"Welcome to Braziel" is the personal blog of Jenny Braziel.
This blog documents the exciting endeavors of Jenny and Ben Braziel and their dog Ruthie. Within this blog you will find helpful marriage tips, life balance advice, and personalized product recommendations.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right."

Civil War was a great movie! It was thought provoking and lots of fun. A quote from this movie really got to me and hits the nail on the head of something I've been feeling lately as a Christian.  

"Compromise where you can. Where you can't, don't. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say 'No, YOU move'."  

I love all my friends, family, and coworker's and I enjoy being apart of your lives.  I don't ever want to misrepresent Christ to any of you.  I do, however, disagree with many of you in lots of ways.  It is rare to agree with anyone on everything, as much as I may care for you all. 

I don't like a lot of what I see in the world today in the news. I could flip out and go off on the world all over Facebook, and sometimes I really have to fight the urge to do so, but I don't post because I know that, making an effort to live peaceably with others, is sometimes more important than making it known publicly that what I see in the news is frustrating me. 

There are issues, believes, actions, lifestyles that I firmly believe are very wrong and misguided.  Things most say are right, I know are wrong.  I won't change my mind on any of that.   I will stand my ground and plant like a tree. I believe the word of God is living and active and 100% true.  I see the Bible taken out of context to try and discredit it and that bugs me a lot. 

Recently at church and at life group we talked about Paul and Silas getting locked up in prison for their beliefs and read that passage in the Bible. Do you know what they did? They sang worship songs. They didn't freak out or lash out and throw a temper tantrum about how screwed up the world is, they trusted that God was still in control and He had their backs.  They worshiped God and the jailer and his whole family ended up committing their lives to Jesus Christ because of it.  

I'm frustrated at the ways I see the U.S. and the world changing, but I'm not gonna freak out.  I'm gonna keep on trusting God. I'm gonna keep on loving in spite of the disagreements. But I am also going to stand like a tree on issues that matter.  I'm gonna do so rationally and consistently.

Monday, February 29, 2016

How a leap of faith on leap year day changed my life...

In the spring of 2009, I was a senior in college.  I had just applied to the Disney College Program and got accepted.  I graduated college with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but at least I had that on the horizon.  I was frustrated that I had not met the love of my life yet. I figured that it would happen at Disney World.

In the fall of 2009, I was a Disney College Program intern in Orlando, FL.  I dated some, but I did not meet my husband there.

In 2010, I moved to Anaheim, CA to work at Disneyland as a Disney College Program intern.  I dated even more and still did not meet my husband.  

In 2011, I moved in with my parents to take a step back and re-evaluate my life, while I worked as a nanny in Dublin, GA.  I learned many things and developed a contentment in God that year that I had not yet achieved.  I was confident and happy with my life and had decided to stop searching for my husband so intently and just live as if he may never come.  

I wanted to pursue what I was most passionate about, so I made arrangements to move back to Orlando, FL to work at Disney World again.  I knew that I could enjoy my life and be happy even if I was single for the rest of my life, if I was working and living at Disney World.  

In 2012, just before I was set to move, I signed up to attend Passion Conferences in Atlanta, GA.   Before all of the most pivotal points in my life, I've tried to go to this conference.  It always leaves me refreshed and refocused to take on the next stage of life.  It's extremely enriching.  

I was on my way to start my new life, when I met Ben Braziel in the parking lot of my church just before our bus was set to leave for Atlanta, GA.  Ben and I became interested in each other on that trip.  We ended up deciding to date long distance.  Our relationship was new and oddly timed.  Ben had made it clear that he wanted to be my boyfriend.  I could already tell that Ben was a great man of integrity.  However, I was uneasy and not sure why God would send me a boyfriend now and have him be so far away from where I had just moved.  I was unsure about the situation.

On February 29, 2012, Ben and I had been dating/talking unofficially for almost two months.  I was at Epcot with my family, who were in town visiting.  I had been talking with my dad about my relationship and my uneasiness to make it official.  He was very helpful and said some encouraging words that eased my fears and put everything into perspective.  I had already felt like the day was important, because it was a leap year and those only come around once every four years.  I was energized and inspired to make the day count.  I knew exactly how I wanted to make it count.  I excused myself from a meal at the Electric Umbrella to use the restroom.  Instead, I went into a secluded hallway near the restrooms and called Ben.   I told him that leap years only come around every once in a while and I wanted to do something special to make the day count.  I accepted his offer to be my boyfriend and the rest is history!   

I have just recently made the connection of the phrase, "leap of faith" with a leap year.  That is exactly what I did.  I took a leap of faith into our relationship and I am so glad that I did.  

