eShakti Dress Review

eShakti has a wide variety of customizible fashion.

Most, if not all {I didn't click into EVERY item they offer} comes with options to change parts of the style from neckline, sleeve type, and length- HELLO Modest ladies! You can even input all your measurements to get the perfect fit.

So when I was offered to review an item in exchange for an honest review, I couldn't turn it down. Not only for my closet, but for YOU. We HAD to know if this was a For Real thing!

After scouring the options I was given, I ask for my hubs help in narrowing down my favs. Here's what he picked:

I hope he remembered I wasn't oober classy when he saw this... Even when I try, I'm just super silly.

I chose a high neckline; I typically wear tshirts because it's difficult for me to find shirts that I'm comfortable in due to coverage. I went with the sleeveless option so I could wear it year-round but they are a bit big. I'm not used to thinking through the length of dresses on myself because I don't really like how dresses fit my "square" body type so I went with right above the knee...maybe I'll look taller. LOL I even got to add POCKETS! Who doesn't want pockets on everything!?

After putting in my order, it took a bit to get the dress in the mail but it was totally worth the wait for a customized item. The packaging was great and the fit was just as ordered. The material is high quality.

Things I've learned over the different seasons of wearing this dress since April:

  1. I don't know what I look good in; I usually just buy what's on sale, so it was hard to choose the right option(s). While the high neck is nice, it's almost too tight. I'm also not a pro at measuring myself so I think I may have erred a little too small across the bust/back.
  2. I think I should have forced myself to choose rather than letting my hubs, I might have ended up with one I loved more. While I like the denim, jeans go with everything right?! I feel like this dress gives off a baby doll vibe.
  3. The flare effect makes me feel like I'm wearing a maternity dress but works well to hide my "leftovers" and still looks fun by itself or with a cardigan, jacket, or scarf. Dressing it up or down is very easy.
  4. This dress is very versatile. Winter: tights, jacket, scarf, and tall boots, Spring: hat and rain boots, Summer: plain with flip flops or tennis shoes, and Fall: cardigan, knit leggings, and ankle boots.

overalll, I was pleased with my customized dress dress. I would totally recommend this s site to  a friend, especially those who have a hard time finding clothing to fit their uniquely created body type.

It is a bit pricey for my cheap self but it doesn't be seem overpriced compared to most clothing stores.

I also think this could be a fun option for things like bridesmaid dresses. Coordinating but customized, giving each friend a chance to look and feel awesome. Plus, you could choose something that they could wear again we the event.

eShakti also just emailed me to share that you can mix and match FABRICS now! Like the lrint but  the style? Like the make but not so much the type of fabric. More customization options- winning!

What would you choose if given permission to customize!? CAN you think of other benefits?

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How to Organize An Operation Christmas Child Packing Party

This is the fifth year we’ve hosted an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party at The Valley church so we’ve learned a few things each year. I've also done some research via Pinterest and Facebook OCC groups to try to improve our parties each year. From the first year of packing with my kids in my living room to becoming more and more organized, we have grown our passion for this ministry.

I would love to share with you some of thing logistics we've learned.


We choose to only “officially” collect items the month [5 weeks] before our packing party. Some like to collect all year-long and we are looking into creating a housing space at our building for this but we have several other out reaches we focus on throughout the year.

The week before collection starts, we announce what Operation Christmas Child is, what we will be collecting each week, and when our packing party will be held. We do four main focuses: Hygiene, School Supplies, Accessories, and Toys. The fifth week is a catch-all and that evening is our party.

We also have an OCC info table set up that hopefully answers any questions someone might have as well as provides resources to help get people excited. Of Course, people can bring any items during these weeks, we just try to help narrow the focus. Next to this table we have a collection space designated- the past two years it has been this big blue shipping trunk. Each week we empty it, sorting items into bens.

On the last Sunday of collection, we take inventory and try to spot areas we might be short, comparatively and announce those needs via social media so people can bring them on our catch-all week/Sunday morning of the party.



Several of us {sometimes me and my children} go through all the bins and take everything we can, out of it’s packaging. If we need to, we open packs of crayons, markers, and colored pencils and divide them up into bags. This not only helps items go further but it also makes sure crayons aren’t melting onto other items in the boxes.

While doing this, we sort even further into gender and age groupings [2-4, 5-9, 10-14] if possible. Bagging things ahead of time helps your party flow better and sets you up for quality assurance.

We have always gone with an assembly line format- folding tables in a long line, filled with sorted items. This year, we added very visible signage using small orange cones wrapped in green garland with wording printed on cardstock and taped to paint stir sticks sticking out of them. These were placed at the beginning of each category to help make sure those packing packed items from each section.

I spoke with several others to make sure I was thinking through everything and we decided on a flow and through items we would need to help that layout work.


We chose to set up in our main room so we thought through making the experience flow in a giant circle. We had stations that everyone worked through to make sure we covered everything.


You can’t have a party without food, right!? We set up a small pot-luck along one wall with eating tables right next to them. This is a separate space from packing, even if in the same room, because we don’t want to send crumbs with our boxes of awesomeness.


