today, "Maybe writing will help me get back to myself." By this point of a blog post, I have untangled the mess that is my heart and have moved on to the redemption portion. So far, no redemption. I know it's deep down in there somewhere, but rarely does it ever take this long for my foggy eyes to see it. 


Wowza. That was hard to read and it was only from a matter of hours ago.

For going on five years now, this has been my public, for-all-eyes-to-see diary. There have been few parts of my life kept private. Special things and moments-in-between have been for me to treasure behind the screen, but in the big things, the aches, pains, and massive hurts; the victories, the questions and the decisions, I have put it all out there, on here. Mostly for me -- to keep me accountable, to remind myself that most of what I'm feeling is temporary and emotional, not factual and definitely not for an eternity. But also for the sole purpose of bringing community to a space where there seems to be a lack thereof. I see vulnerability plastered all over the internet, but it's often put to pretty melodies of words intentionally placed or glazed over with a tasteful frosting. Although I believe there is a wonderful place for this kind of vulnerability, I believe in the raw stuff too. Specifics cannot always be relayed and there's no way to completely share all that is happening in our hearts, especially with words, I realize this, but there is beauty in word vomit. Spilling everything that you're thinking or feeling into this void; this black hole that we seem to rush to when we're lonely and confused and needing affirmation. Lonely, confusion and affirmation can be solved in the loving arms of Jesus, but sometimes you need a someone, a community, an hour dedicated to writing to push you to Him. 

So my question is: are we truly there for one another? Although I have spilled my guts to this corner of the world wide web, have I seen / noticed the pain of those who might be reading this and of those who are right in front of me? And have I been seen / noticed in return? 

My best friend is experience a heartbreak right now. She's aching. But I am in Germany and she is in Minnesota. Her darkness feels terribly dark, but have I shed light on it? The circumstances -- time difference, lack of wifi, ect. -- make it difficult to connect, but there must be some way to be present in her pain. 

And then there's this awful scab that continues to be exposed to the elements around me, making it harder and harder to heel. And I feel misunderstood. It doesn't seem like anything I could have said or done this past week would have made it clearer to those close to me what was stirring in my head, heart and soul. 

And here I am again, shouting into this place that rarely gives a response, processing and wondering. I'm not looking for an email saying, "You're doing great! I'm here for you!" ...That's not at all what is going on here. I am seriously asking the question of how we can better come alongside one another, walking next to each other in heartbreak, chaos, tragedy, victory, the mundane and ordinary, etc. I want to be better at it. I also want to find a balance of loving on and creating space for the aches, but simultaneously handing it over to Jesus for Him to handle in completeness. 

I fear that so many are sitting in loneliness with no way out and no hope for light at the end of their tunnel. I also fear that social media has glorified pain and made it seem a bit too desirable, in an odd way? Just because I can sometimes identify the cracks in my heart does not mean that I have it together. And just because I can post a photo of red peonies from the summertime with a wonderful little quote about the beauty of suffering does not mean that I've got my head on straight. I called my mom that same day sobbing so hard she couldn't understand me. I was angry just minutes before posting it because there was not one single place to have a private conversation without interruptions. I sat in the corner of a laundry room having a hard and dreaded conversation with my boyfriend. And yet, there I was, only sharing a tiny glimpse at what my day had entailed. 

So I guess there's more being held in this blog post. I have more questions leaving this than I did when I began. The point is I want to notice pain. And I want to embrace it both in my own life and in the lives of others. I want to see the suffering that floats around us and love on it in ways that makes it feel less lonely. And in the end, I want Jesus to be the only one relied on to heal any wound, any broken heart. I want Him to get credit for any redemption. He promises not to waste a minute of our time and He is faithful to finish anything He has started. He will make it gold if you let Him.

Once again this has served as a public diary for all of my thoughts and questions to be put into words. If you read this whole thing, congratulations, it was a long one. I'm sure Nanc is my only faithful reader, though. So thanks mom -- you're a good & loyal mom. I love ya!

That's all xx

Going Bananas

This. Top. Is. Everything.

Just ask anyone who knows me well -- I wore this top too many times a week this summer.

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"All products created by Jenny Lemons are produced entirely by hand in her studio. Fabrics are carefully selected then block printed, painted, and/or dyed. Every pattern is drafted, cut, and sewn, one by one. Because of this, each item is entirely unique." 

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Jenny Lemons just knows how to make a top; simple as that. Each one I have from her is pristine quality with the most unique touch. This was the first piece I got from Jennie & it was truly love at first site. Knowing that Jennie grew up in Minnesota, I felt connected from the start. She has such a sweet spirit & a complete heart behind her work. I could tell in an instant that she believes in what she does & is passionate about bringing her work to the table. To me, that was inspiring.