If you are worn out waiting for God to work in your life, just know that you may be on the brink of something life altering.  You never know what God may have up His sleeve.  I had no clue.  If you are unsure of how all the details of a situation may work out, consider taking a leap of faith.  God can do immeasurable more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Happy leap year day!  This day in history my life changed!!  Happy 4 year anniversary of being together, babe!!  :D

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Stitch Fix Style #2

Check out my latest Stitch Fix!

They let a new stylist style for me this time.  Her name was Natalie and I think she really understood the style and look that I am trying to achieve.  I hope they let her style me again when I do my next Fix (probably in March).  In this Fix, I learned a lot about Stitch Fix sizing.

The pattern on this blouse was great, however I was not sure what to do with the bow.
As you can see here, this blouse was too big.  It was a small.  I need an extra small next time.  I made sure to leave this in my feedback for my stylist when I chose to send the item back.
I asked for something mint and they gave me this infinity scarf! Good job, Stitch Fix! The only issue is that it is so large that it did not look right on my small build.  I'm sending it back with feedback.
This was a cute pencil skirt, but I'm not big on navy.
The skirt was also a small and needed to be an extra small. I left this in the feedback when I chose to send it back.
These red pants came in the box and I really like them!  Look how cute this Christmas outfit looks with them! I can't wait to wear it next week! I decided to keep them! 
They fit in every way except in the waist.  This isn't a huge deal to me and works out fine with a belt.  I am hoping that they shrink some when I wash them.  I looked up the brand (Kut from the Kloth) and they do come in one size smaller.  I am wondering if this is the best size for me though, because the smaller size may be too small.  I requested to try the smaller size in other colors next time in my feedback so that I can find out which is best and because I definitely want more pants like these.

This shirt was neat and different.  It was SO soft.  The price was a bit much for a regular shirt and the material was thin.  I was a little concerned that my pup, Ruthie, may cause a hole in the shirt too easily if she were to jump up on me.  Even though I did like it, I chose not to keep it for those reasons.

I am glad to have a better understanding of what size I am in Stitch Fix clothing.  On my style profile, I had selected 2 for pants and dresses and small for shirts and skirts.  I was worried that 0 and extra small would be too small.  Now I know to try 0 and extra small for next time!  I made the changes on my style profile.  I'm excited to how those changes affect my next Fix!  

Check out my previous blog if you'd like to know "What is Stitch Fix?"  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

So what is Stitch Fix?

StitchFix is a personal styling service. It pairs you with your very own personal stylist who gets to know your style through a series of questions and your Pinterest board.   Your stylist learns more about you with each new fix.  It is a great way to get some quality clothing items and it helps you branch out and try all the latest styles.  

It is SO convenient. There is no contract or monthly payment. You literally decide you want them to style you, schedule it, and they send 5 items right to your door! 

If you don't like them, fine! Send them back, you'll only be out $20 bucks. If you like them all, you get 25% off all items and your $20 styling fee goes towards that! Or you can pick and choose what you like and still put the styling fee towards it!

There's even the possibility of referrals. For each person who schedules a fix by following your referral link, you get a $25 credit. I've already had one referral and I've only shared the link 3 times on social media!  https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/6314421

Here's my first fix experience!!

The box arrived and I was super excited!  Ruthie was too!
The unboxing experience was great! I couldn't wait to see what was inside!
They even included a personal note from stylist!
I loved the color and pattern of this sweater. It is cashmere/angora.  The washing instructions are actually not complex. I kept it! 

I'm not big on the colors of this infinity scarf, although it is very soft.  I'm sending it back.
A poncho? I'm shocked that I like it!  Already my stylist has me branching out.  I love how snuggly it is.  The color will be great for the holidays.  My husband said it was "Star Warsy" and so I'm keeping it.
I wanted to try pleather leggings.  These pants couldn't go up past my knees. Putting them on was like putting on a scuba suit.  It was actually quite funny.  When I rejected the item on the StitchFix website, I just made sure to note that they do not fit.  That way the stylist will know for next time.

I like the style of skirt.  I am not big on the pattern/material.  It's just not my style.  I am sending it back.

They include style cards in the box to give you ideas on how to wear each item!

Rejecting the items I didn't want was easy.  They include a paid postage bag in the box to mail all your unwanted items back in.  You just have to make up your mind about what you want to keep within three business days.

Buying the items I did want was easy too!  You can set the price range you are hoping for, however keep in mind this service will help you get key items in your wardrobe and you cannot go into it with the bargain hunter mindset. You have to be willing to spend a bit of cash for something better quality than your average Target clearance item.  