We LOVE sending pictures with our boxes so we hired a friend to run a photo booth for us. This is at the beginning of the layout because we ask that everyone take a picture Before they start packing to give the printers time to print them while they load items.


Our long line of tables full of goodies was broken into the same categories as the collections weeks but with a couple added sections with the essentials at the start: boxes, labels [tape and markers for selection and attaching], hygiene, school supplies, accessories, WOW items, and filler toys.


We set up separate tables on the opposite wall from the food full of writing utensils, specialized postcards, blank printed info pages, blank Christmas cards, and stickers.


We designated the wall near these tables for drop-off and had signs hung to help sort boxes by age and gender so we could see which needed more as we went.

Start again



You can’t have a party without food, right!? We set up a small pot-luck along one wall with eating tables right next to them. We had a group from our local drop-off location come to share with us about the process after we pack boxes. Everyone finished up eating while they shared.


We LOVE sending pictures with our boxes so we hired a friend to run a photo booth for us. This is at the beginning of the layout because we ask that everyone take a picture Before they start packing to give the printers time to print them while they load items.


Our long line of tables full of goodies was broken into the same categories as the collections weeks but with a couple added sections with the essentials at the start: boxes, labels [tape and markers for selection and attaching], hygiene, school supplies, accessories, WOW items, and filler toys.


We set up separate tables on the opposite wall from the food full of writing utensils, specialized postcards, blank printed info pages, blank Christmas cards, and stickers.

Follow Up

We have invited any family that would like to join us, to deliver the boxes to our local drop off location and we've also complete 2 different tracking labels so we can learn where our boxes went, pray for them. Most boxes have addresses in them in hopes of building relationships with ministries dispensing and or individuals receiving boxes.

I hope this was helpful. I'd love to hear about your passion of OCC, how you pack, and maybe even how you follow-up to enjoy this passion all year-long.

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It's been probably about two years. TWO. YEARS. since I've written here consistently.

Some days I miss the idea of writing. Some days I forget I have a corner of the internet to jot my thoughts down in. Other days I long for a moment to try to work through bumpy things in my life that are often sorted out while sharing my thoughts here.

While tutorials, how-tos, and helpful posts are fun, simpler, and helpful to my friends, I'd really like to get back to sharing my heart, things God is teaching me, and the like. I *think* the reason this two-year withdraw happen was because of the season of life my family jumped into. Fostering.

Fostering is a beautiful way to rip apart everything you thought you knew about parenting, loving others, and working as part of a team. Fostering, in reference to this blog, is also learning to live among someone else's story. Learning what parts of life as you knew it are yours, giving you the freedom to share and what parts are a private part of someone else's life that you happen to walk into, therefore not having the rights to share that story.

Our family has surprisingly grown over the past two years but not through the addition of littles who need a forever home like we thought it would. We've grown in our understanding of how broken we are in the light of eternity and the level footing at the cross next to those we are trying to serve through loving their babies.
We've grown in grace for those families, their situations, their struggles to change, as well as grace for ourselves as we constantly fail in our attempts revealing our nasty, sinful hearts that guide our motives.
We've grown in our flexibility at the same time in our setting of boundaries as we learn where God wants us to step out in comfortableness and what's best to say no to for our family and our current season.

as Jules is going was named such based on the scripture in Matthew 28 where Jesus to tells us to GO. Go and make disciples. That GO means, as you are going, not just a set a part-time or place. As part of your ordinary going. In the past two years we've eased into new seasons at times and have been plunged into new seasons at other times. I'm going to attempt to set more structure this year, allowing me a little time for this much-needed debriefing myself with the changing seasons. Thus, I plan to share some things as I am going in the realms of fostering, voluntary pastoring, owning our own business, home renovation, homeschooling, and being me in the midst of all of it.

Thanks for stopping here to read my ramblings. I will be updating this site slowly so excuse some of it being out of date but you can head over to the purpose section to get to know me better and I look forward to getting to know YoU better through the aJig facebook page, commenting here, or email {I'm the worst at checking this}.

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Plarn Balls {for Operation Christmas Child Boxes}

For years, I've loved the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Box ministry! We've packed boxes with our small children as a family and now pack dozens of boxes with our church family as part of our way of spreading the gospel across the world.

My mother in law recently let me in on a little project she's been working on for our boxes- Plarn Balls! "Plarn" is short for "plastic yarn". Plarn is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips, which are then strung together into a single long strand, like yarn. She used to make water proof mats with a group of ladies as a ministry to the homeless. Since that time, she has discovered endless uses for this recycled material. You can use plarn to crochet sturdy, reusable tote baggs, purses, pool/beach bags, doormats, and more.

Today I want to share her awesome idea, how to make plarn, as well as the pattern for the plarn balls that will fit perfect into OCC boxes!

How to make plarn

  • Lay bag flat and fold it in half lengthwise.
  • fold bag in half again.
  • cut folded bag into loops, discarding handles and bottom.
  • Knot lops together to form a single strand.
  • Roll the strand into a ball and crochet or knit as you would with yard.