Here I paired the tank with a denim jumper & vans for a more casual summer look. Since it's getting chillier & fall is full speed ahead, I've worn it layered over a plain turtleneck with blue or black denim + booties. You could always throw a denim jacket over it as well.

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Jennie's pieces aren't season specific, but bring a bright flavor to any outfit. I often get stuck in the dark, monochrome look in colder months, but this has challenged me to add color in new ways.  

Don't miss out on all that's happening at Jenny Lemons & make sure to snag yourself something from her shop. 

One more post to come in this series, but that's all for today! xx

Photography courtesy of Bennett Witta from Witta Creative Studios

Celebrate the Nude

In case you missed part one, you can take a look here. 

Nude Ethics has quickly become one of my favorite brands & of course, I found it on Instagram. I love the way these T's from the Nude Ethics brand celebrate the beauty of the female body in an elegant way, while using fruit, oranges specifically, as an accent. It makes it unique, and in my opinion, a little romantic and mysterious. 

Personally, and like many, I am a girl who has struggled with all of the curves, shapes, bumps and limbs that I was created with. What is so wonderful about this brand is that right here on my t-shirt, a womanly body similar to my own is being brought into the light. So often I have felt as though covering up more is the only option -- that what I was born with was something to hide. Even though stripping naked for all to see will never be something I do, I appreciate the celebration & acceptance that this brand is bringing to all shapes and sizes. 

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A hard one for me for is any sort of body shaming. We beg for curvier girls to get a chance, yet we never let the skinnier, lengthier girls know that what they have is wonderful too. It's hard to not envy women who have bodies that allow clothes to hang so beautifully, like curtains and drapes. But, when we envy, do we recognize that these are other humans living a human life inside of their shell, just like you & me? Envy & jealousy gets in the way of seeing the beauty and calling it out. Curvy is pretty, skinny is pretty, straight is pretty, and lumpy is pretty. It's all pretty -- not because of the body itself, but instead what embodies the body. The girl inside the body. The moments that body has guided that soul to experience -- this is what is beautiful about each figure that we pass on the street or in the grocery store.

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Maybe your sick of the body image talk, the conversation that every church retreat and every women's self-help book is bringing up. Me too, actually. Ironic? Maybe. But I think it's important to drag the souls into the discussion. We need to remember to celebrate the female bodies, yes, whole-heartedly I believe that. These bodies are so cool -- they literally bring life into the world. COOL. And we need to always, always, always remember the spirits that live within them. Without the hearts & souls, these bodies are simply skeletons. Our mind, our intellect, that is what truly makes us who we are. Celebrate the body, celebrate the mind & celebrate the spirit. We demand all of it to live. 

Grab one of these t-shirts for yourself & wear it with all of the bravery you've got. 

Top - Nude Ethics Orange Nude Organic Side Slit Tee

Belt - Hanmade Company

Denim - Vintage Levi's from Hanmade Company

Anyways, hop on the bandwagon of this company, it's worth all of your time.

Nude Ethics

Nude Ethics 

Nude Ethics 

that's all for now, XX

G

Dylan Perrigo is a Romper Genius

Dylan sent me two of the dreamiest pieces & it was so hard to pick my favorite. I was originally drawn to the orange pant that I blogged in part one of this mini series, but wearing around this romper all day at the cabin made me question my choice. Each part of it is so elegant, but makes a statement. The ruffle on the sleeve, the tie on each side of the legs and the button up front are just a few of the things I love about it so much.

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One thing that makes romper-wearing so tough is the length. I'm not that tall, but it seems that every romper I come across is too short or too long, making the whole look not for me. Dylan found the perfect length & went for it. Wearing it at my cabin was the perfect trial run since most of the time I was lounging or playing games with the fam. It never felt too revealing or too restricting, so essentially, there's nothing wrong with it in my opinion. 

Although it makes a statement for itself, Dylan created this piece in such a way that it could be styled with numerous other pieces. To transition into fall, a denim jacket + a scarf + booties would be the perfect casual outfit. It would also be cute with a baseball cap & sneaks. You can really make this piece your own, which is exactly how fashion should be!

***The styles of these two sets of photos are completely different, but each true to who I feel I am. Many bloggers & influencers stay consistent, which is good, but my personal style is all over the board & I'm drawn to all kinds of looks right now, so I felt like I could show that here. 