I'm excited about trying it out again!  It's really fun!  
Give it a shot. See if you like it too!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Recognizing a Man of Integrity

I had the privilege of being asked to speak to a group of teenage Christian girls this past weekend about recognizing a man of integrity.  It was a great time of fellowship and discussion with moms and their daughters about dating and boys.  If you are currently searching for a Godly husband, perhaps these notes will help you too. Here are the notes from my talk.

I had my first crush when I was 14.  At that age I admired my cousin Paul and his relationship with his girlfriend who later became his wife.  He encouraged me to make a list of character qualities to look for and pray for in my future husband. Of all the dating advice I ever received, this was the most helpful.

The whole point of dating is to find a husband.   So it is not crazy to start setting standards that boys will have to meet to even be considered “date worthy”.

When you make a list, consider making a separate list of deal breakers and strong desires. The deal breaker list is the one that you should not budge on. Let the deal breaker list help you maintain high standards and not settle.

Some of the main things I chose to put on my deal breaker list were:

·      Strong Christian man
·      Doesn’t drink, smoke, or do drugs
·      Desires to remain pure til marriage with me
·      Doesn’t support abortion or homosexuality

Things I put on my strong desire list were:

·      Friendly and respectful
·      Must love dogs/animals
·      Must love movies/be nerdy like me
·      Must not like sports
·      Must like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, etc
·      Must wear converse shoes

Don’t let the strong desire list be something that makes you high maintenance.  If I had stuck to everything on my list of strong desires when I met Ben, we would have never gotten married and I would have missed out majorly on the great love that we have…because he did not wear converse shoes when I met him.  God cares about the details of your life, so definitely pray for a husband who is what you desire, but be prepared that your husband will likely not match up exactly on all of those items and that’s OK!  I have come to the conclusion that God may not give you a man who is exactly what you want in order to grow you or him in an area of your life that you need to learn to be flexible on or change.  Husbands and wives are meant to help each other grow and these differences can really help grow each of you into a more well rounded person.

Finding someone to marry, much less date, with such high standards in my deal breaker list was very hard to do.  In this day and age a truly wise man is extremely rare.  A lot of times it happened that a cute non-Christian boy liked me and a cute Christian boy, that I liked, did not.  Sometimes I would grow tired of waiting and angry and give in to the temptation to give the cute non-Christian boy a chance.   I learned that, it is possible to find a non-Christian guy who meets a lot of my standards and has great morals. 

The question you have to ask is, “Are the morals in this mans life a preference or a conviction?”  A man who prefers not to get drunk is rare and nice to find, but what if you marry that man and then one day he loses his job.  Can you trust that he will not decide in a weak moment that he would suddenly like to go out and get drunk to help ease his frustrations and pains?  A Christian man of conviction prefers not to get drunk, but he also has convictions to stick with that decision even when things get tough.  He knows that the Bible says, "Do not become drunk with wine." Ephesians 5:18 A man of strong conviction has the Holy Spirit guiding him to make Biblical decisions.

Don’t use strong morals to justify a relationship with a man who is not a believer.  The Bible says we are not to be unequally yoked.  “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 

The Bible also says, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. “  Ephesians 5:24-25.  How can we submit to a man who has not submitted to Christ? How can a non-Christian man love us like Christ loved the church?

I know this is a temptation that some of you will likely face.  But it is WORTH IT to keep your standards up.  You do not want to be tied to a man who is not tied to Jesus.  Some boys will be offended by your standards and try to make you feel like you are being ridiculous or snobby by having standards, but don’t listen to them. 

The Bible says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9.  Write this verse down, keep it in your purse or on your mirror.

So how will you recognize a man of integrity?  The Bible says “you will know them by their fruit.” Matthew 7:16

“The Fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

God also put in this passage a list of things you should not see in a man of integrity, it says, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and lustful pleasures, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, quarreling, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, divisions, conflict and envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” Galatians 5:19-21

Do you think that my husband has never committed any of these sins in his life? Do you think that you could ever possibly commit one of these sins?

Dating is not about finding a perfect man who has never struggled in any of these areas.  That would be great if you can find one.  But the truth is any one of us could be tempted and struggle in one of these areas. The amazing thing about Jesus is that we can make really bad mistakes and Jesus’ blood covers those sins.  
The Bible says in Romans 3:23-26 New Living Translation (NLT) 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past.”  Men and woman can repent and come back from that and be stronger Christian’s than ever! No one is perfect and everyone will struggle with some form of sin or another and be tempted in one direction or another. 
When you date, you want to look for a man who is defined by the fruit of the spirit.   Does that mean he has never struggled with lust or selfish ambition? No.   Ask these important questions, “Is he striving towards Jesus and pursuing righteousness actively in his life?”  And “Is there fruit in his life that I can see in his actions towards me and others?”  If the answer is yes, then it does not matter what is in his past and that just might be the man God has for you! 