Plarn Ball Pattern

  • st/sts- stich/stiches
  • sc- single crochet
  • sc 2 tog- single crochet 2 together

Round 1: Make a foundation row with 6 st using the magic ring method. Optional, but highly recommended, place a st marker at the beginning of the round, moving it to the first stitch of each new round as you go.

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12sts)

Round 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in next st around (18sts)

Round 4: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (24sts)

Round 5: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (30sts)

Round 6-10: sc around (30sts)

Round 11: sc 2 tog, sc in next 3 sts around (24sts)

Start filling iwth plastic straps or plastic bags.

Round 12: sc 2 tog, sc in next 2 sts around (18sts)

Round 13: sc 2 tog, sc in next st around (12sts)

Round 14: sc 2 tog, until the opening end is closed enough to tie off.

Weave in the ends hiding inside the ball.

Cut plarn 1" wide when marking plarn.

[note: I no NOTHING about crocheting so I won't be able to answer an questions in that regard- so so sorry! I just copied this pattern exactly as my MIL wrote it having not idea what any of it meant. Also, remember food items are prohibited so no filling the balls with beans...I don't know who would have had that bright idea :/ lol] 

I'm so excited that more and more people are falling in love with this simple but life-changing ministry!!! Click learn more about Operation Christmas Child!

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When an Open Door ISN’T from God

We've all heard about how we shouldn't freak out when God closes one door, right? "He'll always open another. Or a window. Just praise Him in the hallway." they'll say. But no one tells you how to determine if that tempting open door is from God...

Most would assume if there's nothing inherently wrong with said open door, then it must be opened by God. But I'm here to say I've seen Wide Open Doors that were very tempting, with their promises of better pay, nicer neighborhoods, closer to family, less stress, ease of transition, and on and on. I've yet to find scriptural evidence that American Dream promises are part of God's will for our lives. Many will listen to your predicaments and try to offer wise counsel but most will still just look for the easy path thinking that must be God's will because things are falling into place.

Don't get me wrong, if we look for it, God's hand will be on and in what He has called us to do. When we seek where He is already at work, we'll easily find a rough path He's already blazed. BUT that path may look like a jungle to those on the outside and not everyone's path will be cut the same.

After chasing Jesus to a new town to plant a church, having our space wiped out by a tornado, and then being portable for three years, to say finding God's will is a little complicated would be an understatement. Although our church plant is now four years old, we are still in infancy stage yet few of the resources of a genuinely new church plant are still available to us. With that being said, my hubs and I still feel God is not done in this city. In the midst of what God is doing in this city, we see our part of it still playing out. We decided to give up our salary in order to afford our new space and to do ministry through the valley.

In our efforts to still give most of our time to ministry, we have been seeking job opportunities that will allow us that flexibility and still bring in enough income to provide for our family. Enter two weeks ago, where I received a message about the opportunity to sell a product I'd been ingredient by for quite a while. I read the message, thought for a while, and talked with my hubs about it. I stared through the open door and saw all the pieces falling into place. I spoke with my friend on the phone and her enthusiasm was contagious. I saw the potential for this business to not only provide for my family but to accomplish the dreams I had for us in the future.

I signed up and started full force. I'm talking, worked my way through the daily start up suggestions, checking off boxes, listening to training's...lots of training's, and feeling good. After the boxes were nearing an end, only a few remained: Share your story. Sell to your friends. Build your team.

The one thing I lacked was -passion- for what was being sold. Don't hear me wrong, the business I signed up with is selling quality products that work, they have a great business model, and it pays well! I respect each women I know who works for them; which is one of the main reasons I chose to work with this business. I just couldn't get past my gut. As I began messaging friend and family, creating posts to publish, and talking about it with my missional community---it all flopped. It flopped not for lack of effort but because of my lack of passion. None of it set right. I started going through how I got started and where I went wrong in order to make me feel this way.

Confession: I didn't pray about it.

What the smack! The door was wide open. I stared straight into it. All the pieces fell into place. It was smooth. It was a wise financial move. It all made sense. And while tempting. It wasn't God's will. It answered so many of my prayers in a nice neat little package. I could even validate it with the potential to attain my honorable dreams for my family. But it still was not God's open door. for me. at this time.

I swallowed my nasty tasting mouthful of pride and quit. Yep. Lets just call it like it is and I Q.U.I.T. Oh, how I love being a flake, not following through with things, disappointing people, and quitting one more stankin' thing. {end sarcasm}

Today, this is me, waving at you from inside a different, slightly cracked, open door my hubs and I chose to walk through together. Sometimes walking in the light isn't as clear as we'd like. Sometimes God's will and provision isn't all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes His open door leads into the middle of town, in a box on wheels, where God can show intentional love in a bizarre way while ideally providing a little income for your family.

Say hello to...The Frozen Eagle shaved ice truck. What What! This new adventure is already proving to be a fun family endeavor that seems to have been opened by God!

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