I have loved getting to wear Dylan Perrigo's pieces this summer. The pants I styled a few weeks back are already in my suitcase and are ready to go with me to Germany. So timeless & versatile, I look forward to styling them in all sorts of european ways over the next months. I'll be so sad to mail this romper back to her this week. Even though summer seems to be ending quick, don't hesitate to add this piece to your wardrobe. It's a necessity, honestly. Do it do it do it. 

The Cordelia Romper comes in Oatmeal, Citrine, or Obsidian -- each such beautiful colors. 

That's all with Dylan Perrigo, for now, xx

G

Much of the photography from this post is courtesy of Bennett Witta from Witta Creative Studios

Nude Ethics x G pt. 1

Nude Ethics & I crossed paths around March, but she hadn't launched quite yet, so we waited to collab until this fall. What initially caught my eye was the inspiration she pulled from others, her unique & specific aesthetic, and they way she encouraged other artists. 

Personally, I don't gravitate towards crops because I love to be able to tuck in my top, but this one is the perfect length to go with a pair of high waisted denim or trousers. I said to my mom later, "I think I want to wear this outfit everyday for the rest of forever." Not kidding. I'm obsessed.

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Nude Ethics hosts their own brand, Nude Ethics, as well as other ethically responsible brands on their site. All of the pieces are timeless and simple, but bold and true. I never thought a piece of clothing could be "true", but after interacting with and wearing each of the pieces, I am convinced that they are true. 

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"...ethically crafted pieces from those that want to make a difference."

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Being that Nude Ethics is based out of London, I wanted to try & put a little English spin on my usually jeans & a T outfit by adding my *fav* Brixton Women's hat. 

"From buying from this store, you'll know you'll be buying something honest."

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Hat - Brixton Women's Fiddler Cap

Top - Nude Ethics Orange Nude Crop Top

Jeans - UO BDG Mom Jean

Shoes - Intentionally Blank Titan Blacks from Golden Rule Excelsior (sold out, similar here)

 

Do yourself a favor & snag something from this shop. It really does feel good knowing that what you're wearing is wholesome and ethical. 

that's all xx

Dear 18-year-old me,

First, you are braver than you believe. You need to know that. You will endure more than you are ready for. You don't become hard from any of it & the 2017 me is so grateful for your tenderness. 

You're in love right now and that feels huge to you, but leave room for that love to end & for another love to begin. Create space for a love affair with yourself to begin blossoming. Love with a boy isn't the love that should be a priority. Love the things around you -- you're new dorm room, your roommate who will become your person, the girl down the hall who will become Kristypants, the community bathroom that is always so clean, the beautiful campus that you get to call your own. Love your classes even if you don't find them particularly interesting because you're learning & that is a wonderful gift.

Let life happen to you; don't work so hard at orchestrating each moment to go exactly as you've planned. Stay up late & go to bed early. Find a balance. Study hard, but don't let it become your life. Eat all the toast your little heart desires, because come September 5, 2017, you will so badly miss the simplicity of life in BOD409 with Mar, making toast & chatting about all the things. 

It's okay that your heart broke and that you acted out because of it. How is an 18-year-old supposed to know what to do when that happens? You were doing your best, even if that was your very worst. 

You'll cut your bangs & your hair will be yellow & it'll be a rough patch in the beauty department but IT WILL BE OKAY. Two years from now it'll all have grown back out & the color will be natural again. HAIR GROWS OUT. Don't fret, little one.

G, you'll travel. The time will come when it's your turn to get out of here. Maybe not as soon as you hoped, but two years from now you'll be visiting the place that is now home & all it will be is a memory. Germany will be home to you one day. I know your heart is so anxious to be there now, but all of this in-between time is just as important. You need the next two years.

Girlfriends are the best. When you have them, hold them tight. Mar & Kristypants are the ones to keep your eyes out for. You will want longer moments with them than you have, so cherish them big. They will love you & know you in very different ways, but all perfectly as needed. They will ask you to love them in the ways they need to be loved, so do it. Love well the ones who love you. Mutual love is huge in this life; don't hold back.

Give grace. To others, to yourself. Hand it out like a flyer on the street. Leave your hands open wide ready to receive it. Grace grace grace grace grace. Make it a theme in your life. Look for it. Seek it out. 

It's okay to not know exactly who you are yet. To still be living off of inspiration rather than a solid ground. Life is a journey of discovery. No one actually knows who they are at 18, so let that go. Be who you are & be susceptible to change.

You are smart enough. I know you compare yourself to Jack; stop. You are both smart in numerous ways. You can do it. You can even study what he studies. Embrace what you are passionate about -- own it. You will fall in love with the major you land on & you are smart enough to handle it. 