So what’s the big deal about a man of integrity? What are some of the benefits?

I waited for a man of integrity and here are a few of the results of what I got:

·      He prays with me every night

·      He reads the Bible with me every night

·      If someone I care about is hurting, he cares and prays for them right along with me

·      He wants to be responsible and make wise decisions

·      He's a man of conviction; bad things bother and frustrate him.

·      He is tender hearted. He cares.

·      I never worry that he will leave me because I know he doesn't support divorce or adultery and he is yielded to the Holy Spirit to help him make wise choices and convict him.

·      He looks away or turns it off if something inappropriate comes on TV

·      He fights fair when we do fight and doesn't try to upset or hurt me

·      He is a gentleman. He opens doors for me and lifts all the heavy things

·      He considers my feelings when he makes decisions

·      He has a servant’s heart and loves helping people.

·      He is giving with his money and tithes freely.

·      I don't have to drag him to church with me or bug him to read the bible or pray with me. He wants to do those things all on his own.

The whole point of becoming a wife is for me to be Christ to Ben and him to be Christ to me and in doing so, we both glorify God and help each other learn more about the heart of God. I hope that each of you will make a list and begin praying for God to help you have discernment so that you can make wise decisions when you date.  Once you make a list, you will see your dating choices are limited, but keep in mind that you only need to find ONE man of integrity!  God will lead him to you and you to him when the time is right.  In the meantime, focus on being a woman of integrity. 

If you are already married and perhaps you did not wait for a man of integrity, start now seeking God and pray that He will grant that desire of your heart.  The Bible says, "Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Monday, March 2, 2015

Doing Life Together

Back in September I pulled up to my parking space for work at 7:55AM while talking to my mom on the phone.  I saw my new coworker drive up in her car for her first day.  At that moment, I noticed that her car had a fish on it and I said to my mom, "Oh hey! The new girl has a fish on her car! Maybe she will be a nice new Christian friend for me!"  

And so began my friendship with Adrian Kuna! Since then I've seen her cry over sad things, listened to her life stories, and watched her laugh til she cried.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out why God puts people in our life, but other times you can totally see and understand why.  It's clear that we were meant to be in each others lives.

Adrian is what I call my “desk mate” at work.  I have had two other desk mates here and they are wonderful as well.  Michelle and Kristi were great!  Back in my college and my single days, I had several roommates who are still near and dear to my heart.  Now that I’m a real live adult and I work in an office, I have desk mates.  It’s basically like a roommate, because I do life with these people.  It’s hard not to do life with someone that sits 3 feet from you for 40 hours a week.  It happens naturally and I love it. 

Three weeks ago Adrian’s boyfriend, Logan asked Ben and I to be apart of his proposal to Adrian.  This was truly one of the greatest events I’ve ever had the privilege to be apart of.  We had recently decided to start a weekly Taco Tuesday get together to do a study called iMarriage.  Logan decided to propose during the first night which was a week from when he told us his secret.  I had to sit 3 feet from Adrian and not spill the beans for a whole week!! I was seriously freaking out.  It was so fun to watch her show me engagement rings that she liked all week and act intrigued by them all.  I was so sneaky! J

The night of the engagement went perfectly!! We are so glad something so special got to take place in our new house! Adrian and Logan have even asked Ben and I to be in their wedding. 

This is such a great example of how you really never know who could be your next friend!  Just six months ago I had just met Adrian and now I’m apart of her wedding. 

I would like to encourage everyone to adopt what I call the “canine philosophy of friendship”  A typical dogs meet a new person and it’s like instant friendship. Dogs are all like “Hi! Hi! Hi! Nice to meet you!! Wanna be my friend!? I want to be your friend!! Wanna go play?!” I believe this is what they are trying to convey with all the tail wagging and jumping up and down excitedly.  I tend to be that way, but for some it would have to be a concentrated effort.  My passion is customer service and I think having a welcoming personality is all part of that. 

When I was little my family would laugh at me when I would meet a new kid and just a few minutes after meeting, proudly declare that they were my new friend!! I just love doing life with people and I am so glad for all the people in my life who have accepted my friendship and let me into their lives!  It is truly a pleasure doing life with all of you.