You have no idea what lies ahead for you, girlfriend. The ups, the downs, the uglies, the surprises, the friendships, the meals, the clothes, the cries, the laughs, the mistakes & the accomplishments. Success is nowhere that you are looking for it. Just live. You were made for much more than you could ever dream of. RELAX. Life happens whether you like it or not, so happen with it. Never battle the trials, but instead flow with them like a river. Never let a boy tell you who you are and who you're not. Never let a parent or a teacher or a random mom over email tell you who you are and who you're not. Your identity is in your Creator, rest deep in that fact. 

 

...

 

What I wrote to freshman year Greta is something I'd write to just about everyone on the planet. Some things were specific, but the greater themes & lessons that I've learned throughout the past two years are circumstances we all deal with or go through. It's so therapeutic to write in this way, & I hope it can be meaningful to read it. Everything I wrote here I wrote with humility & kindness towards the girl I was and towards those of you who are reading it. It's a unique thing, shouting into the internet world not knowing who's eyes might see this. Anyways, be gracious to yourself in your seasons. It's special to look back on the me then knowing I wasn't so hard on myself, but also realizing how much has grown & altered since September 2015.  

Jenny Lemons, the Strawberry Series

I met Jennie of Jenny Lemons at the Golden Rule's birthday celebration. It didn't take long for my obsession to start with all of her creations. Each piece is made by hand with so much heart & intention. I bought a tank from her the day of the event, but decided one couldn't possibly be enough. We decided to collaborate & I'm so excited about what she sent my way.

This strawberry top is a little brighter than what I normally gravitate towards. My closet is full of whites, lots of navy and way too much beige. That being said, I'm never mad about a little pop of color. 

This top is so light & airy, but easy to layer, so it's the perfect Minnesota top.

I've been obsessed with disposable cameras for my entire life. I love having to wait until it's full and developed to see the finished product. It's kind of like Christmas morning, but for photographs! I took a bunch in this top, but the camera isn't full yet, so it'll be such a treat once I get all of these photos back. 

Anything high waisted is the way to go, in my opinion, so I paired this with my favorite Mother Denim cropped flares. I love the way high waisted pants can create a whole new look for a shirt when tucked just right. 

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And of course, my trustee high top blue Converse had to be the shoe of the day. I'm usually not a "sporty" dresser, but I kind of liked this "sportier" look that came to be. 

Lots more to come with Jenny Lemons, but for now,

that's all xx

 

Photography courtesy of Bennett Witta from Witta Creative Studios

Am I brave enough?

Here's the deal:

The thoughts in my head & the ones that escape my fingertips are much prettier than the ones that come out of my mouth. I wish, more often than not, that I would shut my mouth & write everything down on paper to prevent the hurt, the uproar, the unnecessary from escaping before letting it all escape without a true, intentional & thorough thought-process. The words I speak are often messy & reactionary. I vomit my thoughts as they come instead of letting them flow more beautifully onto this little site or into my journal(s). 

The thing is, I move to Germany one month from today. I will be on a plane to Frankfurt around this time on Sept. 13th & will then go from there to Friedrichshafen, where I will attend Bible School for seven-ish months. 

Last night we hosted a going-away-party of sorts to make sure I saw all the faces I needed to see & hug all the bodies I needed to hug before embarking. The big question was, "are you prepared?" Hm. Well, yeah. I have all the jeans I want to bring with. I know what shoes will be in my suitcase when I leave. We bought a good converter to make sure nothing fries when I plug it in. Going to Europe a few times before has definitely given me some tips & tricks on survival, so I'm not super worried about the "culture shock", if you can even call it that. I know that's the kind of prepared people were asking about. I know that's not the kind of prepared I need to be concerned of, though. Since summer started, this big move has been the lingering end to the months spent at home working & spending time with my people. A really good lingering end, but also, it's lingering. It's waiting there for me, dancing, singing, jumping up & down, always reminding me that it's there. 

I'm definitely a processor & if you know me at all I'm sure you've been on the other side of me, well, processing. It's not always pretty & it's never short. I'm a feeler, according to the Meyers Briggs test & the only letter I ever remember in my personality results is F. FEELER. It sits there screaming at me, "YOU FEEL EVERYTHING." I've stopped apologizing for this, because honestly, I'm so very grateful that God has given me all the feelings I've ever had. My feelings don't define me, but they are a huge part of me & I'm beginning to own it. So of course, a change is happening, a major change, & my feelings are right there jogging alongside the car, nagging in my ear, not letting me forget about them for a single second. 

Even though I'm all about the authentic, the real, the genuine, I haven't portrayed my true feelings about September 13th well on social media. So tonight, I'll let you into the reality. Tonight, I had a meltdown. Going to study the Word of God, to dive deep into the heart of my Jesus is all things exciting & wonderful. I cannot wait for that. But, what I often forget is that when we let God in, He moves. He doesn't let us stay stuck or broken or untouched. He stirs, He molds, He shapes & He shifts. 

In the past two (but really five) years, I've let a lot of the feelings in my life go deeper & darker into my soul. Maybe it seems like I'm all healthy & stable since I totally wear my heart of my sleeve (or face), but I mostly just share what's happening in that moment or a portion of something that has eight layers instead of just the one I'm letting all of you in on. 

There's a time & place to be real, to share the depths of our hearts, to remain mysterious or private. There's a space to celebrate & grieve with the internet world & then there's a need for space to do it in the quiet of your own heart, but I've only done the public stuff, rarely the part where I actually take the time to truly heal. 

"Okay Greta, get to the point."

I'm terrified. 

I'm genuinely paralyzed at the thought of letting God take the worries, the tears, the snags, the scars & the missing pieces of my heart & make them whole again. Why? Because I know that in order for Him to do this, I have to go to all of these places & get real with them. I'll have to relive them. I'll have to be raw & honest about where I was, where I am & where I want to be. I'll have to let God break me, bend me, and remake me. (Sorry for the rhyme) God is a good, good, good God & none of this is scary or vicious, but to get there, I have to surrender all of it, every single shattered bit, over to His hands. And if you know me, you'll also know that besides processing, I don't really leave a lot up to chance. Yeah, stumbling across a sunflower field with Bennett & Lily I leave up to chance. I usually let the server tell me what to get for dinner. But the big stuff; the hard, yucky, messy stuff; I don't really let that get too far from me. I hold tightly to my hurts, my dreams, my shortcomings & my desires. 

Questions like,

"Am I ready enough?"

"Am I brave enough?"

"Am I deserving enough?"

"Am I Christian enough?"

"Am I nice enough?"

"Am I vulnerable enough?"

Am I brave enough to take all of this in, to let it give my life a 180 change? 

Brave enough or not, this leap that I'm taking will force me to finally, with relief & honestly, quite a bit of fear, allow God to have it all. I have no choice. He has to own it. It has to be His. I have to trust that He will take me places so much greater, sweeter, more tangible & kind, more telling & true, than I could ever take myself. I have to know without a shadow of doubt that He will heal my brokenness, He will quench my worries, He will rebuild my doubts, He will love my lost. 

So the reality is, I'm not prepared. I don't think there's a way to prepare for God to shake your world, other than to just let Him do it. 

He knows my thoughts, my extremely crazy & irrational thoughts. He's walked by my side as every fear grew larger & every doubt grew deeper. He has me. He's always had me.

He will continue to have me.

Same goes for you. He has you. He's always had you. He will continue to have you.

Moving to Europe can seem like all things glamorous, but just like anything, it comes with baggage. I'll be packing a physical suitcase & I'll also be carrying on a huge load of luggage filled with my past, my present & my future. Just know that while Instagram will have it looking effortless & cool, I'll be sitting on my bed with my mom, wiping my eyes with my baby blanket, wishing I could just have the view already. I'm tired of the climb. I know that what I see from the top of the mountain will be worth it, but even still being out of shape makes it really hard to get there. (Thank you to everyone appreciating the Hannah Montana reference, because this song has actually, seriously, been the theme song to my life lately.)

Real life is real & hard & wonderful & average & extraordinary & dry & kind & confusing all at the same time, which can sometimes feel romantic & beautiful & other times it can just be flat out annoying. Anyone else? 

One last thing... In the midst of my meltdown tonight, my mom brought out a present wrapped in my favorite brown, crinkly tissue paper from Anthro with a lime green book inside. She always packs something in my suitcase before a big trip without me knowing, so the other night I told her this book would be the perfect thing. I'm really happy she pulled it out now instead of then because the words Cheryl Strayed wrote in her intro were exactly what my weary heart needed to hear. The book is called "Brave Enough". Sometimes God speaks to us through the intro of a lime green book written by someone who uses the word "Mother F'er" an excessive amount of times. Sometimes He speaks through a mom at a graduation party. Either way, He speaks & when He does, it's always so clear. I'm grateful for His voice, no matter the delivery. 

I'm also grateful for His constant, unwavering, undeniable Holiness, despite me being a total psycho. Bring on the healing!!!

That's all x

G